Aug. 13, 2021  

Census Data for Redistricting Released

Georgia is one of only three southeastern states and one of only 14 total states and territories that experienced 10% or higher population growth from 2010-2020 according to new data out from the U.S. Census Bureau. The data also shows the U.S. population continued its shift to more metro areas from 2010-2020. The statistics were part of the bureau’s release of data to be used by states for redrawing congressional, legislative and local district boundaries. The data provide the first look at populations for small areas and include information on Hispanic origin, race, age 18 and over, housing occupancy and group quarters. They represent where people were living as of April 1, 2020, and are available for the nation, states and communities down to the block level. See more details here.


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CEO / Leader Updates

Overdraft Litigation, Infrastructure Bill, Economic Projections and More

Email alert topics for CEOs and other leaders this week included details and resources about the following:

  • Overdraft Litigation: We shared details about several class action suits filed recently against community banks in Georgia related to overdrafts. The suits are primarily breach of contract claims targeting certain types of ACH and “account-positive, settle-negative” transactions.



  • Economic Projections: Dr. Ed Seifried has an updated set of economic projections. The chart contains on one page a five-year history and current statistics of all the major economic indices: forecast indicators, various interest rates and financial indicators, production and business activity, along with prices and financial indicators. Here’s a link.


  • Georgia Stats from Restaurant Relief Fund: The SBA-administered Restaurant Relief Fund was established to provide grants to those businesses and the demand far exceeded the available funding. SBA released a report that showed of the 7,681 Georgia-based applicants who requested grants totaling $1,6 billion, 2,674 were funded for a total of $619.8 million.

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


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Women in Banking Conference is Underway

Here are a few scenes from our Women in Banking Conference that started Thursday. We’ll share details and more photos next week.



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Burnette leads the meeting

It’s All About the Grids at Banking School Board Meeting

The Georgia Banking School Board met this week in Athens to knuckle down on planning for the 2022 school session. Board members, who are peer bankers who volunteer to design the school experience, spent the day reviewing the curriculum for each of the three class groupings, setting faculty members, adding new courses and adjusting others based on student feedback. “We’re fired up about the 2022 session because we are putting some new wrinkles on the course work based on some really thoughtful input from this year’s students. Our May session on campus had the biggest enrollment in 10 years, and we’re looking to build on that momentum,” said Synovus Bank’s Darron Burnette, who is the chair of the Georgia Banking School Board. Invest in your career by registering or make sure your bank is represented by enrolling an emerging career banker. Details and registration access here.


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Four Companies Tabbed for FDIC Tech Competition

One of the companies selected by the FDIC this week to move on to a second phase of a competition on technology to help banks better use data is S&P Global Market Intelligence. The company is a GBA Strategic Partner for its SNL Banker product. For the FDIC program, 33 organizations were asked to create prototypes of new technology to analyze data, improve data structure, portability, processing and support more efficient back-office operations and reporting. In the next phase, S&P Global and the other companies will propose a 'proof of concept' for their technologies and the FDIC will assess their compliance with legal, supervisory and regulatory requirements as well as for security, scalability, operability and marketability. Read more here.


Related: Learn more about SNL Banker here. The product helps banks with risk management, profitability, automation, financial analysis and compliance.


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New Compensation Survey Available

We’ve got fresh compensation intel for members on 143 types of bank jobs throughout Georgia. The 2021 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey has been published and is available for purchase. Compensation data is reported by bank asset size and geographical region, so there are a couple different ways to use it to compare your bank’s data to market norms. Participants may buy the report for $595, and non-participant pricing is $1,375. Anyone who buys the Georgia report will also get a copy of a nationwide compensation survey to be published in September.


How to order: Participants were emailed ordering details from Pearl Meyer’s Rhonda Snyder.


To order a copy, follow the steps in that email. Non-participants may simply email and she’ll get you all set up. With questions, contact Snyder or GBA’s David Oliver


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401(k) Testing Relief through Safe Harbor Design - Time to Review for 2022

Is 401(k) testing limiting what your bank officers can contribute to your 401(k) Plan? Plans that guarantee a 100% match up to 4% of compensation or a 3% non-elective contribution (similar to a profit-sharing contribution) can be exempt from ADP/ACP discrimination testing and even exempt from top-heavy testing depending on different factors. Employees must become immediately 100% vested in all safe harbor contributions. In addition, there is another safe harbor design that ends up with a 3.5% maximum annual match for participants, but has automatic enrollment features built in. The Master 401(k) Plan offered under GBA Retirement Services, Inc., is already set up to accommodate traditional and automatic enrollment safe harbor plans. Companies electing safe harbor options for 2022 must decide by the end of October to allow time for the required amendments and participant notices. Now is a great time to make final decisions about your plan design for 2022. The quarterly sponsor newsletter from Unified Trust Company includes an article with more details on Safe Harbor Plans. Click here to read the newsletter.


Benefits of the 401(k) plans offered through GBA Retirement Services include competitive fees due to size of Master Trust, customized service from GBA staff, personalized managed account solution available for all participants, flexibility and performance of investments and added oversight by having Unified Trust Company as a Discretionary Trustee of each Plan in the Trust. Let us help you review your current plan and compare to what GBA Retirement Services can do for you! Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information on safe harbor plans or for assistance in doing a periodic review and comparison of your retirement plan.


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The King & Prince,
St. Simons

Five Reasons to Attend GBA’s Compliance Conference

The GBA Compliance Conference is Oct. 20-22 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Register today for this premier event for learning and networking. Here are some of the agenda highlights: 

  • National experts from the Troutman Pepper law firm on regulatory updates

  • Pam Perdue will cover vendor management trends

  • A cannabis banking panel

  • Fair lending and UDAAP updates

  • Leadership session: Learn five proven ways for getting people to do what you need them to do and, at the same time, increase your enjoyment of your work.

Yes, there’s much more. Get all the details and register here.


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GBA Associate Member Article – Strategic Risk Associates

Rising Focus on Environmental Social Governance

Environmental Social Governance (ESG) issues continue to climb in importance for many investors and policy makers. There has been a steady increase in regulatory and supervisory activities to monitor climate-related systemic risks and assess their impact on global financial stability. So what are some of the risks posed by climate change to banks? Here are some more notable regulatory developments that banks should pay attention to related to (E)nvironmental climate risk disclosures in the first half of 2021.


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Big Fall Events You Don’t Want to Miss

It’s a busy fall for programs to help members lead their banks. Don’t miss out on these upcoming programs:


  • Sept. 26-28: President/CEO, Bank Counsel, Bank Accountant Conferences – Georgia’s only President/CEO-level concurrent conferences focused specifically on top-management skill-building, intelligence sharing and connections. Details and registration access.


  • Nov. 4-5: Financial Risk Management Conference – Georgia’s premier multi-day conference for bank CFOs and finance team members. This event, planned by the GBA Asset/Liability Management Committee, covers the full spectrum of finance topics essential for ensuring profitably run banks. Details and registration access


  • Dec. 2-3: Credit Conference – Georgia’s premier multi-day conference for bank credit and lending professionals. This event, planned by the GBA Credit Committee, covers the latest market intelligence, credit trends, underwriting, risk management and business development topics essential for growing, thriving banks. Details and registration access coming soon.

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Lending Training for All Levels Coming up in November




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Join live or purchase a recording!

August Webinars: E-Sign, Loan Pricing, Accounting and more!

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

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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:


Dawson - Georgia Community Bank

Bank employees participated in a pep rally to welcome students back to school at Cooper Carver Elementary in Dawson and Lee County Elementary in Leesburg the week of Aug. 2.


Twin City - Durden Banking Company, Inc.

On Aug. 4, bank team members spoke to the Emanuel County Institute work-study students about financial literacy and making sound financial decisions as young adults. Pictured are members of the class, instructor Mrs. Julie Frix, bank officers Michelle Millsaps and Matt Donaldson, and bank president Wade Johnson.


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Atlanta - Colony Bank

Bryan Meadows, credit manager for small business specialty lending, was recently featured on Metro Atlanta CEO discussing working with existing businesses for SBA loan needs. Watch the video here.


Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

James LeBow has been promoted to senior executive vice president and Chief Credit Officer. Jane Skelton has been promoted to senior executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer. Scott Garland has been promoted to executive vice president and senior credit officer.


Chatsworth - First National Community Bank

The First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc. merger with Heritage First Bancshares, Inc., parent company of Heritage First Bank and First National Community Bank, was finalized on July 1. In connection with the closing of the merger, the bank welcomed a new executive team. In addition to Ryan Earnest as president and CEO of First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. and First National Community Bank,  Chuck Thornton has been named First National Bank’s Chief Operating Officer. Brian Abercrombie has been named Chief Financial Officer. Vicki Knight has been named Chief Risk Officer. Eric Shields has been named Chief Credit Officer for the newly-formed company. Michael Baker has been named Chief Banking Officer and Rome market president to round out the First National Community Bank executive team. Legacy Heritage First Bank directors Kenneth Davis, Andrew Heaner, Thad Watters and Ryan Earnest joined by legacy First National Community Bank directors John Waters, Calvin Evans, Steve Fehlenberg, Don Leeper, Brock Matter, Bruce Thompson and Brian Abercrombie have been appointed to the board of directors of the bank with John Waters serving as chairman. Legacy Heritage First Bancshares, Inc., directors Kenneth Davis, Helmut Cawthon, Kimberly Mauer and Ryan Earnest together with legacy First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc., directors assume similar roles on the board of directors of the bank’s holding company, First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. with Kenneth Davis serving as chairman of the holding company board. Read more here.


Rome - River City Bank

Will Wade has joined the bank as senior vice president, commercial relationship manager. Read more here.


Smyrna - Vinings Bank

Diane Adams was elected assistant vice president, private banking officer. Lauren Coleman was promoted to operations officer, assistant BSA officer. Nancy Kovac was promoted to banking officer, SBA processor and closing specialist. Rosalind Nolan was promoted to assistant vice president, loan operations. Cathy Roach was promoted to banking officer, loan administrative assistant. Cynthia Roberts was promoted to vice president, deposit operations. Michael Van Alstine was promoted to vice president, IT administrator. Tabatha Watson was promoted to financial accountant.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Tareasa Harrell has been named senior vice president, SBA director. Read more here.


Atlanta - Cash Transactions LLC

Cash Transactions LLC, also known as CashTrans, is celebrating 25 years serving clients across the U.S. and more specifically the southeast. Read more here.



LeBow Skelton Garland Wade Adams Coleman



Kovac Roach Roberts Van Alstine Watson Harrell



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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