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February 15, 2019


Advocacy in Action

Ag Disaster Relief Push Continues

We continue to fully support the leadership we’re seeing out of some key Georgians to speed up disaster relief for those in the areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Unfortunately, this week’s initial agreement to fund the government past Feb. 15 does not include this crucial funding. Georgia lawmakers are not pleased, as noted in this article. “To say I’m frustrated is an understatement,” said U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton. Georgia’s two U.S. Senators this week pressed for quick passage of a relief bill and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Farm Bureau President Gerald Long are delivering a petition to members of congress urging action. We supported that petition with an urgent advocacy alert Wednesday night asking all members to sign by the Thursday noon deadline. Read about more relief efforts here.

Update on SAFETY 21 Disaster Loan Program

We heard this week from GBA Ag Committee member Thomas Carter of the Georgia Development Authority (GDA) that the $55 million the General Assembly appropriated for the SAFETY 21 Program to help those affected by Hurricane Michael is fully committed and the Georgia Development Authority Board has suspended accepting applications. GDA is also overseeing the $20 million Forest Debris Management Program for the Forestry Commission, and those funds are fully committed with applications no longer being taken. You may have seen we reported in our Legislative Update last Friday that the Georgia House passed its version of the supplemental 2019 budget that contains an additional $10 million for the SAFETY 21 program. The Senate is considering the bill now and we hope to know more soon. If that money stays in the budget, it should be available soon after the Governor signs the bill. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

Legislators Almost a Third Through Session

Be watching for our weekly Legislative Update when the Legislators adjourn Friday, the 16th day of the 40-day session. The House and Senate banking committees met this week to consider legislation assigned to them. The Banking Department's housekeeping bill was reviewed by the House committee and we expect a vote soon. Senate appropriators are considering what's called the supplemental appropriations bill that contains the provision noted above adding $10 million in disaster loan relief to producers affected by Hurricane Michael. We have lots more we will be reporting about the busy session, so stay tuned. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Special Member Resource

Updated News about ADA Website Lawsuits and Accessibility Tips

It’s only February, but at least 14 lawsuits already have been filed this year against banks nationwide claiming their websites violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to an article in American Banker. We’re not aware of any recent cases or demand letters from attorneys about alleged violations at Georgia banks, but this has been an ongoing issue for all types of companies during the past few years. Read more about the issue and get updated guidelines to help you and your bank here.

South Georgia Community Bank Symposium March 6

Bring Directors and other Bankers to Unique, Localized Programming

GBA’s 2019 South Georgia Community Bank Symposium will take place at Valdosta State University March 6. The symposium program was designed specifically with south Georgia bankers in mind. We’ve handpicked speakers with knowledge in areas that are most important to you and your team - and the best part? We are bringing those speakers to your part of the state. This is the perfect opportunity for you to bring directors and others at your bank to listen to unique perspectives on localized banking and economic issues, as well as hear from the bankers of tomorrow. We don’t want you to miss out on this rare opportunity. Registration is only $159 per person. Click here to register. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions

Nominate a Fellow Banker or Volunteer Yourself to Join a Committee or Board

It is the time of year when GBA begins the process of working with its 22 standing committees and boards to make sure they are "staffed" to continue their work for the upcoming GBA year. Did you know that about 300 bankers volunteer each year to serve on a committee or board? These volunteers are the experts and leaders who help GBA and its members better prepare for the ever-changing political, regulatory and educational needs of today’s banking environment. Each committee provides excellent opportunities to exchange information and coordinate efforts as critical members of the community of professional bankers in Georgia. Committee members also provide assistance and direction to the GBA in our lobbying efforts, education needs assessment and planning, and in our role as the industry’s principal voice to the media and general public. And the personal connections bankers make when serving together toward a common goal can last a professional lifetime.
The deadline to submit nominations and to volunteer is Friday, March 29. Contact GBA’s Shan Haugabrook with questions at 404.420.2020.

Lists of Georgia Rural, Underserved Counties Released

Sixty-seven Georgia counties are classified as "rural" and 73 are "rural or underserved" on CFPB’s 2019 lists of counties that banks can use to determine exemptions from a number of CFPB rules including Ability-to-Repay, escrow, HOEPA and appraisal requirements. The CFPB has also updated its tool for helping bankers determine whether a property is in a rural or underserved area.

How Fortnite Video Game Poses Money Laundering Risk

More than 200 million people play the popular online game Fortnite, and those of us with younger kids know it’s become an obsession. Leave it to the bad guys to insert themselves into such a popular form of entertainment. Criminals are now using the in-game currency features as a conduit for money laundering. "An investigation by The Independent and the cyber security firm Sixgill uncovered that stolen credit cards (many of which are purchased on the dark web) are used to buy in-game currency for weapons, skins, dances and other trinkets used for the game through the official Fortnite store, then resold at a discount to unsuspecting players. The illicit funds from the stolen credit cards come out ‘clean’ and integrated back into the financial system. With most Fortnite players being under 18, these children are now unknowingly laundering money for criminal organizations," says an interesting article by Terri Luttrell of GBA Associate Member Abrigo, an enterprise risk management company.

Some Private Flood Insurance to Be Acceptable

Regulators this week issued a final rule that will allow banks to accept certain private flood insurance policies as well as National Flood Insurance Program Policies. The rule implements provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 that require acceptance of private policies. The final rule includes a streamlined compliance aid provision to assist institutions with evaluating policies by relying on written assurances from the insurer that a policy satisfies the criteria set out in the Biggert-Waters Act, the FDIC says. Get all the details here.

Banker Being Nominated to Farm Credit Board

President Trump has said he is nominating former California banker Rod Brown to become one of the three members of the Farm Credit Administration Board that oversees the Farm Credit System (FCS). Following his career in banking, Brown served several years as president and CEO of the California Bankers Association. "I’ve known Rod for many years and his experience as a community banker lending to the agriculture sector will be a great benefit to the Administration. I’m confident Rod’s thoughtful approach to issues will ensure taxpayers have proper oversight of the investment FCS extends in credit," said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. Brown’s nomination is expected to be sent to the Senate shortly for consideration. If confirmed, the term will run six years from Oct. 14, 2018.

HR Professionals Institute March 20-22

Attracting and Developing Future Bankers

Our HR Committee Chair Leigh Pharr, First Landmark Bank, division of National Bank of Commerce, will moderate a panel of bankers to discuss what they are doing in their communities to involve the next generation and attract talent. Topics will include teller/CSR mentor programs, leadership academies, micro-internships and more. Panelists will be Jessica Arthurton, Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville, Katie Mashburn, United Community Bank, Blairsville, and Ginny Schlosser, Ameris Bank, Jacksonville. This is one of the many great sessions on the agenda. The deadline to book a room at the GBA rate is Feb. 26, but rooms may sell out before then. Get details and access registration here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions, 404.420.2034.

Ops/Tech Conference - March 25-27

Pre-Conference Session Spotlight: Layered Security

Our Operations and Technology Conference includes some in-depth pre-conference bonus sessions. In one of the pre-conference sessions, Brendan McGowan, Chief Technical Officer with Safe Systems, will discuss the importance of information security through layering, which has been reinforced for decades in the community banking industry. McGowan will explore the layers most banks already have, the layers you should be considering, how they all protect you and how to think about your evolving cybersecurity posture. The cut-off for GBA’s rate at the King and Prince is Feb. 25, and rooms in the GBA block may sell out before that date. See the full details and schedule here, and access registration. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions, 404.420.2034.

Bank Security Conference - April 11-12, St. Simons

APB for Registrations to Georgia’s Premier Bank Security Event

We’re putting the finishing touches on the 2019 GBA Bank Security Conference lineup and will have a full agenda soon. Sessions will include best practices for robbery planning - before and after incidents, fraud prevention, active shooter training, synthetic identity fraud education, elder abuse prevention and two panels - natural disaster aftermath and roles and responsibilities of a security officer. Don’t miss out. The conference price is $395 for registrations received through March 29, and $445 for registrations after that date. Get all the details and register here.

Advanced Compliance School - May 5-9

National Expert Carl Pry Set to Lead Three Sessions

The faculty of the GBA Advanced Compliance School is packed with the best instructors you’ll find. For example, Carl Pry, a Senior Director of Treliant Risk Advisors, will teach three sessions: Managing CRA, Managing Fair Lending and Managing UDAAP. Pry has banking law, corporate finance and regulatory compliance experience in Fortune 500 institutions, regional banks and industry consulting firms. He’s written books and instructs for ABA and other national bank education programs, so we’re honored he’ll be part of our our school's faculty. Any compliance officers who have completed basic compliance training are a good fit for the GBA Advanced Compliance School. Get details and registration information here.

2019 Georgia Banking School - May 5-9

The Best Career Springboard Available

Attending the Georgia Banking School has been a privilege and career springboard for bankers for almost 60 years. Many of the top executives of Georgia banks are graduates of the school. There’s no doubt about it that going through the school is the cornerstone of a long, successful banking career. Now’s the time to register yourself or to encourage a strong, emerging career banker at your institution to attend. Take a look at the school brochure to see what all the fuss is about. The application deadline is April 19. Applications submitted through March 29 are guaranteed a hotel room. Applications submitted after March 29 are welcome, but you may need to arrange for your own lodging at that point. Applicants may enroll online here.

Save Big on Home Supplies with GBA Strategic Partner Office Depot

We often tell you about all the steep discounts and bargains your bank can take advantage of for business and office supply purchases through our partnership with Office Depot, but it sure would be nice to catch a break on the cost of things you need at home too. GBA would like to remind you that our purchasing program with Office Depot is available for all GBA member employees for personal purchases as well. Your bank does not have to be participating in the GBA program for you to save money shopping for your home and family. There's no cost to sign up, and when you make a purchase you are directly supporting GBA and the banking industry. With questions about the program, please contact Office Depot’s Isaac Mares or GBA’s Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.
  • Click here to sign up for an account online and start shopping today
  • Download the printable discount card for use at any Office Depot retail location.
Click here to see more GBA member benefits available on office and break room supplies.

Rural Development and Lending Conference

Ag Commissioner Gary Black among Experts to Speak

The GBA Agriculture Committee has finalized its agenda for the 2019 Rural Development and Lending Conference May 16-17 at The King and Prince Hotel on St. Simons. If your bank is involved in agribusiness, be sure your lender or someone from your executive team is registered to attend. Click here to see the session highlights, including “Recovery and Resiliency: The State of Georgia’s Number-One Industry” with Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. Get more details and register here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions at 404.420.2034.

BankPAC Clay Shoot a FUNdraising Success

More than 70 Georgia bankers gathered last week at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta for a clay shoot tournament to raise money for GBA’s state BankPAC. This was the second-annual clay shoot hosted by the Leadership GBA Executive Committee, which also puts on a fundraising golf tournament each fall. We’re still tallying the fundraising total, and look forward to sharing the PAC proceeds. We want to recognize and thank the winning team from The Claxton Bank and these sponsors. See the photo album here. Thanks to everyone who supported the event! With questions, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

GBA 2019 Annual Meeting

What does Chess have to do with Leadership?

GBA’s Annual Meeting is generating buzz around our exciting destination - Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada. We hope you’re planning to join us June 23-26. And while the mountain views will be awe-inspiring, the educational sessions are at the heart of what makes the meeting a good value to attend. Don’t miss Monday’s closing session, "Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game," with Randy Gravitt from InteGREAT Leadership. A native Georgian and communicator by trade, Gravitt has taught life and leadership skills to audiences all over the world. Get more details on his principle-based session and the 2019 Annual Meeting here.

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, or click here to request an SNL Banker demo today. With any questions about SNL Banker, please contact Jason Routson, 678.528.8041.

Bank Marketers Peer Networking & Vendor Share - April 30

GBA’s Marketing Peer Group will meet April 30 at Middle Georgia State University, Macon. This group of bank marketers meets twice a year and last fall more than 35 marketers came together from all over the state to discuss trends in the marketing world and share ideas. This spring the program for the Marketing Peer Group will include an attendee favorite peer exchange session as well as a vendor information exchange session and industry relevant speakers. Register here and stay tuned for a detailed agenda. Registration is only $125 per person. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.

Limited space available!

Take a Deep Dive into BSA - All Levels to Benefit

GBA is proud to announce its newest program, The BSA Experience: A Deep Dive into the Bank Secrecy Act and Knowing How to Comply. GBA has partnered with Terri Sands, founder of Secura Risk Management, to create this one-of-a-kind, four-day program for BSA professionals. This experience is designed to take BSA officers, compliance officers, risk management officers, internal auditors and their teams through all topics that support an effective BSA program. The BSA Experience will be Aug. 20-23 at Middle Georgia State University, Macon. In order to provide this unique hands-on experience, registration is limited to 50 participants. Register now to secure your spot. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.

Upcoming Spring Seminars

Learn about Loan and New Account Documentation + ISO Roles

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.

April 29-May 1

American Mortgage Conference Added to GBA Schedule

Georgia bankers interested in the latest mortgage industry intel should attend this year’s American Mortgage Conference (AMC) April 29-May 1 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The conference brings together experts in the financial services industry, mortgage practitioners of every kind, policy makers and investors to discuss important issues in the mortgage field and to analyze what progress is being made in Washington. This year’s conference is a joint effort of more than 10 state bank associations, including GBA. Click here for more information and to register. Please contact Blair Jernigan at for more information.

Online Classes - February

Strengthening your Banking Skills

Check out these five courses coming up this month. These ABA-facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. See upcoming ABA online courses here.

Lead your Banking Team with Excellence - Supervisor Certificate

ABA’s Supervisor/Team Leader Certificate is designed to develop skills critical for becoming a well-rounded leader - whether with or without direct reports. Build communication skills for a variety of situations: including: collaboration, coaching, motivation, recognition, and corrective action. Gain insight into better managing employee relations and fostering open communication among staff members. Explore ways to interview, evaluate, and select employees while being mindful of legal considerations. Discover ways to manage the change process and communicate changes with stakeholders. Click here to find out more about the course inclusions and the curriculum. Register here. You do not have to be an ABA member. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.
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...
Colony Bank
United National Bank
The Peoples Bank
First National Bank of Griffin
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.