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March 1, 2019

Isakson and Perdue

Flurry of Activity for New Disaster Aid Package

Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and David Perdue this week introduced a bipartisan disaster relief package that has the support of the president. The bill would provide about $13.6 billion through a variety of conduits for victims of Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters nationwide during the past year. Gov. Brian Kemp and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black held a news conference this week discussing preliminary plans for disbursing funds once the federal disaster package is approved and funding mechanisms are put in place. The specific amount of relief for Georgia has yet to be defined, but it will likely come in the form of block grants and enhancements to Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP) funds. Get more info here.
Related: Commissioner Black will be speaking at GBA’s Rural Lending and Development Conference May 16-17. Details and registration here.

General Assembly Ups the Pace

Anyone who’s visited the state Capitol the past few days witnessed firsthand the feverish pace of activity as legislators scramble to get their legislation through committees and onto the floor for a vote. All this is leading up to what’s called Crossover Day coming up next Thursday. That’s the day legislation needs to have passed its body of origin (the House or Senate) to be considered by the other body. Three GBA priority bills saw action this week: the Banking Department’s Housekeeping bill, a bill requiring most bank agreements that are in writing to also have changes in writing, and a bill giving banks the ability to offer a shared deposit program to public depositors. These and other bills we’ve been tracking will be covered in more detail in the Legislative Update we’ll publish when the General Assembly adjourns for the week. With questions, contact GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Key FDIC Insurance Changes Explained

In September 2018, the minimum reserve ratio for the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) exceeded the 1.35 minimum level targeted by the agency in 2016 to comply with Dodd-Frank Act requirements. That triggered a couple of changes for banks of all sizes, says David Wiggins of GBA Associate Member Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP. For banks with assets greater than $10 billion, special surcharges to replenish the fund ended, and for small banks, a date for measuring total and individual bank assessment credits that will be provided for small banks was established. The FDIC estimates that the amount of total credits available is more than $764 million, he says. Wiggins outlines the details here.

FDIC Hosts De Novo Roundtable

It’s been a decade since the last traditional de novo bank opened in Georgia, and FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams told bankers attending our recent Economic and Legislative Forum the agency needs to do more to facilitate new entrants. This week FDIC’s Jim Watkins, the senior deputy director for supervision, and Mike Dean, regional director, hosted a roundtable to hear from stakeholders about ways the application process for deposit insurance can be more efficient and effective. State regulators, bank lawyers, de novo consultants, the CEO of a recent successful Alabama startup and state bankers association reps provided suggestions to improve the application process. GBA’s Joe Brannen joined three of the 19 faculty members who presented for a recent seven-part de novo bank accelerator series to share lessons learned…

GBA Member Profile
Slay’s Focus on Keeping Bankers Safe on Her Watch

Angela Slay’s mentor and predecessor as chief security officer at United Community Bank had a strong sense of purpose that stuck with Slay as she developed in her career. "She always stressed that our main goals as security officers should be to ensure that our bankers were safe ‘on our watch’ and that they see us as approachable and helpful and not as a ‘policing’ department," says Slay, who chairs GBA’s Security Committee. Read more about her philosophies, how she got into a career in banking 34 years ago and her favorite pastimes in this week’s GBA Member profile.

Banking Outlook Conference Attracts Big Crowd

We joined bankers and industry participants this week at the annual Banking Outlook Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta with programming support from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. The focus of the day was a deep dive into the economy, housing, big data, cybersecurity, AML/BSA and CECL. Our thanks to Fed president Raphael Bostic for the hospitality and to GSB-LSU board president Jody Hudgins, First Florida Integrity Bank, for a full day of learning, idea sharing and visiting with the top banking leaders in the southeast. Representatives from GBA Associate Members Safe Systems and Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund were among the presenting experts. The Georgia trustee on the GSB-LSU board is Ryan Earnest, Heritage First Bank, Rome, and the incoming school president is Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, Atlanta. GBA’s Joe Brannen also serves on the board. Here’s a message from the school’s director John Jordan on how you can Discover the Difference by enrolling in the 2019 class.

Georgia Banking School Spotlight
Meet New BankSim Facilitator Ron Best

Third-year students at the Georgia Banking School this year are in for a treat as we’ve got a new facilitator of the BankSim program, Ron Best. He’s been instructing in various banking schools for more than 20 years, his first job was sweeping floors in a South Georgia clothing factory and he and his wife built their own cabin just for kicks. Learn more about Best in this profile, and get yourself or an emerging bank executive enrolled in the Georgia Banking School to begin the journey of learning from one of the industry’s top educators. The school session this year is May 5-10 in Athens. Details here.

Senior Lending Officer Roundtables Wrap-up

This week, all four GBA Senior Lending Officer Roundtables met in Macon and Atlanta. Karl Nelson and Eric Nelson of KPN Consulting, a dynamic father-and-son duo, facilitated these roundtables where attendees learned, networked and shared ideas. Karl and Eric were joined by Randy Griffin from CSRA Business Lending, who provided an update on credit quality on the SBA lending front to all the roundtables. Neil Lecorgne of Abrigo provided the Atlanta groups with a presentation on an automated small business lending platform. The next series of Senior Lending Officer Roundtables will be May 20, 22-23 and June 4. If you are interested in joining a roundtable, please contact Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035.

Satisfaction with Banks Better than Fintech Providers of Small Business Merchant Services

Small businesses are more satisfied with merchant services provided by banks and bank joint ventures as opposed to nonbank fintech providers such as PayPal and Square. A J.D. Power survey showed banks scored the highest on a 1,000-point scale, and deeper customer relationships with banks is a driver for the higher levels of satisfaction. Read more here.

Effects of Elder Financial Exploitation Detailed by CFPB

Banks and other financial institutions reported $1.7 billion of elder fraud losses in 2017, says the CFPB in results of a review of Suspicious Activity Reports it recently completed. The number of SARs related to suspected elder financial exploitation quadrupled from 2013-2017. The types of frauds reported by banks were greatly varied, including scams, caregiver theft, account takeover attempts and identity thefts. In Georgia, banks and bankers are required to report suspected elder financial exploitation to law enforcement as well as their SAR-related responsibilities. See GBA-recommended resources to help banks prevent elder financial exploitation here.
Related: There’s a session about Elder Financial Exploitation Reporting at GBA’s Security Conference coming up April 11-12. Details and registration here.

Register now - it's less than one week away!
South Georgia Community Bank Symposium on March 6

GBA’s 2019 South Georgia Community Bank Symposium at Valdosta State University is coming up next Wednesday, March 6, and there’s still time to register your team. We've planned a day of unique programming for bankers and directors that you can view here. Don’t miss your chance to attend. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.
Register Here

We Want You as a Volunteer

The middle word in the name of our association is "Bankers," so that should say something about priorities around here. This is your association, and it’s powered by volunteers who provide insight, expertise and wisdom to ensure our advocacy, education and products and services are on target for the membership. Now’s the time for you to volunteer or nominate someone to join the ranks of more than 300 members serving on boards, committees and other GBA service activities. The period for nominations and volunteers runs through March 29. Contact GBA’s Shan Haugabrook with questions at 404.420.2020.

HR Professionals Institute March 20-22, Jekyll Island

The HR Professionals Institute kicks off in two and a half weeks. "Coming to this conference will be a great benefit to you and your bank teams! There are sessions touching on every area of HR, and the know-how and relationships you’ll gain are well-worth the investment," says our HR Committee Chair Leigh Pharr, First Landmark Bank, a division of National Bank of Commerce. There is still time to sign up to join Pharr and all your HR peers. Get details and access registration here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions, 404.420.2034.

Op/Tech Conference March 25-27, St. Simons

Spanning parts of three days and including 14 in-depth pre-conference and regular conference sessions, this year’s GBA Operations and Technology Conference covers the full scope of key skills and issues for bank operations and technology professionals. Ideas for profitability, project management skills, cybersecurity, lending tech, financial crimes trends, peer sharing, payments risk trends, regulatory issues, the dark web and much more are on the slate. The countdown is at three weeks and there is still time to register. Get details and access registration here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions, 404.420.2034.

Loan Documentation Seminar Set for April 4

To help your bank prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques, GBA is hosting a Loan Documentation Seminar on April 4 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. A faculty member of the Georgia Banking School with more than 35 years of industry experience, Mike Allen of Cadence Bank will address a range of documentation topics including real estate specifics and residential construction lending. Commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists alike will benefit from this seminar. Allen will cover the following: Identifying the borrower, identifying the collateral, evidencing the debt, attaching and perfecting the collateral, real estate specifics, residential construction lending and guarantees. Register here to secure your spot. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.

Bank Security Conference - April 11-12, St. Simons
Conference Session Spotlight: Robbery - Banks and ATMs

Here’s just one of the can’t-miss sessions at this year’s Bank Security Conference. Lynette Linn, special agent of Violent Crimes with the FBI, will discuss bank and ATM robberies and evolving best practices about what to do during and after a robbery. Her session will cover threats to ATMs, ATM vendor robberies, the Money Street Market Gang, ATM arsons, jackpotting, skimming and deposit scams. Joining Linn will be FBI agents David Ehsanipoor and Elizabeth Loveland. Need more incentive? That will be followed by a case study session from peer bankers detailing lessons learned from a headline-making robbery in 2018. Register by March 29 to get the discounted conference rate. Get all the details and register here. With questions about this conference, please contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.

Big Buzz Surrounding GBA’s Newest Program, The BSA Experience

Spots are filling up quickly for GBA’s brand new program, The BSA Experience: A Deep Dive into the Bank Secrecy Act and Knowing How to Comply. This four-day, one-of-a-kind program was created in partnership with Terri Sands of Secura Risk Management. The GBA has worked with Sands to hand-pick each speaker and design each session with a focus on networking, peer sharing and numerous hands-on learning opportunities. The BSA Experience will be Aug. 20-23 in Macon, so register now to secure your spot. Please contact GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035, with questions.

American Bankers Mutual Insurance Ltd. Declares $2 Million Distribution to Banks

American Bankers Mutual Insurance Ltd., the reinsurer for the D&O, Bond and Cyber insurance program endorsed by GBA, has declared $2 million in distributions to be shared by qualified banks nationwide insured through GBA Strategic Partner ABA Insurance Services, a Member of Great American Insurance Group. This is the 29th consecutive year that the industry’s leading professional liability and bond insurance provider has declared distributions to eligible banks, bringing the total to $86.3 million since the program’s inception. More than $2.5 million of that has been shared with banks in Georgia that purchase their D&O, bond, cyber and related insurance from the program and are current ABA members. Get more details here, or contact ABAIS’s Patricia Williams, 410.960.6878 to learn more.

Five GBA Solutions To Help Your Human Resources Team in 2019

As we head toward the start of our HR Professionals Institute scheduled March 20-22, we thought it would be a great time to spotlight the helpful products and services available for bank HR teams from the GBA and our growing roster of GBA Strategic Partners:
Learn more about all of these great resources here, and those five solutions are just the tip of the iceberg. See all of our Strategic Partners here. With questions, contact Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.

Online Classes - March Offerings
Bank Lines of Business and Building Customer Relationships

Check out these seven courses that start in March. 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.

Are You New to the Banking Industry? Get up to Speed Quickly

ABA’s Banking Basics Suite is 12 courses that provide a comprehensive introduction to the banking industry. GBA members get a discounted rate, and you don't have to be an ABA member to register. Ideal for those new to banking, completing this suite provides a deeper understanding of the changing world of financial services and the vital role that banks play in the economy. Concise, impactful lessons can be applied on the job immediately. See the 12 courses included here. Anyone who needs an introduction to banking, whether just starting a career or a more experienced professional from a different industry, can benefit from this course suite. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.

Tax Saver’s Credit Available for 401(k) Participants

Many of your employees may not realize the opportunity to claim a credit on their tax return if they fall below certain income levels and contributed to a 401(k) Plan or IRA during 2018 or plan to do so during 2019. The Saver’s Credit is a tax credit offered by the IRS to incentivize low and moderate income taxpayers to make retirement contributions to an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457(b) or any other IRS recognized retirement account. It is an actual tax credit and not merely a tax deduction. A tax credit gives you the entire dollar value back or subtracts the value from the taxes you owe, making it more valuable than just a tax deduction. Only 12 percent of eligible taxpayers actually claim this tax credit. Get more information about the Saver’s Credit here. Please encourage your employees who may benefit from this credit to ask their tax advisor for more details about this. Contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 or Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002 for more information on how GBA Retirement Services can improve your 401(k) Plan and help your plan participants!
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...
First Port City Bank
Colony Bank
Southwest Georgia 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.