FRIDAY, June 17-As hard as it is to imagine, McIntosh State Bank, a pillar of the Jackson and Butts County community for 47 years shut its doors today at 5pm, bringing to a close an era of community banking that may not ever be seen again. The decision was not by their choice but rather, a decision made by the Federal Government and they did not go gently into that good night. For the past few years, “The Bank”, as it was known in Jackson, and its employees worked tirelessly, doing everything in their power to strengthen McIntosh in the face of ever-changing federal requirements and economic uncertainties that unfolded as time went on. The measures undertaken by them to prevent this from happening were herculean but in the end, despite their best efforts, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the regulators who closed its doors today. It is a sad ending to a lifetime of community service and while the event of closure will fade in time, the decades of positive impact the bank had on the community should not go unmarked. It is with this mind that I write this tribute and I hope that the people who knew “The Bank” and the employees who worked there will choose not to focus on the end but instead will remember all the positive differences that McIntosh State Bank made in the life of this community.
The Bank was founded in the 1960’s by a group of local Jackson businessmen who had become deeply concerned about the future of the Jackson community and its need to have a locally owned and operated hometown bank. The other bank in town, the Jackson National Bank, was being bought by a large corporate bank that later became C & S, then NationsBank and finally the Bank of America. These men had built their own businesses from the ground up and they wanted the money that they made and deposited to be reinvested in the community and not distributed all over the country. More than that, they wanted to make sure that local citizens had a place to turn to that they could have confidence in depositing their money and that when they needed help or loans, that local people would be the ones making the decisions and not some committee far removed from Jackson and the needs of its people. A locally owned and operated hometown bank was the answer to that problem and from their resources and those of other local families that bought stock in the bank, it was capitalized with $500,000.00 and opened its doors in September of 1964. These businessmen, which included my grandfather, George W. Caston, along with M.W. Carmichael, Wayne Barnes, Rufus Adams, Doyle Jones, Ezra M. “Brerr” McCord, William Shapard (President and later, Chairman) and Candler Webb formed the original Board of Directors and are pictured in the photograph to the left, along with Vice President Henry Asbury, on opening day at McIntosh State Bank.
In the 47 years since that day, McIntosh State Bank operated under the belief that if the community invests in the company, then the company must reinvest in its community and it has been a friend to the community of Jackson and Butts County throughout its entire existence. My earliest memories of “The Bank” revolve around their legacy of community service and they led the way in giving back to their community. Every year, they turned their facility over to the local civic clubs to host the local fund drive for the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon; they sponsored school events in all the area schools; donated to community causes and hosted community education forums and seminars to help inform the public about personal finance and money management. Throughout the years, the name of our community Bank appeared on scoreboards, yearbook ads, school newspaper ads, local sports brochures and many thousands of little Jackson High School footballs thrown out at many a football game. In just about any event that any organization needed some sponsorship funding, McIntosh State Bank was there for them. Untold hundreds of children have grown up in the local Recreation Department ball teams with the name of McIntosh State Bank stenciled on their jerseys and shelves all over the county hold trophies that was paid for by The Bank so that every child would have one. They were part of the fabric of this community and no one else has ever matched their love of this community or their generosity of spirit in giving back to the people that had placed their trust in them.
When they branched out to other communities like Monticello and Jasper County, Locust Grove, McDonough and Henry County, they did just as much for those communities as well. They have contributed time, money, staff and resources towards improving the lives of the citizens in every county they served, our own longer than anyone else’s. Several years ago when the Chamber Director and I were chairing the drive to raise a half a million dollars to help Butts County get a matching grant for the construction of a satellite college campus for the local technical college, McIntosh State Bank was one the top three most generous business benefactors and they led a few others towards giving generously as well. I can honestly say that had it not been for McIntosh State Bank, the local campus of Southern Crescent Technical College might have never become a reality.
They were present at every ribbon cutting the Chamber ever orchestrated and helped hold every ribbon strung across a door. They were there for me and many others when we got that first car loan and they celebrated with you when you got your first loan to buy a new house-and they made sure you didn’t overextend yourself in the process. If you look back over nearly five decades that they have been in business, you will see that McIntosh State Bank had meaningful, significant impact, on the many lives it touched and in so many positive ways. They were, for a very long time, the economic engine that drove this county, by its stewardship over the money of their depositors and by reinvesting that money locally into loans that grew new businesses, expanded existing companies, created homeownership and kept their community moving forward in a positive direction. Moreover, they created a lot of jobs for people over the years and many successful business people cut their teeth in business working for McIntosh along the way. It may take some time but the community will eventually realize the significant loss that the departure of McIntosh will have in so many areas.
Much will be said about “The Bank” in the weeks and months ahead and a few people will say things to try and detract from the positive force that it was in Butts County. The loss of McIntosh will be discussed and debated over morning coffee circles for some time to come but it wasn’t lost through incompetence, malfeasance or greed-it was a victim of a vicious economic cycle that has swallowed dozens of other banks, hundreds of companies and hundreds of thousands of homeowners. In the midst of what Chairman William K. “Pete” Malone once called “The Perfect Storm”, it stayed the course and held on far longer than most by the sheer will, determination and perseverance of its leaders, its directors, its employees and its depositors who continued to believe that the economy would turn the corner before all possibilities had been exhausted. When the various Washington administrations announced programs to help banks weather this storm and they sought this help, they were turned away by those indifferent administrations and told that federal relief funds were for the big banks that could not be allowed to fail and that the small community banks were on their own. That was over two years ago and they pushed on anyway, meeting each demand laid at their door by the federal government, succeeding each time to meet their requirements even as the regulators kept changing the rules and setting the bar higher almost monthly. Finally, when they could wring no more from The Bank, the regulators decided that enough was enough and they took possession of something our community built from the ground up and gave it to outside interests to come in and stake their claim. With this decision, local banking owned by local people exists no more for the people of this community.
To the Chairman, Pete Malone and the President, Bruce Bartholomew, as well as Charlie Harper, Kim McMichael, members of the board and all the employees who worked long hours, sweated over countless details and hung in there, not for a paycheck but out of a sense of obligation to their communities, you deserve the thanks and the praise of all the citizens who you served and the gratitude of a community that would not be where it is today were it not for your efforts and those who came before you. We can only welcome the new owners and hope they want to maintain that hometown feel provided by the current bank employees… and to “The Bank”, thank you for all you have done to make our lives better and make this community stronger. We wish we could have done more for you but in the end, all we can do is make sure that what you have done for us is never forgotten.
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Nicely put, Michael. Key words, “When the Washington administrations announced programs to help banks weather this storm and they sought this help, they were turned away by an indifferent administration and told that federal relief funds were for the big banks that could not be allowed to fail and that the small community banks were on their own. ” This idea is true in so many different venues.
Love knowing the history of McIntosh Bank; so sorry it has been taken over.
The Literate Pen said:
While a big bank failure would be a disaster to econony as a whole, I don’t think anyone thinks very much of the impact this can have on a small community, nor realize how integrated into the community a local bank actually is. It touches so many lives and is like losing a friend to all.
Debbie Moon said:
Michael, you have written an excellent piece about this local business & group of people who have been an outstanding pillar of our community. This conveys my feelings and emotions of losing a valuable institution. My thoughts and prayers go to the leaders of McIntosh State Bank and the many employees who tried so hard to keep it going for us.
The Literate Pen said:
Thank you Debbie….I hope that the employees will be taken care of by the new owners and I’m sure they will work with the community as well but McIntosh as a company will be hard to beat by anyone. If Pete and Bruce et.al couldn’t save it then it couldn’t be done.
M Grant said:
Thank you! Well said! We were a part of the McIntosh family for a number of years. It grieves us for all of the employees & members of the community.
The Literate Pen said:
It will definitely be a loss to the town but I know we will be there for all of them that gave so much to us.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. This makes me sad for our community and for the state of the world in general.
The Literate Pen said:
When all the small community banks are finished we will realize just what we have lost.
Rick Ballard said:
Michael, Someone I respect told me about 2 years ago that the Federal Government really wanted only four or five large banks that they could “keep their fingers on” and get rid of all the smaller community banks that serve their communities. They bailed out all the big ones and are in the process of folding the small ones. It really seems like that ! Thank you for the very nice tribute to McIntosh. They really deserve all our thanks for their dedication for all these years. Keep up the good work and your wonderful writings….Rick Ballard
The Literate Pen said:
Thank you Rick. I suspect your friend is on target there. Small banks are still the life blood of communities and no one realizes it until we lose that. Thanks for reading!
It is sad that this bank has closed. I have banked there for 15 years. It is however not fair to blame the federal govt. IT was banks that got us into this mess, perhaps not this one, but banks nonetheless. The Govt. bailed out the big banks because not doing so would have increased the recession dramatically sending us into a depression possibly worse than the 20’s. Many people and congressmen did not want to do this even at the risk of making things worse. The Govt. was barely able to bail these 3 out, what do you think people would say if it extended that and bailed out smaller ones also?
They also put into place regulations for a reason, to prevent this type of thing from happening again. It is not the regulations that hurt the bank, it is the economy. If the economy was better the regulations would not have had as dramatic of effect.
For two years Republicans said NO to every piece of legislation to hit the floor. Yet people blame Democrats for the economy. How is it the Democrats fault when we are still using Republican policies? Very few Democratic bills were passed during this time because of Republicans saying NO. Doing nothing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. Doing nothing is Exactly what those Republicans have done. We have tried Republican policies for over 12 years, it is time to try something new! Republicans promised us jobs during this last election, in the 6 months since then they have not brought forth one jobs bill. The only thing they have done is try to kill Medicare and other important programs. It is time the people wakes up and sees the Republicans say what the people want to hear and spread bold faced lies. Yet, when it is time to do their job they vote completely the opposite of what they said. At least when they aren’t complaining about not getting off for the holiday break. Apparently that is more important to them than saving the country.
B. Real said:
Here we are 3 years after this post, with Democrats in charge, and the unemployment rate continues to rise, local businesses continue to fail under the tremendous tax burdens imposed by the federal government, healthcare is a disaster, the government is spying on private citizens, our foreign policy is a joke to the rest of the world, and the national debt is double what it was 8 years ago. So how are Democrats working out for you?
Need you be reminded that it is Republican policies that allow businesses like McIntosh to thrive, thus, giving businesses like McIntosh the capital to reinvest in the communities they serve. Republicans fight vigorously for a free market which allows good businesses to succeed, hire more employees and give back to their community. McIntosh was the very definition of a business that succeeded under a Republican free market and crumbled under a Democratic socialist economy.
We hope you will submit this to the Prog-Arg for publication.
For two years the Dems had complete control and could have passed any legislation they wanted too.
Mike you need to do a lot more reading on the systemic cause of the banking crisis.
It was decades in the making and was a combination of greed and government complicity.
Getting the legal separation between investment banks and consumer banking torn down through the repeal of Glass-Steagall was the first step towards getting us to where we are now. Legislative Capture of Congress and the Regulators by the Banking industry took all of the roadblocks out of the way for the race to oblivion. It is all slowly coming unwound as the only groups with enough money to fight the banks are doing it in Civil Court. Insurance Companies and Large Investment groups that were sold Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) by the big banks are winning cases and revealing how much fraud was going on in the system. Pooling and Servicing Agreements (PSA) were not complied with in as much that original documents were not properly endorsed and transferred to the pool in a timely manner if at all. The industry even created an electronic database to go around the need to properly record documents in County Courthouses. MERS the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems has been found in numerous cases to not have legal Standing to foreclose on defaulted properties and as it holds over %50 of all home mortgages in the USA , is another financial mess in itself. There has been a legal separation of the Note and the underlying mortgage as a result of the failure to comply with the PSA and MERS’s lack of legal standing. There will be a big push by the industry to get this corrected ex post facto to cover their tails, because if they do not, then they have trillions in USECURED loans and would not have the capital reserves to meet banking standards. By sellers of MBS not complying with the PSA, the groups that bought the MBS can turn them back onto the originators at FULL FACE VALUE. That is the reason for the bailouts and QE 1 and 2. Get enough cash into the system to keep the big banks afloat and meet the requirement for available capital. CDS, Credit Default Swaps are a form of “Insurance” banks could buy to show on the books that they had enough “Capital” to cover any losses and keep the regulators from closing them down. The problem with a CDS is that it isn’t regulated like REAL INSURANCE. The people selling it DON”T HAVE TO PROVE THEY HAVE THE MONEY TO BACK IT UP. This is what AIG did and is what detonated the industry causing the outcry for the bailouts.
The small Banks didn’t get this help and with the job losses have seen deposits drop and defaults rise on any loans they are servicing themselves.
BIG Banks even got the accounting regulations changed from Mark to Market to basically Mark to Fantasy when it is time to calculate the value of properties that they hold as collateral. That is another reason they create shell companies to bid on foreclosures if they even allow foreclosed properties to be sold on the courthouse steps. If it sells for less then the mortgaged amount then they will have to show the loss. If a Shell holding company bids the full amount of the mortgage then they show no loss and could even state a profit from all the payments that were made minus origination costs and holding/ servicing cleanup.
The big banks are playing a shell game and eventually will have the tables turned on them.
Small banks had to keep it honest, and suffered as a result.
Ghost of the Banks' Past said:
To the “mike” who posted above, not Michael Brewer:
Clearly the negative comment from above is not well informed by history and the relevant facts about the FDIC closing of small banks. First off, the depression started in 1929 and extended into the early 1940s– let’s not forget the “roaring 20’s”. Secondly, it cost the government, a.k.a those of us who work and pay taxes, tens of millions of dollars to shut-down these small banks. We as hard working Americans who believe in the “American dream” should support small-businesses and small-banks because they are what have built this country. They have been the backbone, which is being degraded by big business and overly large financial institutions that we as shoppers and tax payers have allowed to grow ever larger. It seems these big businesses and banks do not answer to anyone about their missteps, and those on capital hill, both Democrat and Republican, are being silenced with the money that has stemmed from their corruption. I side with neither political party, as politicians as of late have lost all sight of the principles this country was founded on. I simply ask you check your facts before making such overblown remarks.
My father Larry Deraney and grandfather ‘DEBE’ really loved this bank.It will be missed by many.
The Literate Pen said:
Both of them were as much a part of this town as McIntosh Bank was and as much as they are missed, I’m glad they weren’t here to see this happen.
An amazing piece! I don’t know what Jackson, GA will be like without McIntosh. My family hasn’t had any other bank accounts since 1982 – we never wanted to!
Walking into McIntosh was never a hardship, because the people there were your neighbors and friends. I’m surely going to miss seeing the blue emblem around. Thank you to all of the people who worked so hard to keep such an integral part of the legacy entrusted to Butts country alive for so long.
The Literate Pen said:
I too will miss the blue logo although I was much more partial to the old McIntosh arrowhead logo and told them so when they changed. I have added the old logo into the blog post as well just for us sentimental types.
Wow it’s sad I grew up with McIntosh, when I came back home first thing I did was open up accounts at the bank. It’s kind of like losing an old friend, I don’t know what this new bank will be like I’m not sure if I’ll keep my accounts there. Not sure I want some out of town big bank handling my money we’ll just play it by ear for now