Dec. 6, 2019


Mullis Named Community Banker of the Year

What an honor this week for Morris Bank President and CEO Spence Mullis, who is GBA’s Chairman-Elect. "For helping spur the revival of Dublin's core commercial district, and for successfully executing a growth strategy in a primarily rural area, Mullis is being honored as American Banker's Community Banker of the Year," the article announcing the recognition said. The article chronicles how Mullis led the bank through the recession, signed off on some key loans instrumental in re-development of downtown Dublin, defined a distinct culture at the bank and shepherded the growth of the bank’s assets from $115 million in 2005 to $980 million today. Get more details here.
Chandler and Isakson

Isakson Says Farewell / Loeffler Appointed to Fill Unexpired Term

For those who have known Sen. Johnny Isakson throughout his career, his farewell speech to his Senate colleagues came as no surprise. He focused on getting the job done regardless of who got the credit. But most of his comments were about his definition of people: friends and future friends. He spoke often of bipartisanship and said it is a state of mind…a state of being and the best way to solve issues, large and small. Senator after Senator from both sides of the aisle took to the well praising Sen. Isakson for his service. GBA’s SVP-Government Relations Elizabeth Chandler coincidentally was in Washington, D.C., working on some advocacy priorities and visited with Sen. Isakson at a reception later that evening. "I was glad to be able to tell Sen. Isakson in person how much he’s meant to our state, nation and industry," said Chandler. Sen. Isakson will serve through the end of the year when his resignation is effective. Gov. Brian Kemp has appointed Kelly Loeffler to serve until next November’s statewide elections. Read about Loeffler and comments from Chandler here.

FDIC Appeals and Dispute Resolution Listening Session Held

As part of the FDIC’s Trust through Transparency initiative, GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler participated this week in a listening session on their appeals and dispute resolution processes. The session was led by Anthony Lowe, Director, Office of the Ombudsman, who wanted candid feedback from the group on exam experiences, dispute resolution issues and an overview of the official appeals process via the Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC). This session was one of eight being conducted throughout the country by the Ombudsman’s office and will culminate in a report to FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams early next year. If you are interested in sharing your feedback in these areas, have a question about the appeals process or need a confidential, neutral contact at the FDIC, the Atlanta regional ombudsman is Charmion Haley at 678.916.2188 and she welcomes your reaching out.

Credit Conference Draws Capacity Crowd

Credit and lending officers from around the state are gathered this week at the GBA Credit Conference. Here are some scenes from Thursday’s meetings. Look for details and more photos in next week’s issue.

401(k) Education Sessions Benefit Trust Members

We were pleased to host more than 50 human resources professionals at our 401(k) sessions in Macon and Atlanta this week. GBA Retirement Services provides a free annual training seminar for HR representatives from banks with retirement plans in the GBA Master Trust and for bankers who may be interested in learning more about our program. This year, our in-house counsel Edie Lindsay outlined fiduciary duties of plan sponsors, testing, year-end data requirements, legal updates and more. Participants also heard a review of administrative procedures for 2020 and other functions available on the new website. Representatives from Unified Trust Company were onsite to review the upgraded website features that will be available for plan participants next year. If you have any questions about GBA Retirement Services and how we can help improve your plan administration, overall plan cost, and participant outcomes, please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025.

New Mortgage Rule about Borrower Tax Record Use and Disclosure

A new law primarily aimed at modernizing IRS technology platforms also contains a key new compliance provision that mortgage lenders need to know about. The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 (the "Act") was signed into law on July 1, 2019. Section 2202 of the Act amends 26 U.S.C. § 6103(c) by prohibiting lenders from using borrower tax information for any purpose other than the express purpose for which the borrower grants consent and prohibits disclosure of the tax information to any other persons without the express consent of the borrower. For lenders, these new rules mean that simply having a signed IRS form 4506-T from a borrower will no longer be legally sufficient, says GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower of Fenimore, Kay, Harrison and Ford. He’s provided a summary of the rule for members, suggested approaches for compliance and mentions a helpful model disclosure from the Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization ("MISMO") that was cited by Fannie Mae in a November Selling and Service Notice. Read the overview here.

Modest Expansion in Region Noted by Fed

The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book report for the Southeast Region noted a positive outlook long term, with modest economic expansion since the last reporting period. The retail, automotive, residential real estate and manufacturing sectors showed improvements. Banking contacts reported overall healthy financial conditions, with loans growing but at a slightly slower pace. Farming conditions were mixed, as several parts of the Sixth District suffered from droughts. Read more here.

Member Profile
Mike Allen talks Giving Back to the Industry, Dairy Farm Memories and NASCAR

Cadence Bank Executive Vice President and Director of Real Estate Credit Risk Mike Allen draws on his more than 40 years of industry experience as a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School and president-elect of the Board of Directors of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. On top of that, he is an instructor for several annual GBA lending seminars, including Analyzing Personal Cash Flow scheduled for Jan. 29 and Loan Documentation coming up on March 25. How does he do it all? "I simply love to teach and share my experiences with other bankers. I like to think that I am giving back to the industry by helping others learn and develop their skills," he said. The At Large representative on the GBA Credit Committee is already well-known in the Georgia banking industry, but we learned a few fun facts you may not know in our interview with Allen for the latest GBA member profile.

Speak up for Community Bank Sentiment Index

We encourage members to take part in the CSBS Community Bank Sentiment Index this quarter to help gauge the economic outlook for the nation’s community banks. Georgia Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler is the current chair-elect of CSBS, so let’s rally to give him lots of home-state support for this initiative. The index is calculated based on community banker expectations in seven key areas: Business conditions, Monetary policy, Regulatory burden, Capital expenditures, Operations expansion, Profitability and Franchise value. The data collection for this quarter began Dec. 2. Any bankers interested in participating in this five-minute survey should email

Annual Legislative and Economic Forum Kicks Off The New Year – Register Now!

Is your holiday calendar filling up? We know it’s hard to see past this busy season, but the new year will be here before we know it. Make sure your 2020 schedule includes GBA’s Annual Legislative & Economic Forum and Reception on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m. followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Click here for registration and hotel information. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

Rules and Regulations Roundup

  • FDIC to Return Assessment Credits After Four Quarters – FDIC will rebate outstanding assessment credits after they have been applied against premiums for four quarters—instead of waiting for eight quarters.

  • CFPB Remittance Rule Proposal – Would increase the rule’s normal-course-of-business safe harbor threshold from 100 remittance transfers to 500 remittance transfers annually and allow certain banks and credit unions to continue to provide estimates of fees and exchange rates under certain conditions.

  • Joint Agency Statement on Use of Alternative Data for Credit Underwriting – Recognizes that data not typically found in consumers' credit reports or customarily provided by consumers when applying for credit may be helpful in evaluating creditworthiness and encourages appropriate compliance controls.

IRS Announces Cost of Living Adjustments for 2020

The IRS recently announced the Cost of Living Adjustments for 2020, including retirement plan limit updates. The maximum annual participant deferral limit for a 401(k) plan has increased from $19,000 to $19,500. The catch-up contribution limit for participants over age 50 increased from $6,000 to $6,500. Click here to see other retirement plan limits for 2020. We want to help you and your team members prepare for a financially stable retirement. GBA Retirement Services, Inc., an affiliate of Georgia Bankers Association, is available to help you review your existing retirement plan. Click here to see some of the many benefits of 401(k) plans offered.

Attention top management and department heads!
Make Room in Your Ledger for Professional Development

As you build your 2020 budget, be sure to invest in your bank team members by sending them to one or more of GBA’s professional development programs. To help you with your planning, here is a checklist of key programs. You can also access a printable 2020 calendar here. Visit or contact GBA staff for more information. With questions, email or call 404.522.1501, ext. 2.

Mark Your Calendars for 2020 GBA Roundtables

We have published the 2020 GBA Roundtable session dates that are facilitated for GBA by Elaine Demarest and Chrys Henderson of Demarest Strategy Group, Inc. All of the 2020 Roundtable dates in our Calendar of Events. The Demarest firm facilitates 11 different table groups for GBA, including five President / CEO Roundtables, three Finance / Operations Roundtables and three Leadership Roundtables. They continue to get high marks from participants for content, value and assisting quality networking among peers. Demarest has provided the linked Roundtable Master List as an easy reference for the year. She reminds Roundtable members to log your session dates into your 2020 calendars now, and to watch for session reminders during the year. The GBA staff is preparing your 2020 invoices for the current members of the Demarest-facilitated Roundtable groups. Please watch for those in the mail by Dec. 10. We hope to see you all back at the GBA Roundtables in the new year. If you are interested in joining one of these popular groups, please contact Kathy Friestad at 404.420.2024. There are a very limited number of seats available.

Streamline Vehicle Title & Lien Release Management with DDI Technology

The GBA has endorsed DDI Technology for more than 10 years because their Premier eTiltleLien® solution enables your bank’s loan operations team to improve reporting and manage exceptions within a simple, user-friendly application. DDI fosters partnerships with progressive and innovative businesses including federal, state and local governments by supplying them with the technologies to enable dealer and finance partners to provide the best service to their customers while saving time and money. Here are the four biggest benefits to working with DDI. For more details about DDI Technology or to join the more than 4,000 customers they have today, please contact Director of Sales Todd Phillips, 803.808.4937.

Calling All Clay Shoot Enthusiasts! Register for February BankPAC Tournament

Leadership GBA will host the third annual Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clay Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, at Old Hudson Plantation, Greensboro. Bankers, Associate Members, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant section members are welcome, and we encourage you to invite your legislators and directors to shoot a round of clays with you and your colleagues in the banking industry. Proceeds will go to the GBA State PAC. If you don’t shoot, we hope you’ll consider supporting the event as a contribution to the PAC. Click here for details.

Registration open!
IRA Merry-Go-Round | 2-Day Seminar, Feb. 11-12

The IRA Merry-Go-Round: IRA Basic and Advanced Issues two-day seminar will take place on Feb. 11-12, 2020, at Middle Georgia State University in Macon and Patrice Konarik, president of Sunwest Training Corp., will bring participants from beginning to advanced levels of IRA understanding. Each participant will receive the updated 275-page Sunwest Training IRA Training and Reference Manual, which is updated to reflect new regulations. This intensive two-day format will cover these topics. Registration is $250 per person, per day. To register, click here. With questions, please contact GBA's Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035.

2020 Annual Meeting Registration Opening Soon!

Winter weather doldrums got you down? Turn your thoughts to pink sand beaches, the sound of crashing waves and brightly colored homes dotted across the hillsides of Bermuda. That’s where GBA members will gather for the 2020 Annual Meeting, June 14-16, at the Fairmont Southampton. Registration will open soon, so watch your email for the coming announcement, along with an early travel checklist. To help you begin shaping your plans, here is a schedule snapshot and details about hotel reservations.

Skills-Specific Conferences Coming Up in 2020

The year isn't over yet, but one way you can get a strong start to 2020 is by signing up now for these skills-specific conferences:

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. With tools from SNL Banker, you can turn raw data into actionable intelligence for all of these needs. Click here to request an SNL Banker demo. With any questions about SNL Banker, please contact Jason Routson, 678.528.8041.

Upcoming Webinars on Lending, Compliance, Operations and More

There’s an exciting lineup of webinars coming up in the next couple of weeks. Here are some of the topics. Check the full calendar here for dates, times and more programs. With questions, contact GBA’s ShaKeya Snipes, 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...
Newton Federal Bank
First Bank of Dalton
Exchange Bank
Oconee State 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.