Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Habersham Bank Closed by Georgia Department of Banking and Finance

/PRNewswire/ -- Habersham Bancorp (OTC Bulletin Board: HABC) announced that the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance closed its subsidiary bank, Habersham Bank, and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. Habersham Bancorp is no longer the parent of Habersham Bank.

In a virtually simultaneous transaction, SCBT National Association acquired the operations and all deposits and purchased essentially all assets of the Bank in a loss-share transaction facilitated by the FDIC and will continue to operate the Bank, according to an FDIC news release. Customers who have questions about the foregoing matters, or who would like more information about the closure of the Bank, can visit the FDIC's web site located at, or call the FDIC toll-free at 1-866-806-6128.

In a prepared statement, Habersham Bancorp said: "While we ultimately were unable to save the Bank in the face of unyielding market conditions, the Board of Directors worked tirelessly over the past two years on behalf of the Company and its shareholders and attempted every reasonable solution. In particular, over the last several months, the Board and management team had been working on an offering of common stock to residents of the State of Georgia in an effort to recapitalize the Bank. Our Board and management team also pursued other transactions, including mergers with other institutions and sales of the Bank's assets. Despite our best efforts, the continuing depressed market conditions prevented us from completing these transactions."

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Tax Assistance from Clayton State University School of Business Accounting Students, February 19

Accounting students from Clayton State University have been busy reviewing all the tax law changes for 2010; that’s because they are participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program hosted by the University’s School of Business, that provides free tax support for certain eligible taxpayers.

For the 2011 tax season, this service will be offered at the Clayton School of Business on the following Saturdays; Feb. 19, Feb. 26, Mar. 19 and Mar. 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Taxpayers will be assisted on a first come, first serve basis. If taxpayers have further questions they may call the VITA hotline at (678) 466-4527.

VITA has been in existence for 37 years, and provides volunteers with extensive IRS training and testing. The volunteers can then ensure that taxpayers will have their tax returns filled out accurately and timely and receive the tax credits they qualify for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. Students can also benefit from having VITA volunteers prepare their taxes because the volunteers are trained in the recent changes to the credits available for tuition and other school-related expenses. The VITA program also prepares state income tax returns and provides free e-filing options to ensure clients receive their refunds as soon as possible.

Those interested in receiving this assistance must bring the following items:

  • photo identification,
  • social security cards for themselves, their spouse, and dependents,
  • birthdates,
  •  wage and earnings statements from all employers,
  • interest and dividend statements,
  • other relevant information about income and expenses including day care expenses,
  • a copy of last year’s federal and state income tax returns if possible,
  • bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit.
Please note that both spouses will need to be present to file electronically.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nearly Half of Seniors Receiving Lower Social Security Checks in 2011

/PRNewswire/ -- Forty-four percent of seniors are receiving lower Social Security checks this year compared to 2010, while even more are dealing with significantly higher expenses. The findings come from an annual survey of elderly Americans, released earlier today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), one of the nation's largest nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy groups.

Of seniors receiving lower checks, one in four report receiving at least $50 less per month, and one in nine are receiving at least $100 less per month.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of seniors (61 percent) estimate their expenses have increased by at least $80 per month compared to last year.

Social Security checks are lower because many seniors have their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage premiums automatically deducted, and these premiums have increased in many cases. An annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) typically offsets such premium increases, but seniors are not receiving a COLA for the second year in a row.

"The combination of lower benefits and higher expenses means many more seniors will have a hard time making ends meet this year," said Larry Hyland, chairman of The Senior Citizens League. "More of them will have to make very difficult choices and cut back on basic things such as health care and utilities."

Almost 70 percent of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income. Social Security is the sole source of income for 15 percent of beneficiaries.

TSCL supports emergency COLA legislation and opposes any deficit reduction proposals that would cut the COLA.

SURVEY METHODOLOGY: The survey was conducted through print and electronic surveys from December 13, 2010, through January 31, 2011. It had 1,253 Social Security recipients. Full survey results are available on request.

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