FDIC sends First Piedmont accounts to Athens bank

WINDER - First Piedmont Bank closed Friday, the 10th Georgia bank to do so this year as a result of the ongoing recession brought on by the downturn in the real estate market.

First Piedmont's closing marks the 54th Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.-insured institution to fail in the nation this year. First Piedmont opened in 1998.

The bank's shuttering was announced by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which also appointed the FDIC as receiver.

To protect customer-depositors of First Piedmont, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with First American Bank and Trust Company of Athens so that it would assume all of the deposits of First Piedmont Bank, which had its two branches reopened Monday as branches of First American Bank and Trust.

All ATM and online services of First Piedmont still remain available.

Customers of First Piedmont may also continue to use the services they previously used from the now-closed bank. Those include safe deposit boxes, night deposit boxes and wire services, and all outstanding checks will be paid against available balances as if no change in the bank occurred.

The FDIC also said in a news release that First American Bank and Trust would be contacting all of First Piedmont's customers soon regarding any changes in the terms of their account or interest that those accounts generated. It also said that automatic deposits and withdrawals would be transferred from First Piedmont to First American Bank and Trust automatically and that loan customers of First Piedmont should continue to make loan payments as usual because the terms of the loan contract would not change.

As of July 6, First Piedmont had total assets of $115 million and total deposits of about $109 million. First American agreed to purchase $111 million of those assets with the rest remaining in the hands of the FDIC, which will dispose of the $4 million in leftovers at some point in the future.

The FDIC estimates that the cost to the Deposit Insurance Fund as a result of First Piedmont's closing will be $29 million.

Created in 1933, the FDIC's goal was to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system and to insure the deposits at the nation's 8,246 banks and savings associations.

Customers who have questions about the First Piedmont closing can contact the FDIC directly at its toll-free number - 877-367-2717. Information about First American Bank and Trust Company is available online at www.fabathens.com.