The Collapse of a Community Bank

georgia banks
David Walter Banks / Luceo for TIME

Shuttered Bank
In January, 2010, federal regulators from the FDIC seized control of the Community Bank & Trust (CBT) in Cornelia, Ga. The FDIC team uncovered a financial institution in total disarray. Businesses that had enjoyed easy credit from the bank in boom times had stopped making payments after the economic collapse of late 2008. Rumors swirled that the former chief lending officer had been getting kickbacks on million-dollar development loans. And in an effort to stay ahead of bank examiners, the bank was foreclosing on properties without proper documentation. As the FDIC tried to reassure employees that the government was there to save the bank, not kill it, even the clearest-eyed among them could not foresee the effects that incompetence and greed were about to unleash on the town. The above photo shows one of the branches that has been shut since the FDIC seizure (others remained open.)

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