Georgia bank profits climb in 2017


Georgia’s banks earned a collective $3.4 billion in 2017, but growth in new loans and deposits slowed compared to the prior year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday released its full year report on bank earnings for the nation and the state. It showed net loans and leases grew by a tepid 1 percent to $221.1 billion for Georgia banks in 2017, while total deposits held by Georgia-based institutions grew by about 2.6 percent to $258.4 billion.

It’s growth but it’s not at the pace seen last year when banks reported annual loan growth of about 6 percent and deposit growth of 5 percent, respectively, over 2015.

“In broad terms, Georgia’s economy, families and business had a good 2017 financially, and that’s reflected in the performance of our state’s banking industry,” Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association, said in a statement. “Georgia’s banks were active in lending, they remained trusted protectors of deposits and borrowers were able to meet their obligations.”

Georgia’s largest bank, SunTrust, reported profits of $2.27 billion in 2017, or about two-thirds of the overall profits for the state’s banks.

For the fourth quarter, the state’s banks reported $942 million in profit, up 24 percent from the same period in 2016.

About 92 percent of all Georgia banks were profitable for the year, according to FDIC data.

Banks are key cogs in the economy and vital barometers of broader economic health. The state has seen a rebound in jobs since the Great Recession, and real estate market also is stronger.

It wasn’t long ago that the state’s financial industry was in turmoil.

Georgia led the nation in community bank failures coming out of the Great Recession, and the downturn deeply wounded many of the survivors.

The trouble in Georgia was primarily real estate-related, but the financial crisis forced healthy and troubled banks alike to tighten standards and curb all sorts of lending to weather the economic storm.

But a warming economy, job growth and new consumer demand help propel the rebound.

On a national level, U.S. banks earned $25.5 billion in the fourth quarter, down about 41 percent from the same period in 2016, largely because of one-time charges related to the new federal tax overhaul.

For the year, the nation’s banks earned $165.8 billion, or about 3.5 percent less than 2016.

The FDIC’s “Problem Bank List” declined to 95 during the fourth quarter, the lowest total since early 2008.

Related coverage

Trump takes aim at post-crisis banking law

Banks are on the hunt for deals

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

AJC Business reporter J. Scott Trubey keeps you updated on the latest news about economic development and commercial real estate in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in local business news. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Talk rising of possible recession, trade key danger for Atlanta
Talk rising of possible recession, trade key danger for Atlanta

Tom Smith watches each Sunday morning for signs of recession at Panera Bread. It’s telling: The size of the crowd, the attitude of the families – are they enjoying the chance to relax and spend a little money on themselves, the way people do when they have a few dollars extra, or are they anxious about keeping their jobs and paying their...
Kempner: Disappearing public companies? Federal regulator concerned
Kempner: Disappearing public companies? Federal regulator concerned

Where did half our nation’s public companies go? If you’ve got a hankering to invest your life savings, it might look as if you have plenty of options, some good and some unnerving. There are stocks, bonds, real estate, gold, and even some cryptocurrency markets that concern regulators. But the number of publicly traded companies has dropped...
Nine months after breach, Equifax names IBM-er new tech chief
Nine months after breach, Equifax names IBM-er new tech chief

Equifax on Thursday named an IBM executive as chief technology officer. Bryson Koehler, previously top technology executive at IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, will be responsible “for leading Equifax's global information technology strategy and development,” the company said in a statement.  Bryson replaces Mark Rohrwasser, interim...
Georgia reverses trend, posts modest job growth in May
Georgia reverses trend, posts modest job growth in May

Georgia added 6,800 jobs last month, but the modest growth followed two weak months for hiring. The state economy has been decelerating, adding fewer jobs so far this year than during the five-month start to any year since 2010, according to a report from the Georgia Labor Department Thursday. As anemic as it might be, growth has continued...
Atlanta-based Promise Homes nearly doubles in size; mission the same
Atlanta-based Promise Homes nearly doubles in size; mission the same

If all goes according to its business plan, Promise Homes Company will boost financial literacy, show people how to cut their taxes and add to affordable housing stock. And also make a profit. “It is possible to do everything we do and provide a good return, without being a jerk,” said John Hope Bryant, chief executive officer...
More Stories