Nov. 15, 2019

Copeland, Brannen represent Members at Georgians First Commission Task Force Meeting

Our thanks to the Kemp administration for allowing GBA chairman Chuck Copeland, First National Bank of Griffin, and GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen to serve as members of the Access to Capital Task Force, which is part of the Governor’s Georgians First Commission. Trey Taylor, CEO, Taylor Insurance Services, Valdosta, chairs the Task Force and the commission is led by co-chairs Cade Joiner, owner, Shred X in Brookhaven, and James Whitley, founder and COO, Landmark Properties in Athens. The executive director is Scott Hilton.
The first meeting of the Task Force was held last week, and Task Force members heard a report from North Highland Consulting, an Atlanta-based worldwide consulting firm providing their services to the Commission. The initial report the consultant shared was designed to better understand the current environment in Georgia that supports and impedes access to capital for small businesses and to identify levers within the State’s control that could remove barriers to access to capital and improve small businesses’ ability to grow. Task Force participants were asked to provide feedback input to ensure accuracy of background data and possible solutions within the state’s control. Here are some highlights of the meeting.

Action Alert
Support Farm Credit Fairness Bill

Please touch base with your members of Congress to support the Enhancing Credit Opportunities in Rural America Act (H.R. 1872 and S. 1641). The bills would end taxation of interest earned from agricultural real estate loans, promoting greater access to credit for rural communities and reducing costs to borrowers. In addition, they would help bring greater parity between banks and the tax-advantaged Farm Credit System, making it easier for banks to support the farm sector through real estate loans. "Eighty percent of the agriculture real estate loans in Georgia are made by our community bank members. Exempting the interest earned on these loans from federal taxation would help level the playing field with Farm Credit and credit unions that are expanding into this area," said GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen. Take action here. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Perdue Announces Approval of Disaster Aid Block Grants

Late last week U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the approval of $800 million to farm producers in Georgia, Alabama and Florida who were affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence. Grant funding will cover losses of timber, cattle, poultry, as well as for necessary expenses related to losses of horticulture crops and present value losses associated with pecan production, according to the press release. While not confirmed by the USDA, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA2) said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Georgia share could be $347 million. The timing and application process for distributions has yet to be announced. Storm-aid disbursements through a separate program, WHIP+, began in mid-October with $5.5 million being paid out by month-end, according to the USDA. We’re keeping close tabs on this and will update you as more information is available. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Georgia Ranks 5th Nationally for SBA Loans
SBA Loans to Georgia Veterans and Women Increase

Lenders operating in Georgia produced $1.3 billion in SBA loans in fiscal year 2019. That ranks fifth in the nation, and it marks the eighth year in a row that lenders have helped Georgia small businesses with more than $1 billion dollars of capital in SBA lending. Also of note, loans to veteran-owned businesses in Georgia were up 54% and loans to women-owned businesses were up more than 10% statewide, said SBA’s Jeff Patterson, head of Supervisory Lender Relations / Economic Development, Georgia Division. And, SBA 504 loans in Georgia were up by $20 million. See the leading SBA lenders to Georgia businesses in various categories here. Nationally, more than 58,000 SBA loans were made in fiscal year 2019. For information about SBA programs, contact Patterson at 404.331.0126.

Member Profile
Journey from Munich to Teller to CEO with David Coxon

David Coxon says he set his sights on a career in banking back in 1974 when he began working as a teller for Columbus Bank & Trust. That kicked off what has become an almost 50-year career in banking. The CEO of Georgia Primary Bank credits his career to many mentors who took time and effort to develop him, a love of working with people and the satisfaction of seeing the success of the many businesses and families served by the banks for which he’s worked. It’s been quite a journey for someone who is a naturalized citizen. Coxon was born in Munich, Germany, and was adopted by an American Army family. Read all about Coxon in this week’s member profile.
Related: One way you can become the kind of mentor that shaped Coxon's career is by sending or bringing an emerging leader at your bank to the 2019 GBA Credit Conference Dec. 5-6 in Atlanta. It's a great opportunity to help your promising up-and-comers further their learning, network with peers and get the latest industry intel. There is even a leadership session presented by nationally recognized expert Kevin Scott of ADDO, and the entire agenda is amazing. Access online registration here.

Bostic Opposed October Rate Cut

Even though he’s a non-voting member of the Federal Open Markets Committee this year, Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic made news last week during TV interviews when he said he didn’t support the Fed’s latest 25-basis-point rate cut. He acknowledged the decision about his position was a tough call, but he would have been "more comfortable" keeping the fed funds rate unchanged. He also said that with the economy "in a really good place," more rate cuts in the short term should wait until the effects of recent cuts can be evaluated. Read more reporting on this here from GBA Associate Member S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Opportunity to Improve Georgians' Financial Well-being

Most Georgians rate their financial well-being about on par with those in other states. The rating for all adults in Georgia is 51, which is categorized as "medium-high," says a report from CFPB this week. By comparison, the range for all states is between 50-54, with only a few states showing statistically significant differences. In the age group of those older than 62, Georgians rated their financial well-being somewhat lower, at 49, which is in the "medium-low" range. As financial services providers, banks have the opportunity to work with customers to help them improve their financial well-being. And, GBA Retirement Services also is committed to helping participants improve their financial well-being throughout their time at the bank and into retirement. The GBARS 401(k) plan makes saving for retirement simple for bank employees with automated savings and easy enrollment. Why not join the ranks of almost half the Georgia banks already working with GBARS to help the financial well-being of your team members? Contact Mandy Richards for details, 404.420.2025.

GBA Retirement Services Annual 401(k) Training Seminar

The dates for the GBA Retirement Services Annual 401(k) Training Seminar are Dec. 3 in Atlanta and Dec. 4 in Macon. HR administrators of banks in the Trust may attend either session at no cost to you! We will cover plan administration, website demos, testing review, compliance updates, overview of investments and managed accounts, and update on participant outcomes for our members. Is your bank’s plan not a part of our Master Trust? We invite you to also come and learn more about our services! Give us a call to find out how our program is helping thousands of Georgia bankers be fully prepared for retirement. We promise you won’t be disappointed. Have questions? Contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information. Register for Atlanta or Macon here.

Financial Risk Management Conference Heavy on Details

Georgia bank CFOs and other finance pros packed the house last week at GBA’s Financial Risk Management Conference in Atlanta. The agenda featured two days of in-depth sessions to help banks prepare for a strong 2020. Click here for full details of the content. Thanks to the GBA Asset/Liability Management Committee led by Chair Holt Redding, South Coast Bank & Trust, and Vice Chair Daniel Stanford, SunMark Community Bank, for putting together such a strong agenda. Thanks also to our sponsors – listed here – and our exhibitors S&P Global Market Intelligence, MoneyGram and Monarch Private Capital – for contributing to the success of the event. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.

Fed Seeks Small Business Credit Info

We encourage member banks to participate in the Federal Reserve’s annual Small Business Credit Survey. The survey, open until Dec. 20, an initiative of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, gathers information on the financial conditions and challenges facing small businesses and their local communities and provides a platform through which small businesses can be heard. Reports from previous surveys and survey information are available at The survey should take about 15 minutes, and all responses are confidential. Take the Small Business Credit Survey here. With questions, contact

GBA Women in Banking Conference Starts Sunday

GBA’s 2019 Women in Banking Conference convenes late Sunday afternoon at Lake Lanier in Buford. This annual conference draws female bankers from every banking arena as well as associate members whose companies provide products and services to our banks. The conference will kick off Sunday evening with a welcome reception and continue with content all day Monday through Tuesday noon. It’s not too late to register, and rooms may still be available at Legacy Lodge at GBA’s group rate. Attendees will hear from "the girl banker and blogger" Natalie Bartholomew; building culture from the inside out with Donna Flynn; maximizing and accelerating your success with Dr. Melissa Furman; a discussion of work-life balance with Georgia Supreme Court Justice Sarah H. Warren; commanding confidence with Jackson Spalding’s Trudy Kremer; an executive women’s panel; and a KonMari® consultant will teach us how to declutter and organize our space so that we’ll be inspired at home and at work. Click here to register online, see the detailed agenda, and get hotel information. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

January GBA Legislative and Economic Forum and Reception around the Corner

It’s hard to believe our early frost this week, but we’ve got a positive reason to be excited about winter - our annual Legislative and Economic Forum & Reception on Jan. 15. With an election year upon us, Georgia bankers won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear what’s going on across Georgia’s and the nation’s political and legislative landscape. This year’s event will be at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (downtown). Make plans join us for the Legislative Reception immediately following the Forum. It’s an excellent way to check in with your legislators. You may register online for the forum, reception or both. Click here for more details.

Mark Your Calendar for Spring Conferences and 2020 Schools

Be sure to save the date for these area-specific conferences coming up:
  • Operations and Technology Conference, Feb. 26-28, 2020, at the King and Prince, St. Simons (registration now open!)
  • HR Professionals Institute, March 18-20, 2020, at the Westin Jekyll Island
  • Bank Security Conference, April 2-3, 2020, at the King and Prince, St. Simons
  • Rural Development and Lending Conference, May 18-19, 2020, at the King and Prince, St. Simons
And 2020 schools:
  • Georgia Banking School, May 3-8, 2020, Athens
  • Compliance School, Part One - Building the Base, May 3-8, 2020, Athens
  • BSA Experience, Aug. 24-27, 2020, Macon
With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.

Recruiting Underway for Graduate School of Banking at LSU

Outreach is underway to find talented career-oriented bankers for the next session of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU May 25 - June 5, 2020. A recruiting effort to member CEOs, alumni, faculty and potential students is being led by the school’s Georgia Trustee Ryan Earnest, president and CEO Heritage First Bank, Rome, with assistance from school President-Elect Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, and Alumni Board member Nick Schuster, CashTrans. For details about the value of the school, read this article by John Jordan, the school’s executive director. He details leadership needs identified by banks and bankers, the return on the investment in GSBLSU to the 16,000+ graduates of the program, the addition of two courses – innovation and communications – to the curriculum and more. For more information and to register, visit

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. 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.

Upcoming December Seminars

Join your peers at these Georgia Bankers Association seminars coming up this fall in Macon! With questions, contact Jenna Lynn Warner, 404.420.2035.
  • DEC. 10
    Internal Audit Seminar
    Presenter: Mike Thomas, Crowe LLP
    Location: Middle Georgia State University, Macon

GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks with Marketing, Branding, Social Media and More

Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, blogs, online display ads, search engine optimization, and search engine and mobile marketing are important for winning new business from today's bank customers. GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, or simply FMS, is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The bank brands and other projects that endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand campaign will accomplish goals, impact the bottom line, affect positive change and be memorable recognizable no matter where your customers are. The GBA has been proud to endorse FMS as a GBA Strategic Partner since 2007. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.

Webinar Subscription Packages

Are you looking to save money and time, while training your employees as efficiently as possible? A webinar subscription package is a great option to get maximum value for a fraction of the price of most online training. The subscription packages are shareable for your entire institution, simplify your budgeting process and offer webinars at a lower rate than purchasing them individually. You may register for live webinars as well as OnDemand or CD recordings. Credits do not expire and there are more than 300 webinars to choose from each year. See the variety of webinar topics here. For more information, please contact GBA’s ShaKeya Snipes at 404.420.2020. Click here for a full list of the webinar subscription packages.

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...
Synovus, Queensborough and Morris Bank
First Port City Bank
Georgia Community Bank
Greater Community Bank
PrimeSouth 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.