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UCB ranked #1 in state, 14th in country
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United Community Bank is the top ranked Georgia based bank on Forbes magazines annual list of the best performing banks in the country.

Weve got plenty of capital and are aggressively looking for deals, local UCB President James Askew said.

And Dawson County residents seem to be doing better financially.

Im not getting the daily calls like I used to from folks saying they lost their job, Askew said Friday. People in Dawsonville seem to be doing better.

A December 2014 Forbes article titled Americas Best and Worst Banks, by Kurt Badenhausen, ranked 100 of the largest publicly-traded banks nationwide.

United ranked 14th on the 2015 list.

Past due accounts are at an historic low for us, Askew said.

For residents with credit challenges, Askew noted there are programs available.

There are avenues that the banks are coming up with to help people, he said. But theres a lot of additional expenses and regulations the banks have to deal with now. Some are good for the regulators, and some are good for the consumers.

As the real estate market has stabilized and foreclosures in the area have dried up some, banks are making more construction loans.

Were making construction loans, he said. People are moving into Dawson County, but there is a lack of housing, so people are building.

UCB is a registered bank-holding company based in Blairsville, with $7.5 billion in assets.

We are pleased to be recognized as one of the best banks in the country, said Lynn Harton, president and chief operating officer of the bank. This ranking reflects our focus on the fundamentals of growing a strong bank. We are particularly proud of achieving this recognition of our financial performance during the same time that we have been recognized as the Southeast Region winner of the JD Power Award for customer satisfaction. This reflects the outstanding job our bankers do of both taking care of our customers and running a sound and profitable bank.

For six years, Forbes has ranked the nations 100 largest publicly-traded banks on nine measures of financial health, including return on average equity, net interest margin, nonperforming loans (NPLs) as a percentage of loans, nonperforming assets as percentage of assets, reserves as a percentage of NPLs, two capital ratios (Tier 1 and risk-based), leverage ratio and one-year sales growth.

Banking is a people business and United is fortunate to have dedicated, results-oriented employees with a true passion to serve its customers with our golden rule of banking: serving our customers the way we would want to be

treated, said Jimmy Tallent, chief executive officer of the bank. At the end of the day, that drives the financial results of our company. Im very proud of our United team.