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Banking & Finance

Ga. Community Bankers Must Replace McMath

SBJ Staff

12/07/2009 - The ouster of Heys McMath as CEO of First National Bank of Savannah has created an opening in the 2010-2011 presidency of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia.

McMath was to take over the presidency in October 2010. The association’s board of directors will have to select a replacement, a spokeswoman said.

The association represents more than 300 of Georgia’s community banks.

The six-year-old First National Bank removed McMath, its founder, in mid-November and replaced him with consultant and former regulator Layne F. Huttenberger.

Huttenberger is seen as a specialist in reworking troubled commercial loans and regulatory compliance. His hiring is designed to help the community bank dig out of a hole it found itself in after a sinking commercial real estate market diminished the value of its development loans.

The move follows a late September cease and desist order issued First National by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates all national banks.  The order called for the bank to meet aggressive goals for raising capital and evaluating its loan policies and processes in the next 60 to 90 days.

The bank has made “tremendous progress” in meeting the capital mandate, said lawyer Brooks Stillwell, a Hunter Maclean partner and member of First National’s board.

So far this year, the bank has put $6.7 million of its loan allowance into covering the diminished value of loans for real estate activity and projects, Connie Farmer Ray, board chair, said in a Nov. 16 letter to shareholders.
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