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Georgia's Strongest and Weakest Banks

Stocks in this article: SNV STI BBT IVZ UCBI ABCB PABK

The largest bank on the list that is held by a publicly traded holding company is Park Avenue Bank of Valdosta, which is the main subsidiary of PAB Bankshares (PABK). In August, the holding company gave up on attempt to raise about $80 million in new capital through a public offering of common shares. The bank had $1 billion in assets as of September 30 and a nonperforming assets ratio of 20.84%, with a very weak total risk-based capital ratio of 5.92%.

Georgia's Largest Banks

Here are the 10 largest banks in the state, along with key metrics as of Sept. 30:


The largest bank in the state is, of course, SunTrust Bank of Atlanta, which is the main subsidiary of SunTrust Banks (STI). The bank swung to a profit during the third quarter, earning $114.4 million, with nonperforming assets and loan charge-offs declining for the second-straight quarter.

The holding company still owes the government $4.85 billion in bailout funds received in November 2008 through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, and will need to provide the Federal Reserve a capital plan, including another round of stress tests, by January 7. Please see TheStreet's 10 Banks with Real Earnings Improvement for a detailed discussion of SunTrust's third-quarter results.

The second-largest Georgia bank is Synovus Bank of Columbus, which is held by Synovus Financial (SNV). The bank's problem loans continued to increase during the third quarter and its nonperforming assets ratio was 4.92%. The holding company owes $967.9 million in TARP money and was also included among the 10 Banks with Real Earnings Improvement for the third quarter, as its repossessed real estate expenses declined significantly from a year earlier.

United Community Bank of Blairsville had $7 billion in assets as of September 30 and posted a third-quarter net loss of $235.5 million, however, most of the loss was from a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $210.6 million. The bank's nonperforming assets ratio was 5.01% as of September 30, and operating losses continued, since the quarterly provision for loan loss reserves totaled $50.5 million. The bank is held by United Community Banks (UCBI), which owes $180 million in TARP money.

The best-performing subsidiary of a publicly-traded holding company among the largest 10 Georgia banks during the third quarter of 2010 was BB&T Financial FSB, which is a relatively small subsidiary of BB&T Corp. (UCBI), with $2.5 billion in total assets as of September 30, but earned $31.2 million during the third quarter, for an annualized return on average assets of 5.11%, with a nonperforming assets ratio of only 0.70%. The thrift subsidiary focuses on credit card lending and also has a subsidiary specializing in issuing retail gift certificates and a wholesale mortgage unit.

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