Columbus Bank and Trust Co. in Georgia, already charged a $2.4 million fine for allegedly unfair card practices, has also received a lower Community Reinvestment Act rating.
In a filing released Saturday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said it had lowered the CRA rating for the $6 billion-asset Synovus Financial Corp. unit to "needs to improve," from its 2005 rating of "satisfactory." The bank was one of three financial institutions targeted in orders last month by the agency for alleged dealings with CompuCredit Corp. The FDIC said that CompuCredit had inadequately disclosed fees and other information in its credit card marketing, and that the banks had done little to stop the firm. In the bank's CRA order, a result of an August 2006 examination, the FDIC said it had violated Federal Trade Commission Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act provisions.
"These violations resulted from the bank's failure to properly oversee the solicitation materials, as well as the administration of its third-party relationships," the agency said.
Steve Melton, the chief executive of Columbus Bank and Trust, said the bank has spent the last two years improving its compliance to ensure the rating improves.
"We have done everything we can to comply," he said. "We've spent millions of dollars… We think we've got an exemplary program in place.
"This CompuCredit business is just a small part of what we do, but yet it's tainted all the good things we do."