First Piedmont Bank, based in Winder, Georgia, became the state’s 15th bank failure in the last year.  Its assets were purchased by Athens-based First American Bank and Trust.  A total of four banks nationwide were shuttered on Friday.  A total of 58 federally insured banks nationwide have been shut down in 2009. 

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Between 2004 and 2008, the [First Piedmont Bank’s] loan portfolio doubled in size to nearly $100 million, primarily on residential construction loans. But those loans began to sour as home sales slumped dramatically through 2007 and into the following years, and the bank’s loan portfolio deteriorated.

By first quarter 2009, roughly one-third of the bank’s loan portfolio was classified as some form of problem, either delinquent or defaulted loans, or had become repossessed real estate.  By March 31, the bank’s Texas Ratio — a comparison of its total loan problems to total equity capital, which measure the bank’s ability to absorb losses — exceeded 400 percent.

The FDIC also shut down three other banks yesterday – Vineyard Bank in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Temecula Valley Bank in Temecul, CA and  BankFirst in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.