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December 7, 2018

Hurricane Aid a Topic at Farmer Appreciation Dinner in Colquitt

We’ve had a busy week in Georgia’s communities sharing the story of how banks and bankers support their customers and hometowns. First State Bank of Blakely held a Farmer Appreciation dinner in Colquitt Monday night for a big crowd of its ag clients, and GBA’s Joe Brannen was honored to be a guest speaker at the invitation of City President Anthony Howard. During his talk, Brannen shared details with the farmers about recent banker efforts at the state and national level to strengthen disaster aid programs in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Click here to read some of his remarks describing last week’s visit to D.C. and the banker-developed proposal to strengthen the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
Farmer Appreciation Dinner Crowd
Howard, Brannen and Rep. Gerald Greene

Pike Chamber Gets Update

We appreciated the invitation from United Bank’s Shep Marsh to participate in the annual Pike County Chamber Economic Summit breakfast Tuesday. Marsh is the bank's Pike County market president and is serving as chamber president this year. GBA’s Joe Brannen shared a banking and business outlook with the chamber members. His talk focused on the strong performance of the state’s banks this year, the economic outlook that’s tied to political changes at the state and national levels, how bank technology continues to evolve and how banks have a lot to offer a changing workforce. Click here to read his comments on why banking offers a unique career opportunity for digital natives.
Marsh welcomes big crowd to the
Pike Chamber Economic Summit
Past GBA Chairman Jim Edwards, United Bank, Griffin; GBA Chairman-Elect Chuck Copeland; First National Bank of Griffin; Brannen; Shep Marsh, Pike Market President, United Bank, Zebulon

Rural Development Council Releases Recommendations

We have followed the two-year process of the Georgia House of Representatives' Rural Development Council with great interest on behalf of our members across Georgia. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen also testified before the Council early on about the banking landscape and environment along with Ken Bibb, The Geo. D. Warthen Bank, Sandersville; Jackson McConnell, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton; and Bill Thompson, Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co., Augusta. This helped to lay the groundwork for the Council in determining the needs of rural Georgia, which has culminated with these recommendations released this week. We will be following the resulting legislation during the General Assembly Session beginning in January and will be discussing the effect on banking at our Legislative and Economic Forum Jan. 16. With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.420.2027.

McWilliams Says FDIC Can ‘Do Better’ with De Novos

Using the backdrop of a recent visit to a community bank to open a checking account that she fondly equated to stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams says there’s a strong need for de novo bank formation. "I do not profess to know what the right number of banks in the U.S. is, but I recognize that, like many competitive industries, a dynamic banking sector needs new startups entering the marketplace. De novo banks are a key source of new capital, talent, ideas, and ways to serve customers," she says in an article in American Banker this week. "Most de novos are traditional banks that offer services and products to underserved communities and fill gaps in overlooked markets…The FDIC stands ready to work with those who are prepared to build strong new community banks."
Related: McWilliams and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Raphael Bostic will speak at the GBA Legislative/Economic Forum Jan. 16 in Atlanta. If you plan to stay overnight, be sure to reserve your hotel room by Dec. 19 to secure GBA’s $199 group rate. Click here for hotel contact info, more details and to register.

401(k) Education Sessions Beneficial to Trust Members

We were pleased with the great turnout of bank CFOs and HR representatives who attended our 401(k) sessions in Macon and Atlanta this week. GBA Retirement Services provides a free annual training seminar each year for HR representatives with retirement plans in the GBA Master Trust and for bankers who may be interested in learning more about our program. This year, we offered on-site fiduciary training from our in-house counsel, Edie Lindsay, administrative review and website demonstrations from our recordkeeper, BlueStar Retirement Services, and participant outcomes and investment overview from Unified Trust Company, our discretionary Trustee and Investment Manager. With the ever-changing legal requirements and scrutiny of retirement plans, GBA Retirement Services continues to stay on top of the latest guidance and oversight for its members. Click here to view upcoming training opportunities and more information.
Atlanta session
Macon session

Key Risk Themes Outlined

It’s always helpful to get the perspective of regulators based on their evaluations of banks throughout the year. The OCC this week shared its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Fall 2018 that notes several themes worth keeping an eye on:
  • Credit quality remains strong, but the OCC is monitoring the origination quality of new loans, the potential for increased lender complacency within credit risk identification and management, and the potential embedded risks from successive years of eased underwriting.

  • Operational risk is elevated as banks respond to an evolving and increasingly complex operating environment.

  • Compliance risk is elevated as banks manage money laundering risks and comply with amended consumer protection requirements.

  • Rising interest rates and increased competition for deposits may result in changes in funding mix or costs.

Raising Appraisal Exemption Threshold up for Comment

Regulators have asked for public comment on a proposal to raise the threshold for residential real estate transactions requiring an appraisal from $250,000 to $400,000. It’s been 28 years since the last adjustment. Rather than requiring an appraisal for transactions exempted by the threshold, the proposal would require the use of an evaluation consistent with safe and sound banking practices, the proposal request said. We’re supportive of raising the threshold and will examine the proposal for necessary comments. We encourage bankers to submit comments, as well. Read the request for comment and proposal here. With questions or comments you’d like to be sure we include in our letter, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

Retail, Manufacturing and Hospitality Sectors Lead Economic Report

The Fed’s latest Beige Book report on the economy for the Sixth District paints a picture of a moderately expanding economy with most contacts optimistic about continued near-term growth. Manufacturing contacts said new orders and production were robust, retailers cited higher sales and the hospitality sector was solid. Bank contacts reported a stable environment with generally good credit quality conditions and some loosening of underwriting standards to help drive more demand and to remain competitive. In the ag sector, in spite of Hurricane Michael, cotton harvesting in Alabama and Georgia progressed close to their five-year averages, but with significant deterioration in conditions, especially in Georgia. Read the full report here.

Postal Banking Gets Thumbs Down in Report

Adding banking to the U.S. Postal Services’ offerings isn’t a good idea because of the added balance-sheet risk it would bring, according to a report by the Treasury Department released this week. "Given the USPS’s narrow expertise and capital limitations, expanding into sectors where the USPS does not have a comparative advantage or where balance sheet risk might arise, such as postal banking, should not be pursued," the task force said. The report about postal reform ideas cited areas such as processing hunting and fishing licenses or renting space to complementary retail establishments as revenue-producing concepts to consider. Some candidates for national office in 2020 may make postal banking a campaign issue, and it’s been backed by some academics including a University of Georgia professor. Read the report here.

2018 BankPAC Update

The 2018 BankPAC Campaign has been a success by any measure thanks to all who have taken the responsibility to make it so. This is an industry-wide effort that impacts the entirety of Georgia’s banks. If you have yet to participate, here are our easy-to-use forms for use in making contributions to the GBA StatePAC and GBA FedPAC. Also, see how your GBA Group is doing meeting its goals. Click here to see this week’s contributors to the GBA StatePAC and FedPAC. With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.420.2027.

New GBA Facebook Group for Bank Marketing Pros

At the request of members for an online space to pose questions, brainstorm ideas and share resources with fellow bank marketing professionals, GBA recently created a new bankers-only Facebook group for the GBA Marketing Peer Group. The preliminary posts cover a query about incentive and referral programs, a helpful tool from the U.S. Postal Service and a compliance question about email subject lines. Facebook was the channel suggested by the members of this particular group, and membership is limited to marketing professionals working at GBA member banks. Click here to find out how to join and more information.

Please Welcome New GBA Bank Counsel Section Member Alison LaBruyere

We’re excited this week to introduce our bulletin readers to the newest member of GBA’s Bank Counsel Section: Alison LaBruyere of Squire Patton Boggs LLP in Atlanta. Click here for LaBruyere’s contact info and more information about the GBA Bank Counsel Section. Please take a moment to drop her a welcome note when you have time and get to know her better.

Conference Last Call and Event Key Information

Here are quick notes on some key GBA educational conferences coming up:
Register or apply now and get invoices to pay by year-end for the following:
With questions, please contact GBA's Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.
The Fairmont Banff Springs

Your Early Planning Checklist for the 2019 GBA Annual Meeting - June 23-26, Banff

Planning is well underway for the 2019 GBA Annual Meeting June 23-26 at the Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada. This year’s magical destination coupled with the unmatched content, community, connecting and creativity at every GBA Annual Meeting promises a big crowd and there’s border crossing involved, so it’s not too early to start planning for your trip. We’ve created an early planning checklist with all the information you need to get you to Banff next summer. Click here for the detailed checklist. With questions, please contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

What’s Included in an SNL Banker Subscription?

SNL Banker from S&P Global Market Intelligence is an intuitive, powerful and affordable business intelligence application that seamlessly integrates data from your core, general ledger (GL) and other internal systems and centralizes it into an easy-to-use data warehouse. Bankers gain instant access to daily performance metrics and insights to inform your decision-making. You might ask, what’s Included in an SNL Banker subscription? Click here to find out, and click here to request an SNL Banker demo. With any questions, please contact Jason Routson, 678.528.8041.

Help Customers Save SUM® Money!

ATMs offer extraordinary convenience, providing anytime access to cash and account information in the smallest towns and the biggest cities. However, The SUM Surcharge-free ATM Network allows your bank's customers to save time and money by offering surcharge-free access to thousands of ATMs around the country. The consumer benefits of the SUM Program are immediate and easy to access. Your customers don't have to register, and all they need to withdraw cash without a surcharge is your bank-issued ATM card. Click here to learn more about customer advantages. For more information, please contact Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.
Fill a Job, Find a Job with the GBA Job Bank
The GBA Job Bank is among the most popular and valuable benefits we provide to member banks and bankers. The Positions Available and Bankers Available sections on our website consistently are among the most visited pages. Best of all, the service costs nothing for member banks and bankers. If you have any questions, please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021.
GBA Community Connections
We want to share all the good work GBA member banks, bankers, Associate Members and Bank Counsel Section members do to support their communities. Read all about the Community Connections our banks and members have below. Share your Community Connections by sending a brief paragraph and any photos of activities you have to us and we'll publish them at our earliest opportunity. Send information to Katina Prokos and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment...
Glennville Bank
Ameris Bank
Pinnacle Bank
Pinnacle Bank
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.
Altamaha Bank and Trust
Commercial Banking Company
Georgia Bankers Association
Read All About It: Send Us Your News
We want to share your news with your colleagues around the state. Please forward your announcements about promotions, new employees and special recognition your bank has received along with any available photos to GBA's David Oliver and Katina Prokos.