According to a recent report from the FDIC, the Atlanta area is facing “the most challenging environment in nearly a decade as key economic sectors weaken while competition in the banking industry remains strong,” the report said.
However, Atlanta-area bankers said the FDIC is overreacting. Few seemed worried that developers would stop building houses, regardless of economic conditions.
“It’s not a surprise to anyone that there is some concentration of real estate development and construction,” said Joe Brannen, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia Bankers Association. “The market has added a million people in population, and anyone not in construction lending is missing an opportunity.”
Bank of North Georgia has about 30% of its assets in construction and development lending, but Don Howard, president of the Alpharetta bank, said he does not consider this risky. The $833 million-asset bank’s risk is spread out because it lends to a number of developers who build homes in 16 counties, he …