Dec. 18, 2020  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from GBA

From our GBA family to yours, we wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays. At the top of our holiday wish list is for everyone to enjoy a festive, safe and memorable season with your families and other loved ones. Unless there is some critical breaking news, we won't be publishing an E-Bulletin next week, so look for our next edition the following week.


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GBA Weighs in on CFPB Small Business Loan Data Rule

We appreciated member feedback that helped us craft a comment letter we filed with the CFPB this week in response to its proposed rule for reporting of certain small business loan data. The bureau’s proposal is how it intends to fulfill its requirement to implement Section 1071 of the Dodd Frank Act. Among our recommendations were a higher asset threshold for small bank exemptions, a simplified definition of a small business and what actually comprises an application. We also urged CFPB to limit the data required to be collected to what’s defined in the statute and eliminate the discretionary items it has added. Read the letter here.


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Pandemic Relief Stimulus Bill Has Helpful Provisions

As the bipartisan bill to provide new pandemic relief and economic stimulus continues to make its way through Congress, we’ve been pleased to see a number of provisions we’ve supported remain in the bill to this point. Among them are a simplified forgiveness application for loans of $150,000 and less; hardest hit PPP borrowers may be eligible for a second loan; hold harmless for lenders; clarification of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advance and its deductibility from PPP loan forgiveness; agent fees are clarified that they are only paid out in the event of a contract between the lender and agent; and whether business expenses paid for with the proceeds of PPP loans are tax deductible. On the downside, the lender fee is reduced to 3% for loans up to $350,000 and 1% for larger loans. Although not yet included, we continue to press for language extending CARES Act troubled debt restructuring relief. Stay tuned for details as negotiations progress.


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Updated Brokered Deposit Rules Finalized By FDIC

The FDIC this week approved changes that modernize its brokered deposit rules. The new rules narrow the definition of “deposit brokers” and introduce an application process for some businesses to receive exemptions under the statue’s “primary purpose clause.” The FDIC also clarified its stance on decades of informal guidance that have explained the agency's opinion about specific deposit-gathering businesses some members work with, and it amended the methodology for calculating the national rate and national rate cap for specific deposit products. GBA has been part of a national task force to help shape these rules for more than two years. Notable milestones coming from the process include the bipartisan passage of S. 2155 in 2018 that included a provision removing the stigma associated with these deposits, which cleared the way for the General Assembly to pass SB 157 in 2019 that we supported giving banks an alternative to accept public deposits without tying up collateral. Here’s a link to all of the FDIC’s details about the updated rules.


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GBA in the News

Sharing a Performance Update, Gratitude for Bankers

The Georgia CEO online business publication this week turned to GBA as a resource for its subscribers about the state of the industry heading in to the new year. In a short video, GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen highlighted loan and deposit growth by the state’s banks, how well credit quality has held up during the pandemic and that bankers remain ready, willing and able to work with their customers facing hardships. He also put the spotlight on bankers for all you’ve done as the community’s economic first responders this year. Watch the video here.


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Conference Covers the Credit Waterfront

Our presenters and guests left no stone unturned about the current state of credit conditions in Georgia during GBA’s Credit Conference last week. Credit officers and lenders from across Georgia took part in person and virtually. The first day of the conference focused on several market sectors, leadership and regulatory issues. John Hunt of ViaSearch shared how resilient the housing market in Georgia has been during the pandemic during the pre-conference session. The conference’s first full session focused on leadership, with Laura Hope Whitaker of Extra Special People in Watkinsville told the story of how she strives to lead her organization for kids with special needs through compassion, culture and courage. Synovus Bank’s Cal Evans stepped up to give a detailed look at all the key commercial real estate market segments, and Jeffrey Harvey and Tripp Cofield of Georgia Farm Bureau teamed up for an overview of ag market conditions and advocacy issues. The afternoon also featured a very candid regulatory panel discussion led by Mark Kanaly of Alston and Bird. Panelists were Georgia Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler, FDIC’s John Henrie, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Mike Johnson and the OCC’s Jason Sisack. Friday’s agenda began with an industry and advocacy update from GBA’s Joe Brannen, which was followed by a look at loan portfolio management best practices by Cadence Bank’s Mike Allen, who is also on the Georgia Banking School Board of Directors and is President-Elect of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. CenterState Bank’s Chris Nichols showed off some of the latest technology available for lenders, and the conference concluded with an entertaining economic update from Kennesaw State University’s Roger Tutterow. The GBA Credit Committee, under the leadership of committee Chair Stacy Brantley, Morris Bank, and Vice-Chair Philip Bernardi, Oconee State Bank, planned the conference and served as hosts during the event. Thanks also to Mark Faas of Point to Point Environmental for exhibiting and sponsoring, as well as to the other sponsors; Steve H. Powell & Company, Truist, CRS Data, CSRA Business Lending, ServisFirst Bank, First National Bankers Bank and Wipfli. With questions about the conference, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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FDIC Community Banking Study

Community Bank Sector Shows Continued Strength

Commercial real estate, small business and agriculture lending continue to be strengths for the nation’s community banks, and overall, the sector’s performance and financial stability during the past eight years continues. Those are some of the key findings in the FDIC’s 2020 Community Banking Study published this week. Related to key lending categories, while community banks account for just 15 percent of the banking industry’s total loans, they hold 30 percent of all CRE loans, 36 percent of small business loans, and 70 percent of agricultural loans, the report said. The report is the first update in eight years on the FDIC’s inaugural Community Banking Study. Added to the 2020 study are sections on regulatory and technology trends, and it retains the definition of a “community bank” established in the previous report, which takes into account a bank’s business plan, geographic footprint and number of branches.


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GBA Staff Service Anniversaries Recognized, Record Donation Made to ESF

On Monday, GBA staff members gathered virtually to celebrate the holidays and recognize employees celebrating work service anniversaries: GBA Insurance Trust President and CEO Dan Thomason, 36 years; SVP, Government Relations Elizabeth Chandler, 24 years; Director of GBA Retirement Services Mandy Richards, 23 years; Director of GBA Member Services Bo Brannen, 11 years; and COBRA Administrator Lindsey Hawkins, 5 years. Additionally, it was announced at the meeting that GBA employees contributed $1,675 in support of the Empty Stocking Fund (ESF), which provides toys and gifts to disadvantaged children during the holiday season and other essential supplies throughout the year to support social and emotional development and academic success. The GBA team was proud to surpass last year’s fundraising.


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Want to Pay Now for GBA 2021 Programs and Events? We Can Help You Do That!

With year-end approaching, we’ve heard from a number of members that they have education dollars they need to spend in this calendar year. If your bank or company has training and development funds budgeted for 2021, and you’d like to pre-pay now, we will be glad to invoice you for registrations, sponsorship, or exhibiting at any 2021 events we’ve got on the calendar. Click here for a list of key events already confirmed. To make arrangements, just email, identify the events you know you want to attend, and we’ll get an invoice to you. If you would like to discuss your 2021 plans, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Office Depot Flash Sale Includes PPE -- Stock Up and Save Big!

We are excited to share that Strategic Partner Office Depot has selected the GBA to be part of a huge flash sale to end the year. GBA members may access additional steep discounts on a number of popular items, including PPE (see below) and other office and break room essentials. Click here to get pricing and SKUs. For more information contact Issac Mares,, 855.337.6811 x12878.

Not an Office Depot customer? Register for an account at, or contact


Item #4802553

3-Ply Pleated Disposable Face Mask, 50 Per Box, Carton Of 40 Boxes

Regular Price - $1,199.00

Flash Sale Price - $480.00


Item #7744651

Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer, Unscented, 1 Gallon, Case Of 4 Bottles and 4 Pumps

Regular Price - $139.96

Flash Sale Price - $90.00



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Boost Your Career with GBA Schools

The Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School both will be back in session May 2-7 in Athens. The Georgia Banking School Board and GBA Compliance School Board have made some tweaks to the curriculum that students are sure to enjoy, and we’re making some contingency plans for modified in-person sessions or a quality virtual experience in the event the pandemic persists into next spring. There’s no better way for a career-oriented banker to boost his or her career. So, here are some action items for getting enrolled:

  • CEO action – Identify emerging talent and allocate budget so you can have a representative at each school

  • HR officer action – Take a look at specific development plans to identify candidates

  • Alumni action – Recruit your teammates or colleagues at other banks by sharing how the programs helped your career

  • Banker action – Enroll early, you will be able to adjust registration if necessary based on public health restrictions or program changes.

Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here

GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here


With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Sure as Shootin’! Don’t Miss GBA State BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament

Leadership GBA will host its fourth-annual Sporting Clays Tournament Feb. 11 at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta (Lake Oconee). We’re really looking forward to getting together, being outside and showing support for GBA’s State BankPAC*. Registration is open, so click here to reserve your spot. Invite fellow bankers, customers, prospects, directors, and legislators to join you (non-members welcome). It’s $500 for a four-person team and $150 for an individual. Or, register a team and get a Stand Sponsorship for $700 (save $150). You may opt to support the PAC through sponsorships ranging from $250 - $1,000. Click here for sponsorship details. Sponsors will be recognized in event and promotional materials, on on-site signage, and at the event. We look forward to seeing you at the tournament! Thanks to ATM Response, FHLB of Atlanta, and Haberfeld for sponsoring!  Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with any questions. 


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level office such as the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor’s office and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  Contributions can be made from an individual, from bank funds if you are a state-chartered bank or from a national bank holding company if the contribution is made from funds other than those resulting from the operations of the national bank.


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Remote Work: How Banks Can Build and Lead a Team – Jan. 21

We’ve been navigating uncharted waters for months now and remote work looks like it’s here to stay. While remote work is new to so many of us -- it’s not new to BELAYBELAY has been growing a successful company through remote work for over 10 years and is proud to lead the charge in disrupting the status quo by dismantling the ‘way things have always been done.’ Join Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s vice president of human resources, on Jan. 21 as she shares answers to some of the most asked questions regarding remote work in this new webinar:

  • How do you measure productivity in a remote environment?

  • What traits indicate a person can work remotely?

  • How can managers support employees who work remotely?

  • Is remote work sustainable for my bank/company long term?

Register here (only $99 per person through Jan. 7!) Questions? Email Jenna Lynn Warner.


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A Tricky Year for Farmers and Agriculture Lending: 3 Key Takeaways from Abrigo

The coronavirus pandemic has created turbulent conditions for ag lending in 2020, so understanding credit risk in current loan portfolios and effective pricing will be keys to solid returns for ag lenders in 2021. Lending conditions improved in the third quarter as loan repayment rates and farm income stabilized with help from government programs and rising commodity prices. However, despite rising sentiment among farmers and some ag lenders, the highly uncertain outlook for the U.S. economy and agriculture finance warrants caution in agricultural lending activities. GBA Associate Member Abrigo recently shared a helpful article covering the following three key takeaways of the pandemic impact this year:

  • For solid ag lending returns, focus on assessing credit risk in current portfolios and effective pricing.  

  • Sentiment rose in 3Q, but the highly uncertain outlook warrants caution in ag lending activities.

  • Leverage the low interest rate cycle and your ability to fund loans affordably when pricing ag loans.

Click here to read the complete article.


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Do You Have Unused 2020 Budget Dollars?

Save 10-30% with a webinar subscription package - details here!

Purchase a webinar subscription package now as you prepare for next year. How much does your financial institution spend on training? With a Webinar Subscription Package from, we can help you greatly reduce that expense. With over 300 titles available, GBA partners with as your one stop shop for all your webinar needs! View the full calendar of upcoming virtual offerings here. Benefits of a Webinar Subscription Package include:

  • Credits do not expire

  • Shareable for your entire institution

  • Simplify your budgeting process

  • Lower rate than purchasing individual webinars

  • Ability to choose Live, OnDemand, or CD registrations

  • Over 300 webinars to choose from each year

With questions, email


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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:


Claxton - The Claxton Bank, South Georgia Bank and Tippins Bank

The Claxton Bank won the inaugural “Battle of the Banks” benefiting the Evans County Christian Food Bank. Tippins Bank and South Georgia Bank also participated in the friendly competition to help stock the local pantry.

Sandersville - The Geo. D. Warthen Bank

The bank has utilized their drive-through for children to come see Santa while staying socially distanced.

Savannah - First Chatham Bank

The bank recently helped sponsor Manna House Ministries, a local food pantry, and its Thanksgiving “Boxes of Hope” project. Employees raised funds to sponsor the event and were able to provide a Thanksgiving meal box to 1,500 deserving families.

The bank also supported Union Mission by providing Christmas gifts for homeless families. Bank employees collected gifts during their recent Thoughtful Thursday event, part of the bank’s Christmas Treat Week.

Suwanee - Quantum National Bank

The bank recently made a donation to the No Limits Community Development Corporation.


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Birmingham, AL - Cadence Bank

Correspondent Banker Tom Kennedy has joined the bank as senior vice president in its Financial Institutions Group. He'll be based in Birmingham, but is responsible for expanding the bank's correspondent banking services throughout the Southeast, including Georgia.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Jenny Wofford has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Banking. Read more here.


Columbus - Synovus

Chairman and CEO Kessel Stelling will move into the role of executive chairman of the board on or about April 21, 2021, in conjunction with the company’s annual shareholders meeting. President and COO Kevin Blair has been named to succeed Stelling as CEO on that same date and has also been named to the Synovus Board, effective immediately. Read more here.


Gainesville - Peach State Bank

Candice Nanney has joined the bank as Vice President and Controller. Read more here.


Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County

SBA Manager Reece Sanford was recognized by the Coleman Report as the 2020 Emerging SBA Lender of the year (under 40). Read more here.


Savannah/Atlanta - Carver State Bank/Citizens Trust Bank

Carver State Bank acted as the lead aggregator for a syndicate of 11 of the nation’s 18 black-owned banks, including Citizens Trust Bank, which recently came together to refinance a $35 million loan for the construction of a new Atlanta Hawks practice facility. Read more here.


Suwanee - Quantum National Bank

Guerry Norwood has joined the bank as a Cash Management Business Development Officer.


Atlanta - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)

ACE announced this week it has received the largest contribution in its 20-year history, a $5 million unrestricted gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Read more here.


Atlanta - Jackson Spalding

The agency earned a five-star rating on Forbes' independently vetted list of the best PR agencies in the country for 2021. Read more here.


Washington, D.C. - Promontory Interfinancial Network/IntraFi Network

The fintech has changed its name to IntraFi Network and adopted new names for its suite of financial services, which until now have included CDARS®, Insured Cash Sweep®, Insured Network Deposits®. Going forward, the company’s deposit products will be consolidated into IntraFiSM Network DepositsSM and its funding products will become IntraFi FundingSM. Read more here.



Kennedy Wofford




Sanford Norwood


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 Katina Prokos.

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