Bulloch County

With all of the discussion in the national media regarding the state of the economy, I want to continue my look at how this is playing out locally.  Traditionally, it has taken a year or longer for a slow down in the national economy to really impact Bulloch County.   Taking a look at Bulloch bank’s deposit growth, along with new residential and commercial construction are good indicators of the health of our local economy.

A few weeks ago, I looked at building permits in the city for residential and commercial projects.  Based on permits, local development growth remains strong.  For fiscal year 2017, residential construction was $5.1 million.  In 2018, it was $7.8 million and then exploded in 2019 to $14.6 million. On the commercial side, we saw a dip from the peak in fiscal year 2017 of $25.3 million to $21.5 million in 2018. Then last year, the commercial growth increased to $24.2 million.

Recently the FDIC published its annual deposit market share report for FDIC-insured institutions as of June 30th.  Overall deposits grew in Bulloch County by 4.25% or $48,817 million to a total of $1,194,914 billion.  According to the Georgia Bankers Association, deposit growth grew statewide at 7.25% for the same period.  All but four of the 11 banks reporting saw increases in deposits over last year.

Even with this, Bulloch banks deposit rankings remained basically the same with the exception of Citizens Bank moving up above The Heritage Bank.  Colony Bank did not show up in the 2018 report since their full service branch did not open until the 2019 reporting cycle.

Synovus retained its ranking as the leading bank in terms of deposits.  They also saw the largest growth over last year with a $36,800 million increase in deposits over 2018.  Synovus reported total deposits of $412,083 million increasing their total market share to 34.49%.  The next closest is Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T) with $201,891 million in total deposits and 16.90% market share.

Credit Unions are not insured by the FDIC so they do not show on the report.  They are actually insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The insurance is the exact same as the FDIC provides but through a different government agency.   The largest credit union in the market is CORE Credit Union with total deposits of $84 million.  That would rank them as the sixth largest financial institution in Bulloch in total deposits.  CORE Credit Union is also the only locally-owned financial institution in Bulloch County.

The last year has been a very busy one in the banking industry in Bulloch County.  Here are a few highlights:

CORE is in the final stages of construction of their new Main Branch in the Market District.  They anticipate having that branch open early 2020.

Synovus closed the Fair Road Branch in August and moved Chris Wiggins to the Synovus Mall branch as Retail Market Manager.  They also announced at that time they would be renovating and expanding the Market District location to become a full service branch. Yolanda Tremble has been promoted to Retail Market Manager for the Market District location on Brampton Avenue.

Morris Bank completed its acquisition of Farmers and Merchants Bank in June and announced in August that F&MB President Brett Morgan was retiring and F&MB EVP Anna Swicord was promoted to Market President.

Colony Bank opened their new full service branch in June.  The former conference center adjacent to the Spring Hill Suites was transformed into Colony’s full service branch.

Here are the numbers from the FDIC for 2018 and 2019:

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...