May 13, 2016         

2016 Georgia Banking School Graduate of Distinction Stephen Whittaker is pictured here with his wife Allyson and First National Bank of Decatur County president and CEO Brad Barber and chairman Charles Whittaker

GBA School Sessions a Success

Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School on-campus sessions were completed last Friday in Athens, with 129 students participating in the two schools. Stephen Whittaker, First National Bank of Decatur County, Bainbridge, was named Graduate of Distinction of the Georgia Banking School’s Class of 2016, earning top grades on tests and home study projects and demonstrating leadership through his three-year school experience. In addition, three Honor Grads were named, having also earned an exceptional grade average during their Banking School careers: Helen Caldwell, Georgia Bank and Trust Company in Augusta; Alan Parker, Southwest Georgia Bank in Moultrie; and Kirk Scott, Colony Bank in Warner Robins. Click here for more details and a complete list of graduates...
GBA board member Terry DeWitt of First Landmark Bank in Marietta listens to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan during GBA's recent D.C.visit.

Georgia Bankers Descend on D.C.

Our annual member visit with regulators and the Georgia Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., wrapped up Thursday. Our intent at every meeting was to share specific examples about how our banks serve Georgians every day, and to point out how some regulations and laws are directly keeping customers from having access to the types of banking products and services they want. "Being here in front of the regulators and elected officials in person, sharing the firsthand experiences of our members on how regulations affect our ability to serve our communities, will hopefully shape their policies going forward," said GBA Chairman Jackson McConnell, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton. See more highlights from the GBA in D.C. here...

New Garnishment Law Now In Effect

Georgia's new garnishment law that will impact all banks is now in effect. The new law addresses a federal judge’s Sept. 2015 ruling that portions of the state’s garnishment statute were unconstitutional. GBA recently presented an in-depth webinar led by attorney Adam Cleveland, Thompson, O'Brien, Kemp & Nasuti, P.C., who served on the study committee that developed the legislation. You can still purchase a recording of The 411 on Georgia's New Garnishment Law webinar by clicking here. Please contact Katina Prokos, 404.420.2021 with questions about the webinar.

FDIC Seeks Comment

How Well Do Mobile Services Help Underserved Consumers?

The FDIC wants banker and other public feedback about its plans to look at how well mobile banking services help underserved consumers’ banking experiences (FIL – 32-2016). There’s good reason for banks to spend some time on this particular comment request, says Jonathan Hightower of the Bryan Cave law firm in an article in American Banker. “The request is an opportunity to convince regulators that emerging technology is the best approach to engaging the underserved. In so doing, banks will be able to overcome challenges – related to the Community Reinvestment Act – in completing mergers and acquisitions,” Hightower writes. Access a link to the full article here (subscription required)...

GBA Member Profile

Fortson Forged Extra-Mile Approach in Lawn-Care Biz

Shannon Fortson’s dad made sure he and his brothers knew how to run a good business when they cut lawns as teenagers. “My dad’s expressed insistence of always going the extra mile, giving customers more than they expect, thanking them for their business and always carrying through on promises and commitments made a huge impact upon me and my life, quite frankly,” says Fortson in this week’s GBA member profile. Fortson is EVP / Chief Credit Officer for Pinnacle Bank in Elberton. He also chairs GBA’s Agriculture Committee, which hosts the GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference May 16-17. Read more about Fortson’s background, the bank’s biggest challenges and his pastimes here…

Last Call for Next Week's Rural Development and Lending Conference!

This is your last call to register for GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference. This conference is a great opportunity learn, network and connect with agribusiness lenders from other Georgia banks. Here’s a quick rundown of sessions:
  • Market Trends and Economic Overview
  • Loan Guarantee Panel
  • Farm Bill Update – The Peanut Apocalypse
  • The Agriculture Sector Outlook and Underwriting Standards
  • Legal Update
  • Hot Button Topics and How to Address Them
  • Trends and Price Direction in Agricultural Commodities.
The registration price is $400. Click here to register online. With questions, please contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad via email or at 404.420.2024.

New Overnight Delivery Discounts

Save Up to 30 percent on Select UPS Shipping with New Program

GBA members can now save up to 30 percent on select express shipping services courtesy of GBA Strategic Partner UPS. Through the ABA/GBA Overnight Delivery Service Program, your bank will receive special pricing discounts on a variety of international and domestic overnight letters and packages. To participate in the program, banks can enroll online here or call the UPS National Association Hotline at 800.325.7000 and refer to the ABA/GBA Program. Contact GBA's Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014 with questions.

Blockbuster Crowd Coming to GBA 2016 Annual Meeting in Austin

GBA’s 2016 Annual Meeting is a can’t-miss event. You’ve still got time to register and experience the outstanding program. Business sessions will cover the economy, cybersecurity, branches of the future, community bank performances and trends, CRE lending opportunities, director training and more. Plus you’ll have a chance to relax, recharge and reconnect with your fellow bankers and their families. A few rooms are still available at the Marriott so make your reservations now by calling the hotel directly at 512.474.4777. With questions about the meeting, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.

GBA Compensation and Benefits Survey

GBA's 2016 Survey is Full of Helpful Updates and Open Now

The GBA Compensation and Benefits Survey is open for participation. We’ve taken feedback from the GBA HR Committee and survey partner, Matthews, Young – Management Consulting, to improve the survey and report for members. Learn about all the ways we have done that and get started on the survey today...

Learn about the State of Housing in Georgia at Leadership Conference

What is the state of housing in Georgia? John Hunt with ViaSearch, Inc., will help you find out as he explores the underlying causes of the housing downturn and shares his forecast for the coming quarters. He will also look at opportunities for construction loan growth and metrics that can be used to avoid past mistakes. Leadership GBA will host its annual Leadership Conference July 18-21, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at a reduced rate of $219 to $239 per night. Make reservations by calling the hotel directly at 888.839.9145. Be sure to say you are with the GBA to receive this special rate. The cut-off date for reservations is Friday, June 10. After this date, all reservations will be subject to prevailing rate and space availability. Access more details and register online here...

Georgia Falling in Foreclosure Rankings

As the economy has slowly but steadily gotten better, the foreclosure rate statewide has also dropped. A member shared with us this week that in January Georgia had the 35th lowest foreclosure rate at 0.64 percent according to CoreLogic. That’s down from 0.82 percent 12 months before and well below the spots in the top 10 the state had been seeing in the worst years of the downturn. The improved economy and Georgia’s fair but efficient foreclosure process were among the topics we discussed with the OCC this week in Washington, D.C.

Budgeting for a Better Retirement

It’s hard to save for retirement and make it a priority. Does it seem like too many things are competing for your paycheck? The fact is, people at all income levels find themselves struggling to make ends meet. GBA Retirement Services provides ongoing employee education to help ease the burden of saving. Click here for some helpful hints on how you can make small changes to your spending that will help you save for retirement. If you’re interested in finding out more information about GBA Retirement Services, contact Mandy Richards or Danielle Driggers at 404.522.1501.

Consumer Real Estate Lending for Small Banks Seminar - June 2

Learn about financial and operational considerations of consumer real estate lending by small banks as well as the challenges faced by small banks that offer these loans in today's regulatory environment at GBA’s new Consumer Real Estate Lending for Small Banks seminar with Steve Moore, Bank Compliance Services. Since the CFPB began issuing new TILA and RESPA rules in 2013, there has been so much confusion in the operations area and doubts over financial profitability that some small banks have decided to stop offering consumer real estate loans to their customers. In the context of the new TILA, RESPA, Flood Insurance and HMDA rules, Steve will discuss the pros and cons of these regulatory rules from the community banker’s perspective. The following topics will be covered…

GBA-U Webinars

Risk Management, Loan Documentation, Coaching, CRA Courses and More

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.

Trust, Accounting and Lending Courses Coming Up

Instructor-led ABA online courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. 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 ABA instructor-led courses for June…

The GBA Job Bank Gets Results

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 Kenyetta Parks at 404.420.2035.

GBA-Endorsed Vendor Risk Management Product Eliminates Stress

VendorPoint® by Fortrex Technologies, is the market’s first automated, turnkey vendor risk management solution. This cost-effective online service enables banks of any size to identify, measure, monitor and manage third-party risk based on FFIEC guidelines and design criteria established by leading financial services institutions. It combines worry-free automation, ready accessibility, and ease-of-use to speed users through even the most rigorous regulatory environment. GBA encourages you to take a closer look at VendorPoint to discover how it can help guide your bank’s vendor risk management. To schedule a demo of this solution, please contact Fortrex’s Doug Ochs at 877.367.8739.

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...

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.