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April 12, 2019

Mullis, Flatt, Barber Nominated to GBA Statewide Offices
Copeland to assume Chairmanship at Annual Meeting

The GBA Nominating Committee has met and according to its Chair, Palmer Proctor, Fidelity Bank, Atlanta, the committee unanimously recommends the 2019-2020 GBA Chairman-elect be Spencer N. Mullis (Spence), president and CEO, Morris Bank, Dublin, and the Vice Chairman be James L. Flatt (Luke), chairman, president and CEO, AB&T, Albany. The committee also nominates Brad E. Barber, president and CEO, First National Bank, Bainbridge, to serve a three-year term as GBA Secretary/Treasurer. "We’re proud to present such a strong slate of officers for election to lead our association," Proctor said. "GBA’s members will be well served by their varied experience, expertise and commitment to the banking industry in Georgia." The election will occur during the annual business meeting June 25, 2019. J. Charles Copeland (Chuck), president and CEO, First National Bank of Griffin, automatically becomes 2019-2020 GBA Chairman at the annual meeting.

New GBA Board Members Elected

As specified by the GBA bylaws, the membership elects a board member to represent each of its even-numbered geographic groups during odd-numbered years. Elections for directors representing groups 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 have been completed. The following bankers, elected by their peers, will begin a two-year term on the GBA Board of Directors beginning July 1, 2019:
  • Group 2: Susan Vann Moss, president and CEO, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla
  • Group 4: Charles Sweat, president and CEO, First Peoples Bank, Pine Mountain
  • Group 6: Chuck Haley, president and CEO, The Peoples Bank, Eatonton
  • Group 8: Daryn Russell, president and CEO, Commercial Banking Company, Valdosta
  • Group 10: Ed Pope, president and CEO, F&M Bank, Washington.
Vann Moss
The incoming Chairman also makes two At-Large appointments each year. Chuck Copeland has appointed Bill Walker, president and CEO, Legacy State Bank, Loganville, and Darron Burnette, South Georgia / North Florida division CEO, Synovus Bank, Statesboro, to serve two-year terms.
Chris Edwards, president, United Bank Corporation, Zebulon, who will become chair of GBA Services Inc. in July, will serve as that organization’s representative to the GBA Board, and Rhodes McLanahan, president and CEO, First American Bank & Trust Company, Athens, will serve on the board representing the GBA Community Bankers Committee as it’s chair.
As incoming president of the Leadership GBA Executive Committee, Andrew Ainslie, VP/commercial lender, Bank of Madison, becomes that group’s representative on the GBA Board of Directors.
Congratulations to all of our incoming board members!

Board Briefed by Commissioner

Our thanks to Georgia Banking and Finance Commissioner Kevin Hagler and Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs Bo Fears for attending the recent GBA Board of Directors meeting. Hagler had recently returned from meetings with Congress and the leadership of the FDIC and the Board of Governors along with members of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors where he serves as vice chairman. Hagler discussed several legislative and regulatory issues important to bankers and supervisors. Commenting about the federal regulators’ proposed Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR), he cautioned bankers to carefully follow the rulemaking process, and, unless the new prompt corrective action regime was not amended, banks will likely need to maintain higher capital levels in order to enjoy the regulatory relief offered by Congress in authorizing the replacement of the risk weighted capital process with a simpler CBLR. He also answered questions about recent state legislative changes authorizing hemp farming and manufacturing and how bankers can serve the industry without triggering regulatory issues. On a closely related topic, Hagler stated federal law needs to address how money flows through the system related to the business of cannabis growing, processing and retailing in light of the recent legislative change expanding medical marijuana in Georgia. The recently adopted laws and rules in many states usually conflict with federal prohibitions and he urged bankers to be cautious. Read more about Hagler’s comments here.

Overdraft Lawsuit Moves Forward

In a case that’s been ongoing for more than nine years, a Georgia Court of Appeals recently upheld certification of a class action lawsuit against SunTrust Bank related to overdraft fees (Bickerstaff v. SunTrust Bank). In the appeal, the bank had argued that plaintiffs had waived their rights to be party to a class action based on language in their depositor agreements. On a procedural ruling, the court disagreed. There’s concern that the court’s basis for the ruling could have a dramatic effect on how contracts are written and interpreted going forward, so there will be continued legal debate and court action, according to GBA General Counsel, Jonathan Hightower of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Hightower briefed the GBA board about the case during its meeting this week. He noted that the merits of the case have yet to even be litigated, and that the Georgia General Assembly in recent years passed legislation clarifying that overdraft fees are service charges as opposed to short-term loans subject to usury laws, making state law consistent with national banking laws. Of significant concern is the Court’s suggestion that one provision of a contract that fails will cause another unrelated and perfectly legal provision to fail simply because the two provisions were in the same part of a contractual clause. Other issues that remain are related to arbitration clauses and the ability to waive trial by jury. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

Community Bank Leverage Ratio Comments Close

The deadline was Tuesday for comment on the proposed Community Bank Leverage Ratio (CBLR) authorized by last year’s financial regulatory reform bill. Agencies have proposed a ratio of 9%, but GBA, bankers and many other industry groups are strongly advocating an 8% level. Most banks in Georgia would qualify for regulatory relief at the proposed 9% level, but setting it at 8% would cover an additional 25 Georgia banks. These banks are already considered well-capitalized under the current risk-based capital regime and the whole concept of providing regulatory relief would be diminished at the higher level. The concept envisioned by the legislation was to provide regulatory burden relief to qualifying community banks by giving them an option to calculate a simple leverage ratio, rather than multiple measures of capital adequacy. The CBLR concept was not intended to reduce capital levels. The intent was to reduce the regulatory burden of complex calculations proving the obvious. But there was also no intent to raise capital levels and with the industry’s proclivity to operate with buffers above regulatory minimums, using a ratio higher than 8% would cause some banks to raise more capital just to take advantage of a simpler capital regime. We’ve been working with our colleagues at the American Bankers Association feeding suggestions we heard from our members into a working group. Here’s a link to the good comment letter filed by ABA from the input they got from us and many others. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

GBA Member Profile
The Joy of Generational Banking and Advocating for Farmers with Danny Minick

When Danny Minick, executive vice president at the Citizens Bank of Americus, began his career in banking, he didn’t anticipate how rewarding it would be to assist his customers with goals such as paying for a child to go to college, buying a house or starting a new business. Now, 20 years later, he is banking some of the children of customers he has worked with for years. "It has been a really neat experience to see how the children view their financial future and the way they conduct business as compared to their parents." Minick, who is vice chair of the GBA Agriculture Committee and vice president of the Leadership GBA Executive Committee, represented GBA in Washington back in December advocating for disaster relief, and he says if he was not working in banking, he would be on the family farm. "Banking has allowed me to use my agricultural background to help many different farmers in our community and farmers in different farm segments." He discusses what he learned in D.C., increased competition from non-regulated institutions, how community banks provide superior customer service and more in this week’s GBA member profile.
The GBA Group during the 2018 trip.

Annual Advocacy Hike-the-Hill trip to DC Coming up

GBA members and staff will be in Washington D.C. May 7-9 for our annual visit with the Georgia Congressional delegation and regulators. We’ve got a big group of GBA Board members, former chairmen, GBA BankPAC Board members and Leadership GBA Executive Committee members planning to attend. We’d like to hear from members about issues you want us to cover during our visits. The full agenda is still shaping up, but we’ve got meetings scheduled with most of our delegation, including lunch with Rep. Barry Loudermilk, and briefings with Fed Governor Michelle Bowman, Rebekah Jurata, special assistant to the President on economic policy, the FDIC, OCC and CFPB. If you haven’t chimed in with issues you want us to be sure and cover, please send a quick note to Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Scenes from Security Conference

Here are a few scenes from the GBA Security Conference underway this week. Check back next week for some details of the sessions and more photos.

Marketing Peer Group April 30
Learn How "The Personalization Promise" Drives Loyalty

Consumers expect personalized experiences in every aspect of their lives - and banking is no different. The pressure to deliver new and innovative banking experiences means that personalized financial education, tools and diagnostics are a requirement to drive consumer loyalty. Matt McDonald and his team from Everfi will talk to GBA’s Marketing Peer Group on April 30 at Middle Georgia State University, Macon. Bank marketers will walk away understanding why and how personalization in banking can build better relationships with their customers. Also, they’ll hear how personalization can reshape the entire customer experience and learn how financial education and diagnostic surveys can be used to personalize learning for customers’ journeys. This Marketing Peer Group meeting will include an attendee favorite peer exchange session as well as a vendor information exchange session. Register here. Registration is only $125 per person. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.

Official Notice of GBA Annual Meeting

As stated in GBA's bylaws, the GBA annual meeting is held at a time and place set by the GBA Board of Directors. The official GBA business session of this year's Annual Meeting will begin at 7 a.m. Tuesday, June 25, 2019, at Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta Canada, in the Van Horne Ballrooms A-B.
Moraine Lake in Banff

Make Sure Your Company Is Represented in Banff - Become An Annual Meeting Sponsor

Excitement continues to build around GBA’s 2019 Annual Meeting, coming up June 23-26 at the Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada. We’re so thankful to the many Associate Members who are showing their support by sponsoring this exciting annual event. If you’re an Associate Member of the GBA, there is still time to lock in a sponsorship. We’ve rolled out our new-and-improved sponsorship program, and our participating sponsors are enthusiastic about the enhanced benefits packages that are available. Click here to see all the details and the sponsorship reservation form. Even if your company isn’t able to send a representative to the meeting, your company will be well represented, with your name/logo highly visible on signage, slide decks, verbal acknowledgment from the podium, printed materials, and more. Be in Banff, even if you can’t be in Banff! To discuss this opportunity, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

The Tradition Continues
50-Year Bankers to be Recognized at Annual Meeting

GBA is proud to recognize Georgia bankers who have devoted 50 years or more of service to the industry every year at our Annual Meeting and throughout the year with personal visits when possible. Help us add to the growing list we’re already compiling for recognition at this year’s 2019 Annual Meeting. If you know or are someone who is hitting the milestone this year, please let us know! Please send an email to GBA’s Kathy Friestad with the following information:
  • Banker’s name and current title
  • Bank name
  • His/her years of service and brief work history
  • Photograph of banker nominated and the name of the nominating banker
  • Details about scheduled recognition events planned by your bank.
This information must be received by Friday, May 17. Please contact Kathy at 404.420.2024 with questions.

Upcoming April Seminars

Click the links above to learn more. Registration is only $250 per person until the week before the seminar. These seminars will be held in Macon. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.
Driggers, Lawson and Richards

How One Bank Switched to GBA Retirement Services

401(k) plans have become pretty much standard in an employee benefits package. Most employers offer a 401(k) plan but not all plans are created equal. What sets GBA Retirement Services apart from others is our level of care and service to our members. We have built a 401(k) platform specifically in the best interest of our members. We are built by bankers for bankers and can guarantee you will not find that anywhere else in the marketplace. We understand you have options, but we are grateful that you choose us to serve you year-after-year.
Newton Federal Bank in Covington recently switched to GBA Retirement Services for its employee 401(k) plan. Jayn Lawson, the bank’s HR director, shares her experience about the bank’s decision to switch:
"Moving Newton Federal Bank’s 401(k) plan to GBA Retirement Services was an easy decision for our bank. I have had a relationship with the GBA Retirement Services team for years, and it is well-known that their level of service is second-to-none. We converted our plan this year, and while any kind of conversion can be scary, the transition was seamless. The GBA Retirement Services’ team handled the entire process and required little effort from my team and me. Our employees really enjoy the personalized and easy-to-follow approach that GBA Retirement Services provides. For example, the auto-enrollment feature and the tool that tells participants if they’re on track to retire or not are game changers. We are beyond pleased with our decision to join GBA Retirement Services!"
For more information on how GBA Retirement Services can help your employees, please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 or Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.

Rural Development and Lending Conference
Legal Update for Ag Banking Part of Conference Lineup

Bankers from throughout Georgia will want to be sure to come to this year’s GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference to hear the latest legal trends affecting agribusiness interests. James Moore of Moore, Clarke, Duvall & Rodgers, P.C. will again be with us to present his popular overview of important legal issues. He joins a lineup that includes Ag Commissioner Gary Black and sessions covering the rural and age economy, cotton trends, crop insurance, regulatory trends and advocacy efforts at the state and national level. The conference is May 16-17 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Register today! The cut-off for reservations is April 15, so don’t delay making your hotel reservation!
Related: Sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are available to support this event and make connections.

Tax Season is Here - Call our Strategic Partner Today!
Monarch Private Capital knows all the Tax Credit Opportunities for You and Your Bank

If you’re a CFO looking to lower your bank’s effective tax rate, a CRA officer looking to improve your bank’s CRA rating, or a wealth manager looking to reduce your clients’ tax liabilities, you’ll want to connect with GBA Strategic Partner Monarch Private Capital (MPC) soon, because there are significant benefits in understanding how tax credits can create those opportunities before filing deadlines this year. A tax credit is more valuable than a tax deduction. Rather than reducing one’s taxable income, a credit enables the taxpayer to reduce its tax liability, dollar-for-dollar (see comparison table at right). Today in Georgia, there are a wide variety of tax credits available that all positively impact our communities. Click here to see some of the key benefits for banks that buy Federal credits. MPC has a history and reputation of underwriting their tax credits with a thorough and conservative approach. No investors have ever suffered a recapture loss from any of MPC’s credits. To learn more, please contact MPC’s Director of Public Policy & Business Development John Carson, 678.304.6499.

Free Commercial Loan Prospecting Webinar - April 24 at 11 a.m.

All GBA members and their employees are invited to participate in the upcoming "Take Your Commercial Loan Prospecting to the Next Level" webinar from GBA partner S&P Global Market Intelligence. The April 24 session will cover S&P’s unique tool for powerful customer prospecting and smarter commercial lending. They’ve gathered loan origination and property data for 25+ million CRE properties and combined that with over 16 million business listings to provide key contacts and principals. The platform provides snapshots of your best opportunities and connects you with key client decision makers. The platform now also allows you to target C&I liens of specific creditors with the addition of UCC filings. Click here to learn more about S&P’s commercial prospecting tools. The webinar is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST. Click here to see more learning objectives, and click here to register for the webinar today!

ABA Online Training Courses
Building a Solid Foundation with the Basics

Check out these four courses that are offered in April and May. These ABA-facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.

How to Take your Bank's Performance to Superior Heights

ABA’s facilitated Analyzing Bank Performance course is an overview of tools and techniques to analyze and improve a bank’s financial performance. Participants observe the effects of certain kinds of risk on a bank’s financial track record and the correlation between risk optimization and superior financial performance. GBA members get a discounted rate, and you don't have to be an ABA member to register. Read more about the learning objectives here. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.

Recruit, Retain and Develop the Best Bankers with GBA Career Solutions

GBA Job Bank - GBA will post open positions, free of charge, for GBA members. See the open positions in Georgia here. We will also post professional summaries for bank-job seekers on our Bankers Available page. To make the process easy and answer any questions, we've developed this
Q & A. Please contact Katina Prokos,, 404.420.2021.
GBA Strategic Partner BankTalentHQ - The central feature of BankTalentHQ is its national bank-job board. Other key benefits include: resume search access, regional and national reach for your open positions, frequent special offers and custom sales/coaching programs. Visit BankTalentHQ to learn more. See the open positions in Georgia here, or search regionally or nationally here.
GBA’s Career Paths for Bankers™ - GBA’s Career Paths for Bankers™ is the most unique, organized and easy-to-use career development resource available for bankers and banks. GBA’s pioneering career development resource is unlike any other in the banking industry. Click here to start mapping your banking career today.
Why do people choose careers in banking? Whatever their talents, interests and educational background, there is a career in banking for them. Here are few good reasons to share with folks you know.
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...
First American Bank & Trust Co.
Planters and Citizens Bank
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.
Colony Bank
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.