January 20, 2017      


Albany/Dougherty County Area Needs Your Help

GBA Board member Luke Flatt, president and CEO of AB&T in Albany has told us about the incredible devastation Albany and Dougherty County suffered from a combination of straight-line winds and nearby tornadoes Jan. 2. More than 1,500 homes were damaged, around 350 of which are uninhabitable. The debris from the area's canopy of massive old-growth pines, oaks and other trees is estimated to be up to a million cubic yards, and the city and county work crews are working tirelessly to deal with the removal. Gov. Deal declared the area a natural disaster, but no word has come yet from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about whether federal resources will be made available. Much of the cost will be borne by homeowners as tree removal unrelated to real property damage will likely be uninsured. We wanted to let our members know of the needs, as there has been little awareness statewide. Bankers wanting to help are encouraged to call 229.483.6214 to coordinate the delivery of resources and donated items. Click here for more ways to help...

Trump Cabinet Gets More Georgia Roots

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has been nominated to be the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Perdue was Governor from 2003-2011, and he is the second Georgian nominated for a key cabinet role. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA6), the nominee to lead the Health and Human Services, testified this week during part 1 of his confirmation hearings. He’ll testify again next week before the Senate Finance Committee. “It’s a proud day when two of President-elect Trump’s most influential cabinet picks have Georgia roots. We’ve worked closely with Rep. Price and former Gov. Perdue over the years," said GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen. Click here for more observations about these recent appointments…

Durbin Repeal Action Request - We Must Counter Retailers

Congress is expected to consider the Financial CHOICE Act in the coming weeks. It’s a bill that passed the House Financial Services Committee in the last Congress but did not see action in the full House. A major component of the bill is a repeal of the “Durbin Amendment” that set government price controls on debit card interchange. The retailers are making an all-out push to not only keep the price controls, they’re trying to get them expanded. In an op-ed in a recent Augusta Chronicle, Wogan S. Badcock III, the executive vice president of a 330-store furniture chain, 75 of which are in Georgia, explains how “debit-card reform…helps small businesses get by.” Calling interchange fees “the bane of merchants… who are constantly struggling with slim profit margins,” Badcock says this practice hurts Georgia’s state economy, as well as the nationwide economy. How to take action to repeal the Durbin Amendment and more interchange news here...

Whaley Re-Elected FHLBank Atlanta Vice Chairman

Congratulations to past GBA Chairman Rick Whaley, president and CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus, for his re-election as vice chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Whaley will serve a two-year term. “Rick is just a tremendous leader and incredible banker,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. “He has a great knack for knowing how to bring different voices and opinions together for the benefit of an organization as a whole, and that serves him well in a position like he has with the Home Loan Bank.” Whaley has been a director of FHLBank Atlanta since 2013. During his tenure on the board, Whaley has served as chair of the Credit and Member Services Committee, and as a member of the Executive, Finance, and Housing and Community Investment Committees of the board. He has served as vice chairman since 2015. Whaley also serves on the GBA Insurance Trust board of directors.
A. Scott

Georgia’s Austin Scott Gets Ag Subcommittee Post

U.S. Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA8) has been named chairman of the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit for the House Agriculture Committee. The appointment is significant for our membership because the subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rural Development, lending institutions, and agriculture credit and loan operations within the Farm Service Agency. The state has significant representation on the committee, as Rep. David Scott, (D-GA13), will serve as the subcommittee’s ranking member for the democrats. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

Feature on Sherman Drawdy worth a Read

The history of banking in Georgia is filled with colorful and inspiring characters, and Sherman Drawdy of the Georgia Railroad Bank certainly fits the bill. The Augusta Chronicle recently ran a profile of Drawdy and his influence on the local community and the banking business in Georgia. Drawdy was GBA Chairman in 1945-46 and also served two terms as treasurer of the American Bankers Association. “In 1946 he was elected bank president and in the years that followed, Sherman Drawdy’s ‘quiet and effective leadership’ moved the Georgia Railroad Bank forward, ‘swiftly’ according to the company history. New branch banks were built, “space age” banking practices (they probably mean computers) were adopted, employee retirement plans were revised or introduced, education programs were started. The bank grew … and grew. This was symbolized in construction of Augusta’s tallest modern skyscraper, the glistening black headquarters building that opened at Seventh and Broad Streets in 1967,” the story says. Here’s a link to the full article...

National Industry News Roundup

Here are some of the national industry news headlines from the past week of note:
  • CFPB Commission Bill Introduced in Senate - We’ll be supporting a bill (S. 105) introduced by U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that would replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s single director with a bipartisan, five-member board -- similar to other financial regulators, including the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

  • DOL Fiduciary Rule FAQs Updated - The Labor Department has released a second set of frequently asked questions on its final rule redefining who counts as a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and Internal Revenue Code. Of importance to banks are clarifications that banks offering education information to IRA and retirement account about investment alternatives -- such as product features, returns and fees (for example, bank CD rate sheets) -- would not be considered “investment advice,” provided that the bank did not make a specific recommendation to the customer. Read the FAQs here…

  • CFPB Seeks Advisory Council Applications - There are two vacancies on the CFPB’s Community Bank Advisory Council the bureau wants to fill. The council, which meets twice per year, is intended to provide the bureau feedback from banks with less than $10 billion in assets. Council members are named to two-year terms. Applications for the council are due March 1. Read more here...

  • Optimistic Economic Outlook for First Half of 2017 - Merchants, auto dealers, commercial real estate pros and manufacturers reported improved economic activity in the Southeast from November to the end of the year, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book this week. Overall economic activity was characterized as expanding at a modest pace, with an optimistic outlook for the first half of the year. Read the full report here...

Why Attend the GBA Women in Banking Conference Feb. 9-10?

GBA’s Women in Banking Conference is on Feb. 9-10, at the Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta. It's quickly become one of our most popular events so don't miss out. Past Conference attendees Alayna Martinez, Angie Kahrmann and Jennifer Wright recently shared their thoughts on the benefits of attending the conference...

HR Professionals Institute, Feb. 22-24, Jekyll Island

Having Trouble Navigating Today’s HR Technology? We’ve Got Directions!

At the GBA 2017 HR Professionals Institute, Feb. 22-24 at the Westin Jekyll Island, Donna Osekavage, president of HRIS Consultants, will share information that can help you know how to leverage technology and further enhance HR’s role in your bank. From design to deployment - onboarding, new hires, self-service, compliance to vendor exports and ancillary systems, you won’t want to miss this session. Click here to see a complete agenda, hotel details and to register. With questions, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.

GBA Ops/Tech Conference

Hacking for Profit: It’s a Bold Crime

At GBA’s 2017 Operations and Technology Conference, March 15-16, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look into the bold world of hacking for profit, where hackers no longer slip undetected into “secure” systems merely for a quick payout, but are hacking to support a diversified criminal enterprise. Chad Hunt, supervisory special agent, Cybersecurity Squad Manager with the Atlanta FBI, will explain how the combined forces of international law enforcement, private industry, academia and researchers identify, pursue and defeat the adversaries. Hear about recent FBI successes and learn more about current trends such as hacking as a business model. Need we say more? Sign up today...

Georgia Banking School, May 7-12, Athens

Why this Graduate says Georgia Banking School is an Unparalleled Experience

When it comes to making a budget decision on how and where to spend your bank’s professional development dollars - don’t take our word for it. See what Stephen Whittaker, senior credit administrator at First National Bank of Decatur County in Bainbridge, and the Georgia Banking School’s Class of 2016 Graduate of Distinction, has to say about his experience and why others should attend…

Bank Security Conference, April 6-7, Jekyll Island

GBA’s 2017 Bank Security Conference, coming up April 6-7 at the Westin on Jekyll Island, will include something for every banker with responsibilities in bank security. The complete agenda is available now and early bird registration runs until March 23. Save $50 by signing up today…

GBA Advanced Compliance School, May 7-12, Athens

Help Your Compliance Team Get Ready for New FFIEC Rating System

There is a timely new regulatory issue that makes sending a representative to GBA Advanced Compliance School a good idea. FFIEC recently issued an updated Uniform Interagency Consumer Compliance Rating System. This new rating system goes into effect March 31. Under the new system, examiners will rate banks’ Consumer Compliance under three broad categories: Board and Management Oversight; Compliance Program; and Violations of Law and Consumer Harm. The Compliance School curriculum will deliver the knowledge and tools your bankers need to ensure strong compliance ratings for your bank. Click here to register today…

Compliance Peer Group Meeting - March 8

Join us on March 8 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon for the GBA Compliance Peer Group Meeting.* The topic for this meeting is: CRA-Telling the Bank’s Story. We will have a panel of bankers from institutions rated as Outstanding in their CRA exam and regulators to discuss best practices, tips and more. The price for this event is $125, and CRCM credits will be applied for. Thanks to GBA's Compliance Committee for planning the program. Jim Bedsole, Bank South, Greensboro, is the committee chair. Click here to register. With questions, please contact GBA’s Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034. *We will be applying for CRCM Credits.

Online Course Schedule

CTFA, Supervisor Certificate & Mortgage Lending among Courses Coming up

These courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. Any employee of a GBA member company 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 a "seat." For more information, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings...

Upcoming GBA-U Webinars

A GBA Webinar is a great way to quickly get the training you need without travel or time out of the bank. Webinars are live and allow time for questions and answers. The $265 registration price gives you access to one web site "seat," one telephone site license and all handout materials. If you can't attend the webinar, you may buy the audio CD, handout materials and a password to see the session online. With questions, please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021. Here is a sample of upcoming offerings. Check the GBA-U Calendar of Events at www.gabankers.com for more details.

New Positions in Compliance, Accounting, Operations and more!

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. To make the process of posting a job or resume easier and to answer any questions you may have, we've developed this Q & A document as a resource. It outlines how to submit open positions and resumes, our deadlines and timelines for posting, and other helpful details. If you have any questions, please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at 404.420.2014.

Six Best Practices that Increase Check Program Profitability

E-payments have transformed the marketplace, making the concept of a paperless world seem more possible than ever. Yet for all the dazzle of digital payment modes, checks endure as a viable payment method for consumers and businesses alike. Is your bank maximizing the profitability of its checking program? Many don’t, either because they wrongly undervalue the revenue-building power of the enduring check, or because they simply aren’t sure how to go about tapping its potential. Read this white paper from GBA Strategic Partner Deluxe for six steps that can help financial institutions increase the profitability of their check programs. Adopting these practices can help banks improve branch efficiency, enhance account holder satisfaction, and increase non-interest income. For a thorough checkup of your checking program and for more information, please contact Deluxe's Kevin Jefferson at 336.676.0321.

Employee Benefit Selections are Easy and Affordable with Holmes-Shaw

Holmes-Shaw has built a full portfolio of complementary products and services around the GBA Insurance Trust's core benefit programs, allowing participants and their employees to expand their benefit selections affordably. Some of these products and services include...

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 Bo Brannen and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment...

Read All About It: Send Us Your News

Please remember to include the Georgia Bankers Association on the list of recipients for announcements about promotions, new employees and special recognition your bank has received. We want to share your news with your colleagues across the state. Please forward your announcements and photos to GBA's David Oliver and Bogan Brannen.