❤️ Feb. 14, 2020 ❤️

Welcome, Members

Please join us in welcoming back to GBA membership Putnam-Greene Financial Corporation in Eatonton. There are four banks within the holding company: Farmers & Merchants Bank, Eatonton, Chip Benton, president and CEO, who also serves as CEO of the holding company; Citizens Bank of Cochran, Chuck Harwell, president and CEO; Farmers Bank, Greensboro, Sid Lane, president and CEO; and First Bank of Coastal Georgia, Doyce Mullis, president and CEO. We’re also pleased to announce Security Federal Bank, Phil Wahl, president and CEO, has also joined GBA. The bank is headquartered in Aiken, SC, with branches in Richmond and Columbia Counties here in Georgia. Welcome, Phil and your team.

Agriculture Loss Block Grant Applications Available Soon

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and his team have worked tirelessly since hurricanes devastated the area of Georgia considered the heart of agriculture production. And GBA’s Agriculture Committee has been at the forefront helping Black craft solutions, giving feedback on ideas and even going to Washington, D.C., to help advocate for disaster relief. We’ve been told to expect an announcement soon from Black about a significant block grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to cover losses related to timber, beef, dairy, poultry, fruit and vegetables, pecans and other uninsured infrastructure losses.
Related Education Opportunity for Ag Lenders: The 2020 GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference is coming up on May 18-19 on St. Simons Island. Get details and register here.

Georgia General Assembly Will be in Session Next Week

Following a week in recess to take a deep dive into both the amended fiscal year 2020 and 2021 state budgets, the General Assembly will return on Tues., Feb. 18 for day 13 of their 40-day session. First up on the House floor will be GBA’s priority bill of the session, HB 781 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). The is the annual housekeeping bill introduced at the request of the Department of Banking and Finance and developed following input from various stakeholders regulated by the Department.

Will Wade Announces for House Seat

Longtime northeast Georgia banker Will Wade has announced his candidacy for the 9th district House seat in the Georgia General Assembly representing portions of Lumpkin, Dawson and Forsyth Counties. Wade is Senior Vice President of Southern Bank & Trust in Clarksville and works out of the Dahlonega office. Wade has been on the Dawson County School Board for 15 years and currently serves as chairman. He was also elected by his peers to chair the statewide Georgia School Boards Association. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Wade to the Georgia Student Finance Commission Board in 2019.

Conference Season in Swing: Unmatched Content, Register Today

Our spring conference season is heating up. See why you and your teammates should attend these premier GBA programs.
  • Ops/Tech Conference - Feb. 26-28, St Simons: Cybersecurity, Branch Evolution, Core Platforms, Chick-fil-A Leadership, FinCrime Prevention, Contract Negotiation, Automation and more. Register here.
  • HR Professionals Institute - March 18-20, Jekyll Island: Employment Law Update, Culture Building with Chick-fil-A, HR Leadership Tips; Women in Retirement; Comp. & Benefits Strategy; Employee Communication Trends and more. Register here.
  • Bank Security Conference - April 2-3: St. Simons: Internal Fraud Prevention, Business Email Compromise Protection, Security Officer Best Practices, Crisis Communications Tabletop Exercise joint session with Marketing Officers, Human Trafficking Awareness and more. Register here.
  • Marketing Conference - April 2-3, St. Simons: Podcasting Workshop (session to be featured on a national podcast); Crisis Communications Tabletop Exercise joint session with Security Officers, Data Trends for Success, LinkedIn Master Class and more. Register here.
  • Rural Development and Lending Conference - May 18-19, St. Simons: Precision Ag Technology, Trade Trends, Economic Update, Timber/Forestry Outlook, Helping Heirs and Family Estates and more. Register here.
  • American Mortgage Conference - May 4-6, Charleston: In conjunction with the North Carolina Bankers Association. Details and registration here.

Advocacy Action Alert
Request Support from Sen. Perdue on SAFE Banking Act

We ask members to join us in asking Sen. David Perdue to support the SAFE Banking Act and help it advance out of the Senate Banking Committee on which he serves. It’s important that he hears from bankers about this issue. To be clear, the SAFE Banking Act does not change the legal status of cannabis. Instead, it will allow banks to serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis has been legalized. As Georgia is now working on procedures for legalized medical-related cannabis growing and sales, it’s our view that the legislation would help make our communities safer by enabling the placement of state-sanctioned cannabis cash in regulated and transparent financial institutions. Please take a moment to help us shore up support for this important legislation. Ask Sen. Perdue to help advance the Safe Banking Act, S. 1200, so that banks can continue to serve the financial needs of their communities. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Highlighting Banking’s Positive Momentum

Our advocacy for the industry was front and center this week across the state through the Georgia CEO online business news service. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen was featured in a short video clip that that ran in all of the service’s local market email newsletters. Brannen highlighted the positive financial performance of the state’s banks in 2019, the momentum of new banks being formed and how career-minded young people are looking to find their future at Georgia’s banks with the variety of skills needed by members. Here’s the video.

FDIC Adjusts Rules for De Novo Business Plan Changes

There is an important change in the FDIC’s application manual announced this week. De novo banks will now be permitted to give prior notice when making any material change or deviation from their business plan within the first three years of operation, rather than requiring prior approval. While FDIC maintains the right to review the change and potentially object, this is an adjustment that should help new banks be nimble and make reasonable course adjustments to help them succeed. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

In-Region Event for South GA Bankers
Less than one Month until Valdosta Symposium - March 3

GBA along with the Langdale College of Business at Valdosta State University will host the annual 2020 South Georgia Community Bank Symposium on March 3. This event will feature a panel of Valdosta students that will showcase several ways they are preparing for careers in financial services, contributing to financial literacy on campus and in the community and their views about traditional banking products, services and career opportunities. Other content will include a strategic thinking and key bank management trends by George Igler of Igler and Pearlman, P.A. as well as a session on forest resources by Chuck Williams, director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. Click here to see the full agenda. CEOs, CFOs, bank directors, senior lenders, senior retail bank managers and emerging leaders would all benefit from attending this event. Click here to register.

Compliance News
Tailored BSA Exam Process Coming Soon from Fed

It would only apply to a couple of Georgia banks, but perhaps a tailored BSA exam process expected soon could serve as a model that other regulators would follow. "If you are a low-risk institution, we will scale our [BSA] examination process, requirements and models to tailor for that risk," said Fed Governor Michelle Bowman during a national conference for community bankers Monday in describing a new BSA exam process for the Federal Reserve that could be announced by the end of March. "My expectation is that we will see a significant reduction in the number of hours that we spend in your institutions," she said.

Women in Banking Committee Sets Sights on August Conference

GBA’s Women in Banking Committee, led by Ashlee Torpy, Morris Bank, Dublin, and Martha Brown, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla, held its annual in-person meeting Wednesday in Macon. Hot topics covered in a lively around-the-table discussion included attracting and retaining talent and managing performance; the effect of changing technology on bank operations; successfully managing change during growth and acquisitions; and the power and importance of setting professional, financial, and wellness goals. The committee also started planning the 2020 Women in Banking Conference, which will be Aug. 12-14 at Chateau Elan in Buford. The committee urges women bankers and women in GBA’s Associate Member companies to mark their calendars now, and watch their email and upcoming GBA E-Bulletins for a registration announcement and details on speakers and sessions. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

Georgia Exports Hit Record Level in 2019

Businesses in Georgia exported $41.2 billion in goods to 214 unique countries and territories in 2019, besting the record it set last year as the economy continues to grow. Topping the list of destinations for Georgia goods are Canada, Mexico, Germany, China and Singapore. Exports to Germany grew by 20% on strong demand for medical-related products and civilian aircraft. Georgia’s 6,600 manufacturing firms account for 90% of exports, with ag-related products making up 10% of exports.

BOLO for Counterfeit United Bank Checks

Donna Sabens at United Bank alerts other members to counterfeit checks being passed that look like United Bank official checks. The forged signature on the fake checks is that of a current employee, Danica Thurman. For more details such as routing and account numbers, or to report one of these checks coming through your bank, contact Donna Sabens, Operations Manager, at 770.567.2521 or Debbie Coker, Compliance Officer, at 770.412.4975.

Testimonial: Georgia Banking School
Understanding How All Areas of the Bank Affect the Balance Sheet

If you’re building a career in banking, we strongly encourage you to enroll in one of the best professional development opportunities GBA has to offer. The 2020 Georgia Banking School will be hosted concurrently with the newly designed GBA Compliance School May 3-8 the UGA Center for Continuing Education & Hotel in Athens. Since 1961, this unique growth opportunity for qualified, highly motivated bankers has shaped generations of bank leaders through a challenging educational experience that demands full personal commitment. 

Nationally Renowned Expert Carl Pry to Teach at New GBA Compliance School

GBA is thrilled to welcome Carl Pry, managing director of Treliant, as a faculty member of the newly designed GBA Compliance School May 3-8 in Macon. A seasoned executive with banking law, corporate finance and regulatory compliance experience in Fortune 500 institutions, regional banks and industry consulting firms, Pry advises clients on commercial compliance, fair lending, corporate treasury and risk management. Learn more about Pry and the other all-star Compliance School faculty members here.

Compliance Peer Group Meeting, Topics include BSA, Cannabis and more!

GBA will host its 2020 Compliance Peer Group Meeting on March 5, 2020, at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. The meeting will have an open peer discussion format and Bo Fears, Deputy Commissioner of Consumer and Legal Affairs at Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, will be leading the discussion on cannabis/hemp/CBD and banking. Anyone responsible for managing part or all of a financial institution's compliance risk management program should attend. Please submit your topics for the peer exchange to jwarner@gabankers.com. Click here to register.

Compliance Skill
Consumer Lending Seminar

GBA invites you to attend the Consumer Lending Compliance "201" Workshop on April 7-8 with Steve Moore, Bank Compliance Services, which focuses on consumer real estate lending compliance. It will cover high-risk compliance requirements and common problem areas, and there will also be extensive Q&A opportunities to address compliance concerns. Attendees will also complete several real-world lending compliance reviews and underwrite consumer real estate loans in accordance with ATR rules. Click here to register.

Leadership Conference - Popular Speaker Dave DeFazio Back on Speaker Slate

If you’ve attended the GBA Leadership Conference before, you’ve no doubt benefitted from the excellent educational sessions which are geared specifically to emerging leaders from GBA member banks and the associate members who support them. The Leadership GBA Board of Directors plans and hosts the conference, which will be July 13-15 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, Ponte Vedra, FL. They’ve just put the final touches on the 2020 slate, and are excited to announce that Dave DeFazio, Partner, StrategyCorps, will be back to speak to the group this summer. Dave, who spoke last year on "The Amazon Prime Effect," will continue this series with "Planet of the Apps," which will discuss the evolving battle for customers and cross-selling in a mobile world. Learn more about his session and the 2020 conference here.

How to Earn a Juris Masters in Compliance

GBA is partnering with the Florida Bankers Association and Florida State University College of Law to offer members an important degree program for banking professionals. When you enroll in this online program to obtain a Juris Master degree in Financial Regulation and Compliance from Florida State University College of Law, you will enhance your own professional development, the reputation of your financial institution and that of the banking industry. The JM program will undoubtedly provide bankers and regulators a unique opportunity to obtain a graduate degree from a highly acclaimed institution with a particular focus on bank compliance issues and the law. More info here.

Compliance Resource
Understanding 21st Century Sanctions Risks

Since widespread adoption beginning in the mid-1990s, the Internet and e-commerce have provided greater paths for bad actors to evade government-imposed sanctions. New GBA Associate Member Compliance and AML Solutions has provided this brief guide to help your bank understand and recognize common evasion techniques to help protect your bank. Access the guide here.

Offered by 90+ Community Banks Today
GBA Endorses ServisFirst Bank’s Agent Credit Card Program

GBA is proud to recommend the agent credit card program offered by ServisFirst Bank. ServisFirst issues cards for more than 90 community banks in the country. Through the program, GBA members can issue credit cards to their customers, both commercial and retail, with their bank’s logo. ServisFirst provides a simple, straightforward program that includes credit card marketing and portfolio management services at no cost to the bank. Get more details about the ServisFirst Bank agent card program contacting ServisFirst’s Tim Finney, 478.952.6497, or Karen Grahn, 205.949.0330.

ABA Online Training
Class is in Session with February Facilitated Courses

ABA 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. Check out these four courses scheduled for the month of February. For more information, contact ShaKeya Snipes, 404.420.2020. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings.

Learn. Advance. Lead.
Find the Perfect ABA Certificate to Advance Your Career!

Build the skills and knowledge necessary for career advancement with a certificate program in a concentrated skill set. Certificates provide practical, tailored knowledge in a job role. The certificate programs are 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. There are multiple Certificate Programs in these categories. Get all the details here. For more information, contact ShaKeya Snipes, 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...
Security Federal Bank
Colony Bank
Georgia Community Bank
Pinnacle Bank
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.
South Georgia Banking Co.
Commercial Banking Co.
Mount Vernon Bank
GBA Insurance Trust
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.
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