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Regulators Shut Down Georgia and Arizona Banks

Three community-based lenders were shut down by their regulators over the weekend â€" two in Georgia and one in Arizona. The number of institutions on the ""FDIC's failed bank list"":http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html has hit 146 for the 2010 calendar year.
[IMAGE] The annual tally has already surpassed the 140 failures seen through the full 12 months of 2009. FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has said she expects the number of bank collapses to peak in 2010. She's also said that while the number of failures this year has exceeded last year's, the total value of the assets held by collapsed institutions will likely be lower in 2010.

""Ameris Bank"":http://www.amerisbank.com in Moultrie, Georgia, has agreed to acquire the banking operations, including all the deposits, of the two failed Georgia-based institutions â€" ""Tifton Banking Company"":http://www.tiftonbankingcompany.com/ in Tifton and ""Darby Bank & Trust Co."":https://www.darbybank.com/ in Vidalia.

Tifton Banking Company had operated one local branch, with $141.6 million in deposits. Darby Bank & Trust has

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seven branch locations throughout Georgia and $587.6 million in total deposits.

Both of the Georgia banks' portfolios were riddled with soured real estate loans. At the time of their closings, about a third of each institution's loan assets were delinquent or in foreclosure.

Together, the two lenders had nearly $800 million in assets. Ameris Bank agreed to ""purchase virtually all their assets,"" according to a statement from the FDIC. The agency, acting as receiver of the two institutions, entered into a loss-share transaction with Ameris on $560.2 million of the acquired assets.

The failure of Tifton Banking Company is expected to cost the FDIC $24.6 million. Darby Bank & Trust's closing will cost an estimated $136.2 million. A total of 18 Georgia banks have gone under so far this year.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, ""Copper Star Bank"":http://www.copperstarbank.com/ was also closed by regulators. It operated three branches, with deposits of $190.2 million and $204 million in assets.

The FDIC brokered a deal with ""Stearns Bank, N.A."":http://www.stearnsbank.com in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to acquire Copper Star Bank and buy all of its assets. The FDIC and Stearns Bank agreed to share losses on $165.2 million of the assets picked up from Copper Star Bank.

This marks the sixth collapsed institution that has been acquired by Stearns Bank since 2008. The FDIC says the Arizona bank's failure is expected to cost its deposit insurance fund $43.6 million.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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