Aug. 20, 2021  

Advocacy in Action

Alpharetta and Paulding Rotary, Tax Commissioners’ Tech Group Get Banking Updates

GBA’s advocacy mission to promote the industry to community and other stakeholder groups took us on the road the past couple of weeks. On Aug. 13, GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen was the guest of Quantum National Bank’s Lauri Young at the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, and Tuesday of this week he was the guest of Ford Thigpen, WestSide Bank, a division of The Piedmont Bank, at the Rotary Club of Paulding County in Dallas. Brannen shared an overview of the industry in Georgia and talked about how bankers served as financial first responders during the height of the pandemic. At the Paulding Rotary meeting, Brannen also got to give hometown recognition to Ken Thigpen, Ford’s father, for 58 years of service to the banking industry. Also on Tuesday, GBA’s David Oliver participated in a panel discussion about banking at the Tax Commissioners’ Technology Development Council of Georgia annual conference. He was the guest of Truist Bank’s Charlene Craig. Oliver, Craig and Bill Mitchell of Sam E. Mitchell and Associates discussed how banks and service providers are evolving to continue serving governments and taxpayers by protecting deposits and facilitating secure, accurate and efficient transactions. GBA often speaks to banker and business groups to share the story about banking beyond the headlines. Contact David Oliver, 404.520.6311, with questions.


Young and Brannen Ford Thigpen, Brannen and Ken Thigpen Oliver, Mitchell and Craig


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Women in Banking Conference Leaves Attendees Renewed and Energized

A record crowd of more than 100 women bankers and Associate Members gathered late last week for GBA’s 2021 Women in Banking Conference at Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA. The energy level was high throughout the two-day meeting, which featured a discussion of the banking environment in Georgia, a look at the national political and economic climate, a somber but important session on human trafficking and how financial institutions can do their part to stop it, an executive leadership panel. and GBA’s wellness partner Wellview Health offered strategies to successfully navigate these continuing uncertain times. The GBA Women in Banking Committee led a round-robin session featuring brief but powerful downloads of top things women bankers should know, ranging from financial metrics to culture and community to digital transformation and remote working. The conference ended with a healthy dose of laughter, with comedienne, author and singer Heather Land sharing her hilarious take on love, kids and life during a pandemic. Watch your email and this bulletin in the coming weeks for a date and location announcement for the 2022 conference. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.



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CEO / Leader Updates

Census Details, New Interstate, Civics Info and ATM Security

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

  • Census details: We did some additional analysis on the release of data by the U.S. Census Bureau. More about that below.

  • New Georgia Interstate: The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last week by the U.S. Senate includes provisions that Sen. Raphael Warnock worked with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on to designate the Georgia and Texas portions of the proposed I-14 interstate highway as high-priority corridors.

  • How Government Works: We explained why Georgia Sens. Ossoff and Warnock often may be seen presiding over U.S. Senate proceedings. As the members of the majority party with least seniority, they are often designated by the president pro tempore of the Senate, in the absence of the Vice President, to lead the often tedious proceedings if there aren’t significant bills being considered.

  • ATM Security: We shared some analysis for security teams about recent trends in ATM burglaries and bank robberies.

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


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Crunching the Census Numbers

Here’s some additional census data that may be helpful to you and your teams as you’re entering strategic planning season.

  • The South is the nation’s fastest growing region

  • Georgia is the 8th most populous state with 10,711,908 residents, up 10.6% since 2010

  • The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta Core Based Statistical Area is the 9th largest in the U.S. at 6,089,815 residents. 56.8% of the state’s population reside in this 29-county region

  • Georgia ranked 13th among all states with population aged 18 or younger and first among the southeast states with 2,491,634, or 23.3% of total population, being 18 or younger

  • 92 of Georgia’s 159 counties gained population between 2010 and 2020, while 67 counties lost population, which is in line with a nationwide trend of rural areas shrinking while more urban area populations rise

  • Georgia’s population became more diverse as the White population shrank 1% while the Black population grew 13%, the Hispanic population grew 32% and the Asian population grew 53%

  • Georgia’s total housing units grew by 7.9%

  • At 8.8%, Georgia has the lowest vacancy rate among our neighboring states

  • Living in Group Quarters are 255,178 Georgians, 2.4% of the population.

Here’s a document with more detail about the data, including some charts and tables.


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GBA Member Profile

Consider It Done with Kirk Cavanah

Kirk Cavanah, CAFP CAMS CFCS CRCM, compliance officer for Morris Bank in Dublin, started working with his dad at the age of 14 at a local tire and auto shop, where he learned the value of hard work and finished results. “To this day, I still hold a fearless mindset toward anything considered hard work to ‘just get it done,’ regardless of the challenges or the heat along the way,” Cavanah said. “Fast forward to my time at Morris Bank, I was honored to receive one of the prestigious Code BLUE awards for executing with excellence in 2016, and my favorite part of this accomplishment are the words etched on the glass, ‘Consider it Done!’” The Vice Chair of the GBA Compliance Committee discusses his banking career journey, family life and the joys of the outdoors in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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Georgia Peanut Bank Week – Oct. 11-15

Deadline to Order Bank Week Supplies is Sept. 3

GBA and our friends at the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) want to remind everyone that the deadline to submit orders for Georgia Peanut Bank Week supplies is Sept. 3. Georgia Peanut Bank Week is scheduled Oct. 11-15. This year’s theme is “Georgia Peanuts: Bringing Balance to Your Life! If you have any questions about Georgia Peanut Bank Week or placing your bank’s order, please contact GPC’s Jordan Lunsford at or 229.386.3502. Click here to download an order form.


Download additional Georgia Peanut Bank Week supplies at the links below.


Peanut Bank Week Poster

Peanut Bank Week Recipes

Peanut Bank Week Fact Sheet

Peanut Bank Week News Release


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Pandemic Exam Approach Feedback Sought by FDIC

If your bank has gone through an FDIC exam during the pandemic timeframe, FDIC is looking for feedback about the process. Of particular interest are experiences with off-site examinations that went well. FDIC also is interested in on-site exams, technology and communication efforts. Comments are due Oct. 12. Get more information here.


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Record Year for State Economic Development Efforts

Our state’s economic development efforts paid big dividends during the recently completed 2021 fiscal year. New investments in projects across the state were up by 46%, and job creation increased by 5%, according to information from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD). New investments totaled $10.97 billion, and 33,439 jobs were created in the state through 379 projects supported by GDEcD’s Global Commerce division between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Most new projects and investments were targeted outside a 10-county metro-Atlanta region. Leading industries investing in Georgia included automotive, advanced manufacturing, software/technology, logistics and distribution, and food processing. Get more details here.


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How to Get the Best Read on Compensation Trends

The most in-depth look at compensation data for banks in Georgia is now available. The 2021 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey has been published with fresh data for members about 143 types of bank jobs throughout Georgia. 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. You can read more details in the flyer here.


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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2021 BankPAC Campaign Makes Huge Strides

Since the BankPAC Campaign began earlier this summer, the BankPAC Board of Directors is pleased to see the progress so far and is working to build on this and last year’s record fundraising year. If you have not yet made a contribution to the StatePAC through your bank or from your eligible employees, officers and directors to the FedPAC, please take a look at those contribution forms on our BankPAC webpage for suggested giving amounts. Many thanks to these banks for their contribution to the GBA StatePAC:


  • James L. Flatt, Chairman, President and CEO, AB&T, Albany

  • R. Brent Sammons, President and CEO, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia

  • H. Palmer Proctor, Jr., CEO, Ameris Bank, Atlanta

  • Clayton Braswell, President, ATM Response, Suwanee

  • Barry N. Lyle, President/CEO, Bank of Dawson

  • James E. Kirkley, II, President, CEO and Director, Bank of Hazlehurst

  • Harold R. Reynolds, Chairman & CEO, BankSouth, Greensboro

  • Glenn L. Copeland, CEO & COO, Citizens Community Bank, Hahira

  • Daryn Russell, President & CEO, Commercial Banking Company, Valdosta

  • Ryan Terry Keeter, President, Community Bank of Pickens County, Jasper

  • Greg Herring, Chief Executive Officer, Darnel Quick Recovery, Inc., Covington

  • George W. Johnson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Durden Banking Company, Inc., Twin City

  • John C. Childs, Jr., President & CEO, Exchange Bank, Milledgeville

  • C. Rhodes McLanahan, Chief Executive Officer, First American Bank & Trust Company, Athens

  • John P. Barker, III, President & CEO, First Bank of Pike, Molena

  • Kenneth R. Farrell, President & CEO, First Chatham Bank, Savannah

  • Brad E. Barber, President & CEO, First National Bank, Bainbridge

  • William Scott Curry, II, President & CEO, First State Bank of Randolph County, Cuthbert

  • Scott A. Beeley, President & CEO, Georgia Community Bank, Dawson

  • A. Parrish Clark, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Guardian Bank, Valdosta

  • Charles B. Crawford, Chairman & CEO, Hyperion Bank, Atlanta

  • William P. Langdale, III, Partner, Langdale Vallotton, LLP, Valdosta

  • William R. Walker, President & CEO, Legacy State Bank, Loganville

  • Marjorie Carter, Partner, McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC, Macon

  • Richard Allen Basinger, Jr., President & CEO, Northeast Georgia Bank, Lavonia

  • Timothy Neil Stevens, President & CEO, Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville

  • Kimberli D. Wilson, President & CEO, OneSouth Bank, Blakely

  • Al D. Ross, President/Chief Executive Officer, Pineland Bank, Alma

  • L. Jackson McConnell, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton

  • Susan V. Moss, President & CEO, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla

  • James A. Walker, III, President & CEO, PrimeSouth Bank, Waycross

  • William F. Easterlin, III, President & CEO, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc., Louisville

  • James Al McKinnon, President & CEO, South Coast Bank & Trust, Brunswick

  • Chandler Maurice Beasley, III, President/CEO, The Bank of Soperton

  • Richard A. Whaley, President & CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus

  • Philip G. Williams, President & CEO, The Claxton Bank

  • Michael D. Sale, President & CEO, The Commercial Bank, Crawford

  • Kenneth A. Bibb, President, The Geo. D. Warthen Bank, Sandersville

  • Monty G. Watson, Chairman & CEO, The Piedmont Bank, Peachtree Corners

  • Jenna Kelly, President, North Georgia Region, Truist Bank, Atlanta

  • Jesse E. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, President & CEO, West Central Georgia Bank, Thomaston

  • Hugh G. Lentile, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Wheeler County State Bank, Alamo

And to the following banks whose eligible employees, officers and directors made a contribution to the GBA FedPAC.


  • James L. Flatt, Chairman, President and CEO, AB&T

  • R. Brent Sammons, President and CEO, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company

  • Greg Herring, Chief Executive Officer, Darnel Quick Recovery, Inc.

  • George W. Johnson, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Durden Banking Company, Inc.

  • Brad E. Barber, President & CEO, First National Bank

  • A. Parrish Clark, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Guardian Bank

  • William P. Langdale, III, Partner, Langdale Vallotton, LLP

  • William R. Walker, President & CEO, Legacy State Bank

  • L. Jackson McConnell, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Bank

  • Susan V. Moss, President & CEO, Planters and Citizens Bank

  • William F. Easterlin, III, President & CEO, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

  • James Al McKinnon, President & CEO, South Coast Bank & Trust

  • Richard A. Whaley, President & CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus

  • Philip G. Williams, President & CEO, The Claxton Bank

  • Hugh G. Lentile, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Wheeler County State Bank

With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.372.7893.


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Digital Personalization: 33% Say It’s Not Worth the Risk
By Neal Reynolds, President, GBA Partner

The pressure on banks to really step up their digital experience game is, as we all know, greater than ever. Branch banking, according to some pundits, is probably going away. “Probably” because, honestly, no one really knows, right? That being the case, where does that leave banks? It means there's a huge incentive to ramp up their digital experience through personalization. Click here for some expert perspective on that trend from the team at GBA Partner


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Big Name Added to President/CEO Agenda

Breaking news this week that Nathan Stovall of S&P Global Market Intelligence has been confirmed as an addition to the President/CEO conference agenda. Stovall is highly-regarded throughout the industry by bankers and analysts for his insight into key bank performance trends. Elaine Demarest, Demarest Strategy Group, is working with Stovall to help him customize his insights into Georgia-specific detail. The conference is Sept. 26-28 at The Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Thanks to our sponsors Carr, Riggs,  Ingram; Crowe LLP; Elliott Davis; FHLB of Atlanta; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FNBB; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Company; Nichols Cauley & Associates; ServisFirst Bank; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett. Details and registration access here.


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Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conference Agenda Highlights

Accounting firm leaders, in-house bank accounting leaders, CPAs and anyone at banks or Associate Member firms with legal responsibilities will want to attend the concurrent Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant conferences Sept. 26-28 along with the President/CEO Conference. Some highlights of those agendas:

  • Bank Accountants: A hot topics session to be led by Elaine Demarest, and a session about FASB’s Small Business Advisory Committee with committee member Mike Phillips, CEO of Planters First Bank.


  • Bank Counsel: A session covering current litigation affecting banks and a session on emerging issues that will include fintech partnerships and capital access, among other items.

Register today! Details and registration access here.


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Time to Get on Board for Fall Conferences

Don’t miss out on these upcoming programs:

  • Compliance Conference: Oct. 20-22, St. Simons – All the key technical topics, plus a closing session to guide you on ways to get people to do what you need them to do and, at the same time, increase your enjoyment of your work. Details and registration access here.


  • Financial Risk Management Conference: Nov. 4-5, Atlanta – Georgia’s premier multi-day conference for bank CFOs and finance team members. We’ll cover liquidity, how CFOs can add value to the lending function, ALM issues, how to review municipal credits, capital planning and more. 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.


  • Credit Conference: Dec. 2-3, Atlanta – Georgia’s premier multi-day conference for bank credit and lending professionals. This event, planned by the GBA Credit Committee, covers the full spectrum of 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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November Brings Lending Training

In-person and virtual courses



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Free GBA Partner Webinar, Aug. 24, 2 p.m.

Make Subscription Checking Successful with StrategyCorp

Consumers love buying subscriptions for streaming video and music, food delivery, cosmetics, and many other everyday and lifestyle-related items. The payoff for the subscription model is lucrative in terms of customer loyalty and recurring revenue. On Aug. 24, you’re invited to attend an exclusive, unscripted discussion with executive vice president and chief deposit officer Drew McKone of Howard Bank in Baltimore, MD, and StrategyCorps sales team leader Adam Thompson. Join them as they discuss how Howard Bank designed and built its subscription checking products and the results that are being generated. Click here to register. Contact StrategyCorp’s Ryan Harbry,, 404.819.1438, to learn more.


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Quick Instructional Videos

Ag Lending in the Spotlight

ABA Training Shorts deliver practical, how-to instruction on specific issues in loan modification, marketing, flood insurance, and more. Add these easy-to-reference, quick learning bursts to your training library today. All GBA members may purchase these courses at the ABA member rate. This week’s focus is ag lending:


Agricultural Lending:

  • Converting Cash to Accrual-adjusted Net Farm Income

  • Credit Analysis Enhancements Using an Accrual-adjusted Income Statement and Statement of Owner Equity

  • Importance of Preparing Accrual-adjusted Income Statements

  • Obstacles to Preparing an Accrual-adjusted Income Statement

  • Reconciling Owner Equity for Agricultural Businesses

  • View All Training Shorts

Bankers are encouraged to purchase more than one course to build a library of accessible reference material on topics most relevant to their daily responsibilities. All courses are available for download through ABA’s learning management system. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Join live or purchase a recording!

August Webinars: Vendor Management, Bank Security, Trust Accounts 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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Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

The bank is commemorating its 100th anniversary this year. Read more here.


Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

Kimberly Russo-Alesi has been promoted to executive vice president, controller and deposit operations manager.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

The bank has added three new directors to the boards of Pinnacle Bank and Pinnacle Financial Corporation: Danielle Barron Benson, co-founder of Candid Construction Services; Connie Moore Melear, Chief Financial Officer of RWAllen Construction, LLC; and Ron Bracewell, managing partner of Bates, Carter & Co., LLP. Read more here.


Forsyth - United Bank

Tony Ussery has joined the bank’s Forsyth team as a senior lender.


Forsyth - Persons Banking Company

Brent Collins has joined the bank as a senior lender.


Richmond Hill - Great Oaks Bank

Laura Schlomer has joined the bank as banking officer and Richmond Hill office manager. Monica Easter has been promoted to a mortgage processor serving customers in Pooler and Richmond Hill. Read more here.


Waycross - PrimeSouth Bank

Charles Woodroof has joined the bank’s Glynn County team as a senior vice president, senior lending officer.


Tampa, FL - Central Bank

David Edgar has joined the bank as executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer.


Atlanta - Allied Financial Corporation

Our sympathies to his wife, Ellen, and other family members and colleagues of company chairman Paul Goldstein, who died recently. Paul and Ellen have been fixtures at GBA events over the years going back to Paul’s days with Presidential Financial Corporation. Read more here.


Savannah - Georgia House of Representatives

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Georgia House Representative Edward "Mickey" Stephens, who died on Aug. 14. Read more here.



Citizens Trust Bank Russo-Alesi Benson Melear Bracewell Collins



Ussery Schlomer Easter Woodroof Edgar Stephens



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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