March 10, 2017       

Financial Sector Jobs in Georgia Jump

Financial activities jobs were the leading sector of Georgia job gains in January, according to the latest Georgia Department of Labor report on unemployment. The sector added 4,300 jobs in January. The state’s total increase in jobs for the month was nearly twice the December-January growth rate in the previous three years. Total unemployment in Georgia held steady at 5.5 percent, where it’s been for the past three months.

Secure Deposit Program Rolling Out Soon

We’ve sent an email to our members that we understand are potentially qualified to participate in the new multibank pledging pool authorized last year by the General Assembly. The pool was created in response to banks wanting to pledge a lower percentage of collateral to secure public deposits. In return for that lowered percentage, the banks will be contingently liable for their pro rata share of any losses to depositors not covered by the sale of a defaulting bank’s pledged collateral. The Georgia State Depository Board sets the policies for the program and it will be overseen by the State Treasurer with input from the Banking Commissioner. GBA Services, Inc., a GBA subsidiary, is finalizing contract negotiations with the Treasurer to administer the pool, formally called the Secure Deposit Program. Click here to find out more about the Georgia Secure Deposit Program…

Community Bankers Meet with President

President Trump Thursday hosted a meeting of community bankers from across the country. Regulatory burden and the effect on credit availability and service to communities were the primary agenda items. Specific topics included importance of tailored regulation, the need to hold the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau more accountable, regulatory changes to increase small business and mortgage lending, the impact of compliance burden, and the need to ensure regulatory capital standards are aligned with actual risks and conducive to credit availability. Attending the meeting were leaders from the major national banking trade groups and bankers from across the country. “Today’s meeting was an important step by the President to highlight the crucial role community banks play in our country’s economy. We are too hamstrung with over-reaching regulations. The bankers attending the meeting did a great job pointing out specific examples where the president, congress, the regulators and bankers can come together to craft a more workable regulatory environment that lets us do what we do best: serve the needs of our communities,” said GBA Chairman Rick Drews, CEO, Century Bank of Georgia, Cartersville.

General Assembly Eases Back into Session

As is traditional after a long session called Crossover Day last Friday that saw dozens of bills passed from one body to the other, the General Assembly returned Monday with light calendars in the House and Senate. Both chambers spent most of their time this week with committees reviewing and perfecting legislation to ready the bills for action in waning days of the session. Legislators were in session Monday, Thursday and Friday this week, completing Day 31 of the 40-day session. They’ll return next Monday and be in session daily through Thursday. We’ll publish our Legislative Update when the General Assembly adjourns Friday giving more details about bills receiving action this week.

Dearth of DeNovos Looked at in Depth

Regulators have signaled they’re ready to approve new bank charters for well-organized banks, and that’s certainly a welcome message. A report from the Richmond Federal Reserve detailed in the March 3 CSBS Examiner newsletter takes an in-depth look at the scarcity of new bank formation since 2010 and the effects on lending and service to communities. One marked downside to fewer community banks and new bank charters may be less access to credit for small business borrowers, the report says. Click here for more highlights and a link to the Richmond Fed report...

Economic Update Set for Annual Meeting - June 18-21

The program for our Annual Meeting at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is taking shape. Just added to the lineup is Chief Economist Chris Low, FTN Financial. He'll provide an economic outlook, starting with an update on fiscal policy, monetary policy and regulatory reform. He’ll discuss 2018 economic and loan growth prospects are for banks - nationally and in the Southeast - and examine the implications of possible higher interest rates, tax reform and the possible relaxation of Dodd-Frank Act regulations. Lowe will also discuss the Fed’s plans to reduce its balance sheet and the President’s ability to remake the Fed with as many as five board appointments before the end of 2018. Register online now. With questions about the GBA Annual Meeting, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.

The Stories Only Walt Moeling Can Tell

Former GBA General Counsel Walt Moeling, who recently retired from the Bryan Cave law firm, has a million stories about his days working with bankers, boards and regulators. It’s always been his style to use those stories to make a specific point or drive home just the right argument on behalf of his clients. The latest edition of Banking Exchange magazine has a fun-to-read interview between Moeling and the magazine’s editor, Steve Cocheo. In the interview, Moeling tells tales about frank discussions about mergers and acquisitions with reluctant executives and board members, the effects of the financial downturn, the state of community banking and how it’s changed and some early thoughts on the new presidential administration. Check it out here…

CRE and Ag Lending Credit Risks Get Spotlight

The winter edition of FDIC’s Supervisory Insights spotlights credit risk trends. It’s worth a review as two of the categoriescovered, Commercial Real Estate and Ag lending, are traditionally sectors in which many Georgia banks focus lending efforts. In 2016, CRE loans at Georgia-based banks were up modestly at about 2 percent, and Farm Loans were up by about 5.5 percent. The publication details current conditions and reiterates the need for strong risk management processes. Drawing from more than two decades of historical data, the FDIC warned that community banks specializing in CRE had a failure rate 2.25 times that of the average community bank, and stressed that banks’ ability to withstand market volatility is dependent on having robust capital and risk management frameworks in place. And, the ag sector has seen net farm income decline and low commodity prices in recent years. Read more here…

What You Missed at GBA’s Compliance Peer Group Meeting

CRA success stories by banks and best practices were the focus this week of the March meeting of the GBA Compliance Peer Group. The morning session featured a panel that included two bankers and two regulators. Karen Luckey, Queensborough National Bank & Trust, Louisville, gave a thorough overview of her bank’s program and Amanda Hunt of Citizens Bank & Trust, Trenton, shared how her bank made sure it’s outreach and customer assistance efforts after a tornado were eligible for CRA credit. Lisa Anne Mifflin from the OCC and David Sharp of the FDIC detailed resources and tips for banks to ensure their efforts are eligible for credit. Good documentation and realistic (not always rosy) self-assessments are best practices, they said. Jan Elrod, First Landmark Bank, Marietta, facilitated the panel discussion. Click here for more Compliance Peer Group highlights…

Upcoming Compliance Seminars - March 28-30

Don’t miss back-to-back seminars on compliance basics with Steve Moore, Bank Compliance Services, March 28-30 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. Whether you’re new to compliance or just need a refresher on essential regulations, one or both of these seminars will benefit you. See below for more information:

Flood Insurance Reform Bill Introduced

The desire for a private flood insurance market to compete with the National Flood Insurance Program is the idea behind a bill introduced this week in the U.S. House. The Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act by Reps. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) would remove excessive restrictions and would give states more flexibility to license and regulate private flood insurance, the sponsors said in announcing the legislation. The bill revisits the narrow definition of what qualifies as private flood insurance under the 2012 Biggert-Waters law. “This bipartisan legislation is an important step towards a valuable alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program and relief from the flood insurance rate increases that threaten our hardworking families and businesses,” said Rep. Castor.

Thrift Flexibility Bills Introduced in U.S. House, Senate

Legislation now pending in Congress would provide federal savings associations the ability to access lending powers, as well as compliance responsibilities of national banks without changing their Home Owners Loan Act charters. This would allow thrifts more avenues for diversifying their loan portfolios. Reps. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) and Jim Himes (D-CT) and Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the legislation in their respective chambers. The OCC supports the concept on which the legislation is based, and a similar bill cleared the House Financial Services committee in the last Congress.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available at Annual Meeting

GBA Strategic Partners and Associate Members, don’t miss the opportunity to be recognized by the banks and bankers you serve by sponsoring part of our 2017 Annual Meeting. GBA’s premier event is June 18-21 at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO. High-visibility sponsorships are still available. To sponsor, complete the sponsor form and e-mail it to GBA’s Susie McGehee. With questions about sponsorships, or the Annual Meeting in general, please contact Susie at 404.420.2010.

GBA’s Associate Members Support Ops/Tech with Sponsorships and Exhibits

At next week’s Operations and Technology Conference, attendees will get to connect with 17 exhibitors whose businesses offer products and services related to the operations and technology areas of banking. Attendees will also enjoy extended breaks with delicious food and beverages, an opening reception and more thanks to the following GBA Associate Members...

Symposium puts Emphasis on South Georgia

South Georgia bankers shouldn’t miss GBA’s next South Georgia Community Bank Symposium March 23 at Valdosta State University. Presented in partnership with the university’s Langdale College of Business, this event features experts who will focus on the key issues facing today’s banking industry. Topics to be covered include...

Security Conference EMV Session: How Did We Get Here and Is It Working?

GBA security professionals who attend GBA’s Bank Security Conference will hear Kathy Druckenmiller, senior vice president and director of Fraud Management for State Bank & Trust Company, discuss “EMV: How Did We Get Here and Is It Working?” Druckenmiller will review the evolution of credit and debit card fraud that brought us to EMV as a fraud solution. She will take a look at the success of EMV so far and discuss what new trends may emerge. Click here to see the complete agenda, hotel information, and online registration. The early-bird registration fee of $350 is available through March 23. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.

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 for more details.

GBA Job Bank

New Postitions in Information Security, Loan Operations, Human Resources 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.

Strategic Partner Deluxe Has Complete Fraud Solution for Your Check Program

As news stories about data breaches affecting hundreds of thousands of consumers continue to appear, fraud and identity theft are real concerns for your customers. Recent market studies have shown that customers are willing to pay a premium for protection, so offering a complete security solution with your checking accounts will help you to meet their demands and strengthen their trust. Check out a Deluxe article here to learn how to prepare a multi-layered defense. Please contact Deluxe’s Kevin Jefferson, 336.676.0321, with questions about how Deluxe can help you bank today.

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. 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. Here's our latest installment...
Patricia Rose of Bank of Terrell in 1967

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.