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GSU study says banks compare favorably
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The growth and profitability of community banks in southeast Georgia compare favorably to statewide and national community bank averages, according to the 2006 Annual Performance Review of Georgia Southeastern Region Community Banks. This result is one of the 12 key highlights listed in the executive summary of a new study developed by the Center for Excellence in Financial Services at Georgia Southern University.

The review includes data from 33 banks in 14 counties, most located in the region defined as Division One of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia. While the banks vary in assets, income, and number of branches, they are all located in southeast Georgia and generally share a common business model.

"Banks use uniform accounting and reporting practices, and are required to file quarterly financial performance reports with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation," said Edward Sibbald, BB&T Executive in Residence in Banking in the College of Business Administration, who developed the report. "This commonality and public access to the reports made it possible to gather the necessary data and create the statistical tables comparing the southeast Georgia community bank group with community banks in Georgia and nationwide."

"The information provided in this report is publicly available, but few banks have the resources to create an in-depth study like this," said Sibbald, who has 34 years of leadership experience in financial services in New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. Sibbald credited financial analyst Molly Butler, who will graduate from Georgia Southern in December, with extensive work in gathering the data.

"This report presents information in the way bankers want to see it," said Sibbald. "Management and members of each bank’s board of directors can understand it, and it covers all the meaningful ratios that bankers use." Sibbald added, "This document is a value-added service that Center for Excellence in Financial Services can provide to support the decision-making of regional bankers."

Bankers have responded favorably to the new report.

"The report is a hard-hitting, straightforward analysis of banks in our geographic area, writes Richard S. Williams, CEO of Pineland State Bank in Metter. "It provides trend analysis and historical data that will be quite helpful to all community bankers in Southeast Georgia. It’s great to see that COBA (College of Business Administration) continues its tradition of education beyond the classroom."

"Having a compilation of your geographic peer groups is extremely helpful," writes D. Wayne Akins, President and CEO of Sea Island Bank. "The assembly of data from the local region provides a complete snapshot on the health of our communities. The data found in the appendices is an easy reference that would have taken a number of man-hours for us to develop."

A 2007 mid-year review is planned for late September, Sibbald explained, and next year the performance review will be presented quarterly. The 2007 annual review will be available and distributed by May 1, 2008.

"Presenting these annual and quarterly performance reviews will support our university-wide objective to provide quality, value-added services to businesses in our area," said Sibbald. "We believe this study is the most comprehensive review of community banking performance in southeastern Georgia in recent years. Similarly, we are not aware of any recent comparable studies completed by any other unit of the University of Georgia system which has been publicly distributed to community banks within their respective regional areas."

-About the 2006 Annual Performance Review of Southeast Georgia Community Banks

-Document is outgrowth of the first community banking symposium, held by the Center for Excellence in Financial Services in March 2007. Includes more than 200 pages of tables, narrative, charts.

First part includes a performance narrative that looks at challenges and forecasts predictions for 2007. Researchers point out what is working and how.

The second part compares southeast Georgia bank performance to a composite of 3,920 community banks nationwide and a composite of 204 Georgia banks. Includes 70 statistical tables ranking banks on performance scorecards.

Appendices A and B provide bank directors, executive officers, and bank managers with statistical rankings that provide data on 2006 annual performance.

Seventy-five copies sent to officers in 33 regional banks Aug. 20, 2007


About Ed Sibbald:

Edward Sibbald has more than 34 years experience in commercial and community banking, corporate finance, and performance improvement consulting in the financial services industry. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior management and has served on several boards of community banks and financial services companies. Previously, he was president of a $400 million captive finance company in Atlanta and CFO and senior executive of retail banking for a $2.4 billion community bank holding company located in suburban Chicago, Ill. Sibbald’s areas of expertise include retail banking management, finance, lending, credit/financial analysis, marketing, strategic planning, and performance improvement for community banks.

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