Security Bank customers find business as usual

James Purser went to the bank Saturday morning on Pio Nono Avenue with boxes of doughnuts for the employees — just like he’s done for 15 years.

It didn’t matter to him that his bank — Security Bank — was taken over by the government late Friday and that another bank — State Bank and Trust Co. of Pinehurst — bought up the assets of the failed bank.

“I don’t see any big changes,” said Purser, who owns Purser Truck Sales and has personal and business accounts at the bank. “Probably what changes there will be will be for the better. They will have more money and can do things they couldn’t before. ... I think it will be business as usual.”

Purser began taking doughnuts to the bank when it started opening on Saturdays as a way to make the employees feel better about working on the weekend, he said.

The six banks owned by Macon-based Security Bank Corp. were shut down Friday by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver.

State Bank plans to invest about “$300 million of fresh capital” into the business, Chairman and CEO Joe Evans said Friday. Plans are to move the bank’s headquarters to Macon, he said.

The six banks formerly owned by Security Bank Corp. are: Security Bank of Bibb County, Security Bank of Houston County, Security Bank of Jones County, Security Bank of Gwinnett County, Security Bank of North Metro and Security Bank of North Fulton. The banks have a total of 20 branches all of which will operate as before under the new name.

At four of the bank branches in Macon on Saturday morning, it seemed like business as usual, as some people used the drive-up window or the ATM or visited the bank’s lobby.

The only thing that was different is a Bibb County deputy was posted at the branches.

“While the FDIC is on the premises, they require the presence of the police,” said Tom Woodbery, former spokesman for Security Bank.

Ronnie Ricks, who was at the Pio Nono branch also Saturday, said he wasn’t worried about his checking and savings accounts at Security, even though his wife was a little concerned.

“As long as they keep the people (employees), it will be fine,” Ricks said. “I know them all by first-name basis and they know me.”

Over at the Riverside Drive branch, Helen Smith, 84, said that after a 42-year career in banking, she knew her money was protected by the FDIC.

But Ernest Bailey wasn’t as convinced.

Bailey said he went to the Riverside Drive branch to make sure his retirement check, which is automatically deposited, would make it to the new bank.

“I don’t trust everything I see when they say everything’s fine,” Bailey said as he was leaving the bank. “I was concerned about the safety of (my money).”

Earlier, bank officials were reassuring Bailey that his money was safe.

“Your account is insured up to $250,000,” one official said. “The only thing you need to know is that the name changed. ... I can assure you, sir, that your money is safe.”

The FDIC, which is backed by the federal government, protects bank customers against the loss of deposits if an FDIC-insured bank or savings association fails, according to the FDIC Web site.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.