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FDIC closes small bank in Georgia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have closed a small bank in Georgia, bringing the number of U.S. banks that have failed so far this year to 32.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it seized Montgomery Bank & Trust, based in Ailey. The bank, which had two branches, had about $173.6 million in assets and $164.4 million in deposits as of March 31.

Montgomery Bank & Trust is the sixth FDIC-insured institution in Georgia to fail this year. Ameris Bank of Moultrie, Ga., agreed to take over the failed bank's deposits and purchase $12.4 million of its assets.

The FDIC said it will retain Montgomery's remaining assets for later sale. Regulators estimate that the bank's failure will cost the insurance fund $75.2 million.

The pace of bank closures has slowed sharply since peaking in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis. In 2007 just three banks went under. That number jumped to 25 in 2008, after the meltdown, and ballooned to 140 in 2009. In 2010, regulators seized 157 banks, the most in any year since the savings and loan crisis two decades ago. The FDIC has said 2010 likely was the high-water mark for bank failures from the Great Recession. By this time last year, 86 banks had failed.

From 2008 through 2011, bank failures cost the fund an estimated $88 billion. The deposit insurance fund fell into the red in 2009. But with failures slowing, the fund's balance turned positive in the second quarter of last year. By Dec. 31, it stood at $11.8 billion, according to the FDIC.

The FDIC expects failures from 2012 through 2016 to cost $12 billion.

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