April 23, 2021  

Lending Strength of Community Banks Noted in FDIC Study

With 96% of banks in Georgia classified as community banks by the FDIC, we had particular interest in the FDIC’s latest study on the community banking industry. The FDIC’s most recent report had several interesting takeaways compared to the last update in 2012: 

  • The study shows community banks are a key provider of local funding by making CRE loans, small business loans, and agricultural loans

  • Nationally, there’s been more consolidation among non-community banks as the percentage of those banks declined 36% compared to a 30% decline in the number of community bank charters

  • With higher net interest margins and stronger credit quality, community banks narrowed the return on assets gap compared to non-community banks whose investment activities are a big part of their earnings and not typical among community banks

  • Non-community banks reduced overhead expense percentages more than community banks with that expense reported in 2019 as 2.61% and 2.83% respectively

  • Overall share of total bank assets nationwide for community banks fell to 12% from 15% in 2012

  • The study recognizes constant regulatory changes likely contributed to three developments:

    • Reduction in residential mortgage holdings

    • Consolidation within the sector

    • Increase in the target asset size of de novo banks as reflected in their initial equity capital

  • The study looks at how community banks have adopted different technologies at different rates, with newer technologies such as mobile banking, automated loan underwriting, and online loan applications being no exception

  • More study will be done looking at pandemic-related trends such as opportunities for community banks as more people left urban areas and as emerging technology advancements offered through fintech partnerships unfold.

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House Passes SAFE Banking Act

Our thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the GBA-backed SAFE Banking Act on a bipartisan vote of 321 to 101. The bill will provide clarity to financial institutions serving cannabis entities as made legal at the state level. GBA joined our colleagues from around the country in a joint letter urging passage of the bill. Georgia is among the 36 states that has legalized cannabis for medical or adult use. The safe harbor envisioned by the legislation brings certainty to our members who have been asked to open accounts for growers or processors as licensed by the Georgia Access to Cannabis Commission. Please join us in thanking Reps. Bishop, Bordeaux, Ferguson, Johnson, Loudermilk, McBath, A. Scott, D. Scott and Williams for supporting GBA’s position. Reps. Allen, Carter, Greene and Hice did not support our position and Rep. Clyde did not vote. Please join us in asking Georgia Sens. Warnock and Ossoff to support the bill and use their influence to bring it to the floor for a vote without adding extraneous provisions.


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Advocacy in Action

Resiliency of Industry Message Hits Statewide Audience

The Georgia CEO online publication this week gave us the opportunity to update business leaders around the state about how Georgia’s banking industry is resilient and operating with good momentum in 2021. GBA’s David Oliver emphasized that our state’s banks are in excellent shape to serve families and businesses with lots of access, choice and banks of all types to meet any need as Georgia’s economy continues to emerge from the pandemic period. Watch the message here.


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Resource Review

Details Provided on PPP, Housing Data, Aid Programs and More

We continue to send CEOs, committee members and other leadership-level bankers emails updating them on time-sensitive resources and details on a variety of issues helpful in serving their customers. This week’s topics included: 

If you’d like more information about any of those topics, contact Joe, 404.420.2026.


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GBA Insurance Trust News

Class Action Settlement Info Coming about Blue Cross Case

Member banks and employees participating in GBA Insurance Trust healthcare plans will want to be on the lookout for information about a class action lawsuit settlement. Late last year an Alabama court approved a wide-ranging settlement resolving antitrust claims against Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The case involved class allegations that the Blue Cross organizations conspired to divide the country into service areas and then limited competition among the Blue Cross plans and with their competitors. We’ve notified member HR administrators with the information you and your bank need about the settlement claims process. The settlement website www.BCBSsettlement.com has a robust section of questions and answers. We will continue to monitor developments in the BCBS Settlement and provide you with updates as they become available.


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Is Your Bank Interested in a FinTech Partnership? These GBA Partners are Ready Now

Bank interest in partnering with FinTechs continues to grow. Did you know that these well-known GBA partners already provide solutions using the most innovative technology? Check them all out below, and don’t hesitate to reach out to connect and learn more about how they can help guide your bank’s FinTech strategy well beyond 2021.

GBA Services Inc., is in business to do two things; help you make money and save money. Contact Bo Brannen, bbrannen@gabankers.com, 404.420.2014, with questions about the companies listed above or any other GBA partner that can help you do just that.






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Special Webinar Spotlight: Director Training and Sales Skills

Can’t join live? Recordings are available for one week after each training.



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Teach Children to Save Day, Financial Literacy Month Update

April is Financial Literacy month in Georgia and around the country, and banks across Georgia are participating in a variety of programs in their hometowns. April 22 was officially Teach Children to Save Day, and a number of Georgia Banks are participating. We’re spotlighting efforts of members through our social media channels. If your bank is doing anything special, be sure and share details and pictures with us so we can amplify that as part of our advocacy efforts. Send info to Katina Prokos.


Graphic shared by United Community Bank


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Crime and Punishment

Tifton Bank Robber Gets 72 Months in Jail

Last week, Randy Angelo Hill was sentenced to 72 months in prison without parole by a U.S. District Judge for robbing a Tifton bank in 2018. “The penalty is federal prison time for individuals who choose to commit violent acts of crime that terrorize our citizens,” Peter D. Leary, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in a news release. “I want to thank our law enforcement partners at the federal and local levels who worked seamlessly to quickly arrest the defendant and restore peace to the Tifton community.” Get all the details here.


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Call for Nominations for Group Representatives on Leadership GBA Board of Directors

The Leadership GBA Board of Directors has five open positions for the July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2023, term. These vacancies are in the even-numbered geographical groups around our state (groups 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10). Click here to see the GBA map identifying which towns/counties these groups include. Leadership GBA supports the advancement of career bankers by providing leadership development training, serving as a forum through which career bankers can network and exchange ideas, and assisting bankers in educating the public about banking, personal finance and careers in banking. To be eligible to nominate someone, or to self-nominate, candidates must be active supporters and participants in Leadership GBA-related efforts and events, such as the annual Leadership Conference (participation required), our Leadership Roundtables, BankPAC Golf Classic and Clay Shoot, GBA Legislative Forum and Reception and the Georgia Banking School. To be eligible for consideration, candidates must be aware of the responsibilities involved, have the approval of their CEO, and agree to attend the Leadership Conference. Nominations must be submitted by May 21. Board members are elected at the Leadership Conference, July 12-14, in Ponte Vedra. Click here for the nomination form. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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Peer Discussion Closes Virtual Marketing Conference

Member marketing pros closed out the six-session virtual Marketing Conference this week with a lively peer discussion. Attendees were split into random Zoom breakout rooms in three rapid-fire periods to cover topics they’d submitted. Among the issues they talked about were junior advisory boards, marketing reporting to management, social media engagement success stories, pandemic communications, new ideas for marketing products and more. Thanks to Marketing Committee Chair Lorenda Smith, First National Bank, Bainbridge, committee Vice Chair, Andrea Griffin, First National Bank of Griffin, and the entire committee for their engagement on the topics for the entire series. With questions, contact David Oliver.


Lorenda Smith Jennifer Selman Brian Hunt


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New location: Athens, GA!

The BSA Experience Returns: Only 30 spots available!

We’re teaming up with Terri Sands of Secura Risk Management to present the 3rd Annual BSA Experience! This year’s program was designed to provide the most pressing topics for BSA officers and support teams such as regulatory expectations, emerging trends that impact your daily BSA, increased fraud and changes to the BSA laws and regulation such as the updated FinCEN guidance on Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. This year, we are offering a great program that provides subject matter experts and practical tools to simplify BSA compliance. In addition, each attendee will leave with two certificates to reflect the completion of The BSA Experience. Click here to learn more and register.


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Security Conference is a Wrap

It was great to gather in person for a professional skills conference last week with our member Security professionals. A strong crowd attended and got a full dose of updated information to help them protect their banks, team members and customers. Members learned in-depth details about the latest business email compromise schemes from the FBI’s Todd Renner, PPP and employment assistance fraud from the Secret Service’s Glen Kessler, robbery prevention tactics from longtime expert Carol Dodgen, how banks can help combat sex trafficking from Jeff Shaw of Frontline Response, and an industry and advocacy update from GBA’s Joe Brannen. There was also an extended peer roundtable discussion covering a variety of topics, and a pre-conference overview of key roles and resources for Security Officers, led by Pete Stuart of Morris Bank. See photos from the conference here. Special thanks to Pinnacle Bank’s Jenn Whitmire, who led the meeting as the Security Committee chair this year, and to the wonderful support of our sponsors and exhibitors. Sponsors were STS Group and Wipfli, and exhibitors were ATM Response, CashTrans, CBSI, Dodgen Security Consulting, Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs, and STS Group. With questions, contact Alison Moreau.



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Rural Development and Lending Conference

Small Business Funding Support Session Set

There are a variety of programs to help banks provide support for agribusinesses in need. Holly Hunt from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs will be with us at our Rural Development and Lending Conference, which is May 20-21 at the King and Prince, St. Simons. She’ll share how banks can utilize the Georgia Agribusiness and Rural Jobs Act and State Small Business Credit Initiative programs. We’ll also cover all the key commodity products, get an ag economy update and learn about tech trends. Register for the conference and make hotel reservations as early as people are snapping up capacity quickly at resorts all along the Georgia coast. Get all the details and register here.


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Registration Now Open for Women in Banking Conference


The GBA Women in Banking Committee is excited to announce that Joan Woodward, executive vice president of public policy for Travelers and president of The Travelers Institute, will speak at this year’s Women in Banking Conference, Aug. 12-13, at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, GA. In her session, “Woodward on Washington:  An Economic, Public Policy, and Political Outlook,” Woodward will share an update on her economic outlook and public policy issues facing the new president and congress. She will also discuss what historically low interest rates coupled with high unemployment may mean for your business. Woodward will also share her outlook for the 2022 election cycle and how it might affect tax and trade policy changes, infrastructure reform and financial services policy. Woodward joined Travelers in 2008 from Goldman Sachs to establish The Travelers Institute as the company’s thought leadership and public policy platform. Before her 10-year stint with Goldman Sachs, Woodward served for 12 years as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee working for Chairman Bill Roth, where she was instrumental in creating the Roth IRA. Women bankers, GBA Associate Members, Bank Accountant Bank Counsel section members are encouraged to attend. Click here for registration and hotel information, the complete agenda and more. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Thank you to FHLB-Atlanta; Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford LLP; and McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Company for supporting this event through sponsorship. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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New Programs

Affordable Leadership Series Available

Check out our new offering for early-career bankers, new or developing managers, teams and even more experienced leaders looking for an affordable way to build leadership and personal management skills.  

Each course includes a book, a workbook for a facilitator or self-study and access to a series short online session videos. Each course is $325 per person for up to 10 participants. Orders of more than 10 are discounted at $275 per person. With questions, contact David Oliver.


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New In-Person, Single-Day Programs
Summer Seminars: ISO and New-Account

  • Information Security Officer Seminar – May 19
    Speaker: Tom Hinkel of Safe Systems
    Sponsored by Safe Systems
    Learn more here. 


  • New-Account Documentation and Compliance Seminar – June 16
    Speaker: Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting           
    Learn more here.

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Join live webinars or purchase a recording!
Debt Collection, Fair Lending, Remote Deposit Capture, Teller Coaching and More

Do you have a BankWebinars.com webinar subscription package? Save 10-30% with a subscription package (details here). Use your credits on the webinars below or purchase webinars individually. View the full calendar here. Questions? Email events@gabankers.com

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ABA Online Training

GBA members may access these great programs at the member rates.

  • Certificate Programs (select member option) — More than 20 Certificates across six critical skills categories including Commercial Lending, Compliance, Retail Banking and more


  • Facilitated Online Courses (select member option) — Virtual learning with an instructor and peer interaction, weekly assignments and deadlines. Categories including Retail, Compliance, Executive Management and more


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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.


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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:


Lake Oconee - Exchange Bank

The bank announced that Jack Miller is the 2021 Exchange Bank Scholarship recipient for the Greene County area. Each year, the bank selects three winners for this award, one from each of the communities it serves (Milledgeville, Gray and Lake Oconee)

The bank also recently made a $25,000 donation to St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital through the Georgia HEART program, which helps hospitals enhance access to rural healthcare.


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Atlanta - Bank of America

The bank announced this week that Atlanta Market Executive Jill Toth will be retiring in May. Terri Block has been named the new market executive for the Atlanta local market. 


Cordele - Planters First Bank

Tracy NeSmith has been promoted to vice president, treasury support officer. Cindy Burch has been promoted to assistant vice president, solution center supervisor.


Dublin & McRae - Farmers State Bank & Security State Bank

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Edward Morris, who recently died. Morris was CEO of Farmers State Bank and a director of Security State Bank. He was also an officer and director of Farmers Bancshares, Inc. Morris recently celebrated 58 years of service in banking. Read more here.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Bryan Montgomery recently joined the bank as deposit operations manager. Read more here.


Fitzgerald and Atlanta - Colony Bankcorp and SouthCrest Financial Group
Colony Bankcorp, Inc.  the holding company for Colony Bank, and SouthCrest Financial Group, Inc. the holding company for SouthCrest Bank, N.A., Thursday announced the signing of a merger agreement under which Colony has agreed to acquire 100% of the common stock of SouthCrest in a combined stock-and-cash transaction. Details here.


Gainesville - Peach State Bank

Stephen Starke has joined the bank as senior vice president at the bank’s new Braselton loan office. Greg Barrett has joined the bank as senior vice president, commercial lending.


Hazlehurst - Bank of Hazlehurst

Tracy McClendon has received the Hazlehurst-Jeff Davis County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Leadership Award.


Jesup - First Southern Bank

Raymond Brown has joined the bank as community president.


Monticello - Ameris Bank

Monticello Branch Manager Kim McMichael has been named the inaugural recipient of the Ameris Bank Volunteer of the Year Award.


Valdosta - the former First State Bank and Trust & the Georgia State Senate

Our sympathies to the family, friends and former colleagues of Loyce Turner, who died last week. A founding director of the bank, Turner also served in the Georgia State Senate from 1975 to 1998 as well as countless roles in the community. “Loyce was one of the truly great senators and will go down as one of the best chairmen of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. His knowledge of banking as a director, but also his knowledge of the role banks play recirculating deposits in the form of loans to people of all walks of life instilled in him a passion to serve while ensuring our state’s banking laws were among the best in the country,” said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. Read more here.


Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins

The firm has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2021 honor by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top Workplaces.



Block NeSmith Burch Morris Montgomery Starke


Barrett McClendon Brown McMichael


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 Katina Prokos.

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