May 5, 2017          

Governor Signs GBA Priority Legislation

On Monday Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law H.B. 143, which includes important provisions that the GBA Code Review Task Force recommended as the culmination of its three-year project to update Georgia's banking laws. The effective date of the provisions in the bill is June 1. The bill includes a streamlined calculation for legal lending limits, and there were other important changes. As we noted a few weeks ago, there are three key action items banks should consider related to:
  • Legal Lending Limit Calculations
  • Documentation of Approval of Loans Exceeding 15% Limitation
  • Bylaws for Director Removal Provisions.
Here's a synopsis of the most critical changes state banks should consider put together by GBA's General Counsel, Jonathan Hightower, at Bryan Cave. We're not giving legal advice here, so be sure and check with your own counsel if you find that necessary. With questions, contact Hightower or Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

Financial Choice Act Moves Forward

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee Thursday approved the Financial Choice Act, introduced last week by Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Lengthy hearings about the bill featured passionate debate from supporters and opponents of the legislation. Tuesday's markup hearing lasted until midnight. We support the legislation as it now moves to the full House for consideration. Last week GBA was among 52 state bankers associations applauding Hensarling for introducing the bill, which would address the harmful effects of the Dodd-Frank Act on banks. Click here for more and a link to the letter we sent…

Westmoreland Takes on Durbin Amendment

Former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland this week published an op-ed sharply criticizing the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act that set artificial price controls on debit card interchange rates. The article was in The Hill newspaper, read widely by members of Congress and their staffs. We appreciate Westmoreland for sharing his perspective and background with this particular audience, as more than half of the members of the current House of Representatives were not in office when the Dodd-Frank Act was passed. Click here to access a link to the op-ed…

Regulatory Relief Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

In addition to the U.S. House focus on bank regulatory relief, the Senate is also taking a look. Four U.S. Senators have introduced a package of regulatory relief bills to help community banks. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) Tuesday introduced the Community Lending Enhancement and Regulatory Relief Act (S. 1002). The bill would provide regulatory relief to banks with less than $10 billion in assets. It would allow mortgages held in portfolio at those banks to have Qualified Mortgage designation, exempt them from the CFPB escrow rules and the Volcker Rule and other provisions. GBA supports these regulatory relief efforts, and we'll be discussing this with our delegation on our trip to Washington, D.C. next week. With questions or feedback, contact Joe Brannen or Elizabeth Chandler.

Rural Development & Lending Conference, May 17-18, St. Simons

Market Trends and Overview of Georgia's Rural Economy Just The Beginning…

A popular Rural Development & Lending Conference session every year is the Market Trends and Economic Overview from Dr. John McKissick of the Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Agricultural & Applied Economics, at the University of Georgia. McKissick will kick off the conference with a look at Georgia's rural economy, placing special emphasis on Georgia's ag sector. McKissick's update is one of seven sessions that are sure to stimulate an exchange of ideas and experiences among attendees during the conference. This conference draws an appealing mix of seasoned and "new" ag lenders, so no matter your experience level or focus, you are welcome and encouraged to attend. Click here to see the complete schedule, register online, or to access hotel information. Contact GBA's Kathy Friestad with questions about the conference, 404.420.2024.

Related: Southern Farm Banks Did Well in 2016

Farm banks in the South increased farm lending by $477 million, or 6.4 percent, to $7.9 billion in 2016. ABA's annual Farm Bank Performance Report released Tuesday also noted that the South's farm banks remained profitable in 2016 and capital levels remain high. Farm banks in the South region employ more than 12,400 bankers, an increase of 3.9 percent from the previous year, the report said. Nationally, farm banks increased their agricultural lending by 5.3 percent in 2016 and held $103.4 billion in ag loans at year's end. Read the report here...

Annual Meeting Session Spotlight

Use Your ROR to Increase Your ROI at Your Bank - It's Not Just Who You Know

Economists and business leaders love to talk about ROI - Return on Investment - and well they should. But there is something more. It is called ROR - Return on Relationships. Organizations and leaders that build genuine and lifelong relationships are more successful that those that do not. At GBA's Annual Meeting June 18-21 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Tommy Spaulding will provide you with take-home, practical tools that build relationships to higher and more satisfying levels. These connections bring "ROR" that translates into success, and brings results to any organization. You can access the full convention brochure and register online today. Contact Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010 with questions.

Reminder! 50-Year Bankers to be Recognized at Annual Meeting

GBA is proud to recognize Georgia bankers who have devoted 50 years or more of service to the banking industry. They will be honored at the 2017 Annual Meeting on June 18-21 at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO. Please help us recognize the bankers who have reached this important milestone by sending a letter to GBA's Susie McGehee with the following information:
  • Banker's name and current title
  • Bank name
  • Years of service and brief work history
  • Photograph of banker nominated and the name of the nominating banker.
Please submit information by Friday, May 19.

The Information Security Officer (ISO) Seminar - May 16

Current and prospective ISOs, network administrators and compliance officers can all learn more about the regulatory requirements and internal responsibilities of an ISO at GBA's Information Security Officer seminar May 16th at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Tom Hinkel of Safe Systems will address regulatory expectations as well as reporting to the board of directors, coordinating with network administrators, leading the IT Steering Committee and more. Participants will receive helpful checklists and whitepapers as well as Certificates of Completion. Early-bird pricing of $225 per person ends May 8. Click here to register online. Please contact GBA's Katina Prokos, 404.420.2021 with questions.

Five Reasons to Do the GBA Comp & Benefits Survey

GBA’s annual Compensation and Benefits Survey kicked off this week. Email invitations went to past participant contacts and all other member bank CEOs this week. Need some reasons to take the plunge to participate this year? Try these: 1. There are 52 new jobs included in the 2017 survey for a total of 137 total bank jobs surveyed; 2. New features to make submitting data easier; read the rest here...

Marketing Peer Group - May 24

FinTech Update, ADA Website Compliance & Peer Best Practices Sharing all on the Schedule

Join us Wednesday, May 24, for the next GBA Marketing Peer Group meeting. This peer group meets twice a year. Each meeting is open to marketing officers and any other bank employee with marketing, advertising, public relations, communications and / or community affairs responsibilities. Kicking off the meeting will be a session about Georgia's booming fintech sector and how our state's banks can work with them. Next up will be discussion about the rules for making sure websites are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A Peer Exchange is also scheduled. Click here to learn more and sign up for the GBA Marketing Peer Group…

Bank Executive Panel Back by Popular Demand at Leadership Conference

Come hear a panel of bank executives whose banks have achieved strong results despite challenging times in the financial industry. Panelists Brad Barber, CEO, First National Bank of Decatur County, Bainbridge; Lawton Bassett, president, Ameris Bank, Moultrie, and Susan Keigans, president, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla, will share their methods and philosophies for profitably growing their institutions. Leadership GBA hosts its annual Leadership Conference July 17-20 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. Click here to learn more and register…

Crime and Punishment

Armed Robber Gets 12+ Years in Prison

On July 14, 2015, Lamarlvin Arkeena Watts invaded a Wells Fargo branch in Savannah and threatened to shoot two tellers if they refused to give him cash. He was eventually arrested and found guilty of his crime, and last week he was sentenced to 148 months in federal prison for bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during the commission of that crime. "The U. S. Attorney's Office is committed to targeting and combatting violent crime in our community. Parole doesn't exist in the federal system, and with nearly 125 federal prisons in more than 35 different states, violent criminals prosecuted by this Office should expect to serve long sentences, far away from home," said Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Durham. Read more here...

How Re-vamped 401(k) Plan Designs can Improve Retirement Outcomes

Are employees at your bank prepared to retire with 70 percent of their income? Studies have found that only 25 percent of employees in a typical retirement plan are able to retire at normal retirement age with 70 percent replacement income. More needs to be done to nudge your employees in the right direction. The National Association of Plan Advisors ("NAPA") recently wrote an article explaining a study done by David Blanchett, of Morningstar's Retirement Research division. Click here for highlights…

Online Class Spring Lineup

Mortgage Lending, Fundamentals and CTFA Courses Coming up

Facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. 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 for more details.

GBA Job Bank

New Postitions in Deposit Operations, Small Business Lending 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.

Specialized Marketing and Branding for the Digital Age

Digital marketing channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, blogs, online display advertising, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and mobile marketing are critical for earning new business from today's bank customers. Financial Marketing Solutions (FMS), a Strategic Partner of the GBA, is a niche branding and marketing agency solely serving the financial services industry. FMS can help you solve the riddle of how to attract and retain clients through all digital channels. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.

The Rules on Overdraft Programs Have Changed, but Consumers Still Need a Financial Safety Net

While the overall economic forecast is improving, many consumers remain concerned about unemployment and personal financial issues, ranging from meeting everyday expenses to paying income tax responsibilities. Whether as a result of unplanned expenses or an error in reconciling a checkbook, financial shortfalls can happen to anyone. And without a financial safety net, many consumers often experience difficulty paying their bills, facing costly merchant check return fees when their account has insufficient funds. By providing a user-friendly overdraft program, your institution can help account holders avoid these difficult situations. To provide your account holders with the most up-to-date overdraft solution, your overdraft program should include the following

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…
Point to Point Environmental

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.