Veteran reporter Tom Crawford of Capitol Impact has posted the following on his subscription web site:
The financial crisis that has resulted in the failure of a record 25 banks in Georgia has also had an impact on the race for governor.
The latest state bank to be shut down by regulators was American United Bank of Lawrenceville, a financial institution established in 2004 to focus on the banking needs of Georgia’s immigrant community.
The chief executive officer of the bank’s holding company, American United Bancorp Inc., is David Poythress, the state’s former labor commissioner and a Democratic candidate for governor.
Poythress retired as adjutant general of the Georgia National Guard in 2007 to become the CEO of the holding company. He was also a member of American United Bank’s board of directors and owned a share of the bank valued at more than $10,000, according to his financial disclosure statement.
“The holding company is still in existence, but we only owned the one bank so it’ll be closed in due course,” Poythress said in a brief interview Tuesday.
“It is indicative, of course, of the state of the economy,” Poythress said of the bank’s failure. “Commercial real estate is in the tank and there’s a tremendous ripple effect throughout the industry.”
When asked if bank oversight might now become an issue in the governor’s race, Poythress said he will continue to focus on the three major issues of public education, water and transportation.
“The whole question of banking and financial institution reform is really more of a federal issue than a state issue,” he said.
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