Category: A - Newsbreaks
Hits: 3649

May 31--  The South Georgia lawmaker who chairs the Banking Committee in the Georgia House of Representatives and who is a director of a local bank has paid a $5,000 fine to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a bad check.

{mosimage}State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia says one of his accounts at Montgomery Bank and Trust, where he is a director, had insufficient funds to cover a $26,000 property tax check he wrote back in 2006.  He later transferred money into the account, but the overdraft caught the attention of federal regulators when Montgomery Bank was being audited as part of a deal with new investors to keep the bank from failing late last year.

"This occurred in 2006.  I wrote a couple of checks before I went out of a town on a hunting trip, I didn't cover the amount of money in the account and before somebody from the bank could get to me before the banking day was over to put the money in the account, the account was overdrawn.  I thought the fine was excessive, but it is the rule," he says.

Morris says he didn't challenge the fine because it came up in December while the bank was in the midst of recapitalization negotiations with federal regulators.

"They did approve our plan and I think one of the reasons not much as been made of it by the FDIC is because we were one of the few banks under consent order that didn't fail and hasn't cost the taxpayers one single dime," he says.

According to federal banking rules, certain overdrafts by bank directors are prohibited because they could be considered an improper insider loan.  Morris told an Atlanta reporter he has been cited by bank regulators for overdrafts before, but not fined.