Magazine article American Banker

Ga. Bank's CEO Sees No Let Up in His 2d Year

Magazine article American Banker

Ga. Bank's CEO Sees No Let Up in His 2d Year

Article excerpt

With longtime Atlanta banker Gordon Teel at the helm, Georgian Bank has undergone immense changes.

In the year since Mr. Teel took over as Georgian's chairman and chief executive, its assets have increased nearly tenfold, to $625 million, its employee head count has nearly tripled, to 73, and it has entered two counties in the Atlanta suburbs.

Earnings at Georgian, which mostly serves businesses, are up as well. They topped $1 million in the third quarter, against a profit of $212,000 a year earlier.

Mr. Teel does not plan to slow the pace, even though he is taking the 3-year-old bank private. Within the next year it is scheduled to open four new branches that will replace four temporary ones, and plans to hire 60 more employees.

Much of the Powder Springs bank's growth has been fueled by a $50 million investment in September 2003 from a group headed by Mr. Teel, 60. Six months earlier Mr. Teel had sold the $1.6 billion-asset Bank of North Georgia, of which he was chairman and founder, to Synovus Financial Corp.

It also helped that when he came on board, he brought along $160 million of loans generated through his loan production company, G. Teel Enterprises, which no longer exists.

Seeking a new challenge after selling Bank of North Georgia, Mr. Teel said he considered starting a bank but decided it would take too much time and that investing in an existing one would be better. He picked Georgian because it was run by a former Synovus colleague, Kenneth L. Barber, and had a solid track record.

The holding company, Georgian Bancorp Inc., is public but its stock is very thinly traded. Mr. Teel wants to take it private through a reverse stock split that would get the number of shareholders below 300 and free Georgian from Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements. …

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