May 10, 2019    

Georgia Bankers Carry Advocacy to D.C.

Members of GBA’s Board of Directors, Public Affairs Committee, BankPAC Board and past chairmen descended on Washington, D.C., for our annual advocacy visit with the Georgia Congressional delegation and regulatory agencies. "This was an encouraging visit on many fronts," said GBA Chairman John Hall, president and CEO, American Pride Bank. "The tone during regulatory briefings was one of cooperation and genuine interest in banker feedback, and those we met with from our Congressional delegation welcomed our visits to help educate them about the issues important to Georgia’s banks and our customers." We met jointly with Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, who both voiced their support for banking in Georgia and were upbeat about a variety of policy issues helping the economy. Perdue was frustrated by the inability of Congress to pass a disaster aid bill to help Georgia farmers, but vowed to continue pushing for the legislation. "I’m not giving up," he said. "I know what you’ve done to bend over backward to help farmers." Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA11) joined us for a luncheon, and he gave us an update on his efforts to usher through Congress a bipartisan amendment to a bill that would increase CTR thresholds, one of our priorities for BSA/AML reform. Our team split up Wednesday afternoon to cover visits on the House side of the hill. We had groups that met with Reps. Rick Allen (R-GA12), Doug Collins (R-GA9), Buddy Carter (R-GA1), Drew Ferguson (R-GA3), Rob Woodall (R-GA7), Austin Scott (R-GA8) and Jody Hice (R-GA10), and one group met with a representative in Rep. Sanford Bishop’s (D-GA2) office. Read more about our trip and what participants thought here. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or David Oliver, 404.420.2036.

A Look at Georgia’s First Approved Bank Charter in 11 Years

We shared the news last week about the state and FDIC approval of Tandem Bank’s charter application. This week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle has an in-depth Q&A with Charles DeWitt, the bank’s CEO. The interview outlines the bank’s goal for raising capital, progress already made toward the goal, the types of investors in the bank, some detail about its business strategy and the genesis of the bank’s name. Read the article here.

GBA Member Profile
Taco Bell Tales and Lessons Learned over 36 Years in Banking with Charles Sweat

Throughout his 36 years in banking, Charles Sweat, president and CEO of First Peoples Bank in Pine Mountain, has been involved with six banking organizations that have had 17 different names. First Peoples Bank, however, has had the same name for the past 30 years. "My personal goal is to retire with the bank maintaining its local independence (and name)," he said. Recently elected as the Group 4 representative on GBA’s Board of Directors, Sweat got his first job during high school at a Taco Bell when the uniforms were still 100% polyester in milk-chocolate brown and topped off with a pointed paper hat. His regional manager would do surprise visits to inspect the store, armed with a stopwatch and set of scales to time the entire process and to weigh each ingredient used by taking apart a fully loaded taco or burrito. "While my 16-year-old brain thought only of the annoyance of these visits, they were the perfect example of setting consistent expectations and measuring results (both for the benefit of the customer and for the business)," he said. "To this day, I can still stuff, fold and present a burrito in less than 30 seconds." Sweat shares about his career journey, involvement in GBA’s CEO roundtables, love of baseball and more in this week’s GBA Member Profile.
Loudermilk and Scott

Loudermilk, Scott among Those Urging CECL Delay

Georgia’s representatives on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, Barry Loudermilk (R-GA11) and David Scott (D-GA13) are among a bipartisan group of legislators urging the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to delay CECL implementation until a thorough study of possible economic impacts can be done. A letter from the group this week to the SEC outlines the concerns and cites industry-provided data that shows, "Credit loss allowances may be over five times the amount of today’s incurred loss estimates. We are concerned that banks may cut product lines and reduce lending, particularly to low- and moderate-income borrowers who are most in need of greater access to capital. This will raise costs of essential products such as the 30-year mortgage and small business loans." Read the letter here.

Scenes from the 2019 Georgia Banking School and GBA Advanced Compliance School

More than 150 students and faculty are together in Athens this week for the 2019 session of Georgia Banking School and the GBA Advanced Compliance School. Here are some snapshots of the schools in action. We will have a full wrap-up report in next week's e-Bulletin, and check social media in the coming days for the photo album.

Get in on Deepest Compensation & Benefits Survey for Georgia

We invite all member banks to provide data to produce the most thorough overview of the Georgia bank compensation and benefits environment. All components of the 2019 GBA Compensation and Benefits Survey are open. The deadline for all data submissions is June 28. Click here to learn more about the highlights and benefits of participating. To access the survey website and participate, click here. The password to access the site is GBA#2019. With questions and details about accessing the survey, contact David Oliver, / 404.420.2036, or Randy McGraw at Matthews, Young - Management Consulting, / 919.644.6962.

No-Cost Resource Available
How Georgia Banks Shaped New Training to Prevent Elder Financial Exploitation

Member banks in Georgia helped fine-tune a new no-cost, easy-to-use training tool now available to help protect older customers. Georgia was one of 11 states to participate in a pilot for the AARP Bank Safe program, and 22 member banks tested the online tool for training frontline employees last year. Their input and feedback helped finalize the content. The training uses state-of-the art online videos, graphics, animations and game-theory-based quizzes to enhance learning. Access and sign up to use the Bank Safe Program here. This is one of a number of resources GBA recommends to help banks protect their customers. See other resources here. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.

Last Call!
Let us Know if You’ve got a 50-Year Banker to Recognize

Each year at our Annual Meeting we celebrate bankers who have served 50 years in the industry. The deadline is May 17 to let us know about any special bankers we need to recognize at this year’s meeting. We’ve already heard from several members, so help us add to the growing list. 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 any scheduled recognition events planned by your bank.
Please contact Kathy Friestad at 404.420.2024 with questions.

Crime and Punishment
Robber Pleads Guilty to Middle-Georgia Spree

Clifford Terrell of Barnesville has admitted to robbing three banks in middle-Georgia in 2017. He robbed a BB&T in Forsyth, a CB&T in Columbus and State Bank & Trust in Macon during September 2017. In each robbery, he passed a note and demanded $2,500 in cash. Sentencing is set for Aug. 7. More details here.

Chick-fil-A Foundation Executive to Share Nuggets of Wisdom on Leadership and Service

We hope that one of your bank’s emerging leaders is planning to come to GBA’s 2019 Leadership Conference July 22-25 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. A professional and personal highlight of the year for many Georgia bankers, the Leadership Conference offers an excellent variety of in-depth educational sessions, access to 10 associate member exhibitors, built-in informal networking time and a beautiful oceanside setting. Rodney Bullard, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Chick-fil-A, Inc. and executive director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation will be the closing speaker this summer. Bullard will draw on his educational, military, and philanthropic background to fire up attendees. He will talk about his leadership strategy, core beliefs and how a life of service is vital to everyone’s professional and personal growth and success. Bullard is an alumnus of the Air Force Academy, Duke Law School, the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business and Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. Read more about his session here, or click here to register for the conference online, see the conference agenda and hotel information. The GBA Leadership Roundtable package includes a Leadership Conference registration, but roundtable participants should still register so we’ll know to expect you. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

GBA’s Women in Banking Conference Coming This Fall

Calling all Georgia female bankers and associate members! Be sure you’ve got Nov. 17-19 on your calendar for GBA’s 2019 Women in Banking Conference. We are headed back to the lovely Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Islands in Buford for this annual meeting of women bankers from around our great state. Originally scheduled to be held in August at Chateau Elan in Braselton, our dates and location have changed due to some exciting renovations at Chateau Elan over our summer dates. The Women in Banking Committee has some excellent programming planned already, and we invite GBA bankers and associate members to participate in this unique and lively gathering planned exclusively for this demographic. Watch upcoming bulletins for details on sessions and other developments. Online registration is open - click here to save your spot and to access hotel information. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and tend to go quickly; click here to check out this year’s options. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.
Rhodes McLanahan at the 2018 conference.

Registration Open for President/CEO, Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conferences!

Plans are underway for GBA’s 2019 educational trifecta: the annual President/CEO, Bank Accountant and Bank Counsel Conferences. Held concurrently Oct. 6-8 at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee, this is GBA’s premier in-state event for top-level executive education, industry intelligence briefings and peer networking. If you are a bank President/CEO, in-house or outside bank counsel or bank accountant, you are encouraged to come. Registrants from all three conferences may attend the President/CEO general sessions, and the Bank Accountant and Bank Counsel attendees hold breakout sessions with content tailored for their needs. The registration package price of $679 includes the Sunday welcome reception and dinner, all educational sessions and materials, Monday reception, Monday and Tuesday breakfasts and morning breaks. The Spouse/Guest registration includes the three evening events and a Spouse/Guest breakfast and program. We’ll also have a golf outing and clay shoot on Monday afternoon for an additional price. GBA’s discounted room rate is $199. Click here to register online and to see hotel reservation details. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

Limited Space Available!
Take a Deep Dive into BSA - All Levels to Benefit

GBA is proud to announce its new 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.

With Discover® Debit, Your Bank Will Develop a More Profitable Debit Program

The Discover Debit program makes your brand stand out above the rest. The list of consumer and business card benefits available through Discover’s program are simply unmatched. Here are just a few of the valuable options your bank can choose from:
  • Lowest Purchase Price Guarantee - Consumer
  • Identity Theft Defense - Consumer
  • Zero Liability - Consumer
  • Human Resources Consultant - Business
  • Attorney on Call - Business.
Discover Debit is also the only program that delivers superior economics, simplified rules, fee transparency and unmatched program flexibility. Discover Debit is an offering of the PULSE Network, a Discover Company. With questions, contact Mark Reda, 813.854.2210.

Check out this Helpful Guide for Ordering Commercial Appraisals from GBA Partner Dart Appraisal

Our Strategic Partner Dart Appraisal knows that appraisal management is not one-size-fits-all. And, Dart is committed to meeting every one of their client’s unique needs. Dart can customize solutions and its dedicated teams are continually looking for ways to improve their customer service every step of the way. Those are just a couple of the reasons why we believe they’re a great choice to be your bank’s answer for appraisal management. Contact Dart’s Michael Dresden, 866.799.7488, for more info.

Spring Line-up of Online Training Features Lots of Lending

Check out these 11 facilitated ABA online courses coming up in May and June. Facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. These courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. Any employee of a GBA member bank can participate at the member rate. Your bank does not have to be an ABA member. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access. Please register two weeks in advance to secure your space for class. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020.

ABA Certificates for High-Performance Learning

ABA's Certificate Programs build the skills necessary for career advancement. Through a prescribed course of study, certificates provide practical, tailored knowledge specific to a job role in the bank. Programs are continually reevaluated and refined to meet current needs and changes in the industry. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​GBA members get a discounted rate, and you don't have to be an ABA member to register. Click here to see all of the certificate programs offered. 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.
Citizens Community Bank
The Citizens National Bank of Quitman
Ameris Bank
Renasant Bank's Baxley Branch
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.