May 24, 2019       

Developing Story
Senate Passes Disaster-Relief Bill

News broke Thursday afternoon that the U.S. Senate had passed a bill that would provide $3 billion in disaster relief for Hurricane Michael victims. It would also help Georgians who experienced tornado damage and provide aid for peach and blueberry farmers recovering from a late 2017 freeze, according to news reports. The House could approve the bill by voice vote if necessary, as most have returned home for the Memorial Day holiday. Details here. We'll keep you posted on specifics as we learn more.
Perdue and Scott

Perdue, Scott Keep up Push for CECL Delay

We appreciate the ongoing support by members of the Georgia congressional delegation for a delay in CECL implementation, which is set for Jan. 1 for publicly traded banks. As we reported last week, U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) signed onto a letter to regulators urging a "stop and study" approach and this week, he was an original cosponsor of a bill introduced that would take the same approach. U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-GA13) commented in a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee that "We need to put a stop, a stop right now on FASB's ruling in terms of CECL. This ruling is absolutely devastating to our smaller banks, without question, and our credit unions," addressing members of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and National Credit Union Administration. "We may need to pass legislation or something to put a stop to this." An article in American Banker outlines the ongoing efforts by members of both parties seeking a delay of the implementation. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Georgia Bankers Descend on LSU

A big contingent of Georgia bankers traveled to Baton Rouge, LA, this week to begin the rigorous two-week program sponsored by the Graduate School of Banking on the campus of Louisiana State University. GBA was one of the southeastern banking associations organizing the school 69 years ago. The Georgia Trustee serving on the school oversight board is Ryan Earnest, president and CEO, Heritage First Bank, Rome. On Wednesday, Earnest and GBA’s Alison Moreau and Joe Brannen traveled to the school for a reception honoring the students from Georgia. "I think back on my three years as a student and realize how significant the learning opportunities were for my bank and me. Graduating in 2008 as we were entering a tough time for the industry showed me how important not just the new knowledge was, but also I had made lasting friendships with other students I was able to stay in touch with and that helped most of us get through a rough patch in our careers. I’m so happy for the students now enrolled and feel good about the future of the industry with their commitment to do the hard work it takes to help move our industry forward," said Earnest. We will have a wrap-up article highlighting the Georgia students attending in a future E-Bulletin after the school ends.

GBA Member Profile

Working Hard and Attaining Success with Bill Walker

Mowing lawns as a teenager to save up for his first car taught Bill Walker, president and CEO of Legacy State Bank in Loganville, something very applicable to banking. "I learned to approach people and ask for their business…The more people I asked, the easier it got, and the better job I did, the easier it was to win the next door neighbor’s business," Walker says. His father’s requirement that he earn his own car money taught him a lot of lessons, he says, and he credits his parents for imparting the values of hard work, being kind to others, and always trying to have a positive attitude. "While there are many reasons for people attaining success, if you are willing to show up every day, work hard, treat others well, and stay focused on the positives, you are going to outshine most of your competition," he says. He discusses his career journey, amazement at the niche businesses in his community, GBA’s role as a resource for him over the years and more in this week’s GBA Member Profile.

Fed Rate Watch

Bostic Puts Equal Weighting on Rate Cut or Increase

We’ve watched with interest how Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic has characterized the interest-rate environment this year. This week, he said he feels economic conditions and current rate level are in a good place. "If you ask me how the scales are, I don’t feel like for me they are tilted more to the cut than to the hike,’’ Bostic said Monday in a Bloomberg Television interview "I think we are pretty much in balance.’’ Read more here and access a video clip of an interview he did.

Risks Worth Watching Noted by OCC Report

The OCC’s Semiannual Risk Perspective report says overall the financial system is in good health, and that means it prime time to keep a close eye on several general risks to ensure long-term stability. Because of the length of the current good economic cycle, the OCC says it is seeing easing of underwriting standards in some areas related to competitive challenges that bear watching closely. And rate risk is a concern on the deposit side as well. Other, more broad risks include managing technology changes and upgrades as well as cyberthreats. Read the report here.

GBA Joins Peers Urging Cannabis Action in Senate

This week we signed on to a letter with 50 other state bankers associations urging the Senate to hold hearings about legislative solutions to help banks serve legal cannabis-related businesses. Despite legal status for certain medical use and soon-to-be-defined legal growing and production businesses in Georgia, federal law still prevents banks from safely banking cannabis-related businesses. The letter and associations don’t take a position on the legalization of marijuana, rather we’re focused on the narrow issue of the need for the ability bank legal businesses in a safe, compliant manner. Read the letter here. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Overview of Rural Lending and Development Conference

Our annual conference for bankers serving rural markets wrapped up May 17, and attendees got a big dose of timely, technical detail about a variety of key trends affecting their banks and customers. The program was heavy on ag economic trends, specific outlooks for certain crop types and common problems and solutions for bankers outside Georgia’s metro markets. Get details of the sessions and speakers here. Agriculture Committee chair Todd Harrell, United National Bank, Cairo, and Vice Chair Danny Minick, The Citizens Bank of Americus, led the conference, and thanks to the entire committee for putting together such a strong program. We also salute our sponsors and exhibitors who contributed to the success of the conference. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.

HMDA, Small Business Data on Updated CFPB Rulemaking Agenda

The CFPB has updated its rulemaking agenda and a few items stand out. In December, the bureau expects to issue a proposed HMDA rule related to public disclosure of data. And, it says in January it will resume pre-rulemaking activities about how to collect data on small business lending, which is required by the Dodd-Frank Act. And, in November, it will begin pre-rulemaking activities for implementing a requirement in the S. 2155 regulatory reform law to exempt certain creditors with assets of $10 billion or less from Dodd-Frank Act mortgage escrow requirements. Access the rulemaking agenda here.


It’s Time for Data Submission for Comp. & Benefits Survey

All components of the 2019 GBA Compensation and Benefits Survey are open and we encourage your bank to submit data to help produce a deep and thorough resource. The deadline for all data submissions is June 28. Here are some of the highlights and benefits of participating.
  • Pre-Survey Video - tips and instructions for participation - link available on the survey website
  • Results available for budgeting season around Sept. 1, 2019
  • User support available anytime from Matthews, Young - Management Consulting
  • Discounted rate for results reports of $150 ($500 for those who don’t provide data).
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.

Key Cybersecurity Issues Called out

GBA Associate Member CoNetrix on Aug. 24 released its inaugural report, "The State of Cybersecurity in the Financial Institution Industry." More than 240 cybersecurity professionals working in the industry were surveyed for the report. Click here to read just some of the trends outlined in the report. To see the full analysis, download the free report at, and click here to access an infographic on cybersecurity budgeting. With questions, contact Kellie Hill, 800.356.6568.

Compliance Resource
GBA Guide to Bank Record Retention Now Available

Featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, 5th Edition, by Carl Pry
GBA is pleased to offer members the newest edition of its Guide to Bank Record Retention, featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, 5th Edition, by Carl Pry. This guide is intended to support the development of a complete and understandable record retention program at your bank. Record retention policies are required by regulators and important for your customers if their bank records are ever subpoenaed. Additionally, we have included an excerpt from the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance's Final Rulemaking, adopted June 27, 2018, which contains changes to Chapter 80-10-1, Georgia’s state-specific retention requirements. We hope that you will find this to be a valuable resource to help your bank. The new guides are priced at $99 + tax, s/h. To place an order, please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen,

The Impact of Wire Fraud Loss: By the Numbers from Strategic Partner ABA Insurance

A recently released infographic from GBA Strategic Partner ABA Insurance Services summarizes recent wire transfer fraud statistics and trends such as: What is the Anatomy of wire fraud? Where is it being reported? What is the cost? And, what's a bank's best defense? Take a look at the infographic here and contact Pat Williams at 410.960.6878 or to learn more about how ABA insurance can help indemnify banks against losses resulting from wire transfer fraud.

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. Committed to excellence, DDI continues to focus on improving their products, education and consulting services in all areas of vehicle registration. 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. The four biggest benefits to working with DDI include:
  • Simplified Titling Process
  • Reduction of Fraud & Errors
  • Elimination of Space-Wasting Paper Storage
  • A Responsive Customer Support Team.
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.

Program Highlight
Top Leadership Coach Speaking to Annual Meeting

We’re getting excited about the program at this year’s Annual Meeting coming up in late June. One of the featured speakers is Randy Gravitt. He’s taught life and leadership skills to hundreds of audiences in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, presenting and consulting to organizations such as Chick-fil-A Inc, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Kroger Pharmacy and the Winshape Foundation. Get a preview of his approach here. Our Annual Meeting is June 23-26 at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada. Get all the details here. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

Special thanks to Summit-level sponsor:

Florida Trust and Wealth Management School - July 14-19, Sarasota

Trust and wealth management professionals should consider attending the 60th-annual Florida Trust and Wealth Management School July 14-19 at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. This nationally renowned three-year program encompasses the world of trust and wealth management banking, including the establishment, structure, purpose and general activities of a typical trust and wealth management department. The curriculum is designed to give students a well-rounded and practical understanding of the trust and wealth management industry. The school covers administration of estates and trusts and offers specialized topics on pertinent issues affecting the trust and wealth management industry. In partnership with the Florida Bankers Association, GBA members may attend at the FBA member rate. Click here for more information and to register online using the code "FTS19" to receive the discounted rate. For reservations at the Ritz-Carlton, please call 941.309.2000 and be sure to mention the Florida Bankers Association program to receive the discounted room rate of $165. The cut-off date for room reservations is June 17 or until the room block has sold out. With questions, please contact Peter Brokaw, 850.701.3515.

Finding and Keeping Good People - Hot Topic at Summer Leadership Conference

When we ask GBA bankers what’s on top of their worry list, their responses frequently includes "finding and keeping good people." To address this issue, we’re excited to host a session titled Talent Recruitment and Retention (AKA Finding and Keeping the Best People) at GBA’s Leadership Conference, July 22-25 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Darron Burnette, division CEO for Synovus in the South Georgia and North Florida markets, is passionate about leadership, getting people "in the right seats on the bus," and working to ensure that team members get and stay engaged so they will share their talents with their banks for many years. Burnette says, "Recruiting and retaining key talent is critical to building the best teams - it’s all about encouragement, engagement and empowerment." In his session, he will discuss strategies to find and keep those star performers. Burnette knows a thing or two about the needs of our Leadership GBA bankers. He is past president of Leadership GBA and he serves as volunteer director of GBA’s Georgia Banking School. Be sure one of your bank’s emerging leaders is signed up to attend the Leadership Conference; click here for all the details. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

Summer Online Classes - Customize a Schedule that Fits your Professional Goals

ABA facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. Any employee of a GBA member bank can participate at the member rate. Your bank does not have to be an ABA member. There are fourteen upcoming courses scheduled in June and July. For more information, contact Shan Haugabrook, 404.420.2020. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings.

How to Master the Fundamentals of Banking

ABA's Bank Teller Certificate addresses the expanding role of bank tellers today by combining core cash handling courses with enhanced product knowledge and interpersonal skill development. At the center point of the curriculum is Teller Basics, a series of courses that teach critical technical skills of the teller role such as cashing checks, processing deposits and withdrawals, accepting payments, and preparing daily settlements of teller cash and proof transactions. ​​​​​ GBA members get a discounted rate, and you don't have to be an ABA member to register. Click here to see the course inclusions. 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...
Flint Community Bank
First National Bank
OneSouth Bank
Newton Federal Bank
Pinnacle Bank
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company
Legacy State Bank
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.