5:47 am October 28, 2009, by Henry Unger
Georgia has led the nation in bank failures and members of Congress are coming to town to hear about their effect.
U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Democrat from Ohio, and Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative Republican from Coweta County, plan to hold a public hearing at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, reports AJC writer Bob Keefe.
They want to hear about how the high rate of bank failures in Georgia is affecting commercial and residential real estate markets.
Most of the failures have been small community banks, a major source of real estate loans in many towns .
But while federal grants through the Troubled Asset Relief Program helped prop up some of the nation’s biggest banks and financial institutions, “the little banks are getting the shaft,” Westmoreland said in an interview with Keefe.
“That’s causing a snowball effect,” he said. “You can imagine what it does to the rest of the economy.”
The hearing comes as some in Congress are considering injecting federal money into small community banks like those in Georgia, Keefe writes. Earlier this month, several top banking regulators told a Senate banking subcommittee that federal help for small banks could be key to keeping the real estate industry on the road to recovery.
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