Posted: Wednesday, July 24th 2013 at 11:16am
State Rep.: Habersham was 'Ground Zero' for bank failure
By Rob Moore Editor
Rep. Terry Rogers, left, and Rep. Dan Gasaway talk with Habersham County Board of Education member Pat Taylor following a work session Monday. (Photo/Rob Moore)
CLARKESVILLE - The collapse of two local banks in the past three and one-half years continues to impact Habersham County's economy and tax digest.
During a work session with the Habersham County Board of Education on Monday, Rep. Dan Gasaway related bank failures in the state to the state's budget struggles, and to those faced by government in Habersham County.
"As we know we've had a tremendous bank collapse in this state - and this county is Ground Zero," Gasaway. "There was a bank that was running a scheme that drove property values up in this county, and we'd kind of gotten used to that. Now the new bank that's taken that bank over is running in a reverse scheme that's driving property values down."
On Friday, Jan. 29, 2010, Cornelia-based Community Bank & Trust was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) as receiver.
The FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with SCBT, N.A., of Orangeburg, S.C., to assume all of the deposits of Community Bank & Trust.
Similarly, on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011, Clarkesville-based Habersham Bank was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the FDIC was named receiver. The failed bank also was acquired by SCBT, N.A.
"I am working on legislation and pushing it and fighting tough competing interests to try to put some fairness back into these things that are killing our tax digests, and I've argued in public hearings that I think Habersham County might be, per capita, Ground Zero in our country for the impact that these bank failures have," Gasaway said. "It's been basically over $125 million in people's money that lived in this county that was obliterated by those two big bank failures."
Discussing the effect of the bank failures on Habersham County specifically, Gasaway said, "That's an impact that you just can't fathom - $125 million in hard money gone from individuals mostly living in this community. So what do we do? We can't fix that, it's over. But there are things that we can do as a legislature to try to curb the attack on our tax digests and that's something I'm personally working on."
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