In the wake of the sudden takeover of downtown Winder’s 84-year-old home town bank, many questions have been raised about its new owner, Community & Southern Bank.

The Carrollton-based financial institution, in a deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., bought The Peoples Bank on Sept. 17 when it was closed by state regulators.

The people now running Community & Southern Bank are experienced bankers, but the bank itself didn’t exist until nine months ago. Its representatives applied to the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance for a new bank charter in October 2009.

Three months later on Jan. 6, the bank’s parent compa­ny, Community & Southern Holdings Inc., was incorporated in Delaware On Jan. 20, Robert Braswell, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance, approved the articles of incorporation for the brand new Georgia bank, and on Jan. 28, he approved the holding company’s application to acquire Community & Southern Bank.

The following day, the new bank was incorporated in Georgia, and that evening, it purchased from the FDIC the First National Bank of Georgia, a 64-year-old community bank in Carrollton, the first of 14 banks to fail this year in the state.

Because that initial transfer of ownership, like the one in Winder, happened in a single day, it is apparent that Community & Southern officials worked out the deal with state and federal regulators long before the company was incorporated to do business in Georgia.

Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the FDIC, said Community & Southern officials were able to bid on the Carrollton bank prior to obtaining their bank charter because they brought to the table experienced management, plenty of core capital, and a business plan that was approved by the FDIC.

For more on this story, see the September 29 edition of the Barrow Journal or click here to read the full story online when you subscribe to our new e-edition.

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