Feb. 19, 2021  


General Assembly Session Rolls Along

It was another active week for banking-related legislation in the Georgia General Assembly. There were four banking-related bills that saw specific action, with three passing the House and one passing the Senate. Included in those were bills by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe); HB 111 that is the DBF housekeeping bill, and HB 90 that limits damages for certain causes of action brought for conversion of timber and is intended to align the tort statute with the UCC and protect good faith buyers in the ordinary course of business. There were also 10 new bills of interest introduced. Also, our support for HB 334 by Rep. Joseph Gullett (R-Dallas) that creates additional ways to notarize documents by electronic means was noted in the news this past week. GBA recently signed on to letter supporting the bill by a coalition of businesses and groups that also includes insurance companies, mortgage lenders, online document providers, credit unions and other online lenders. Read the story here.


Be on the lookout for all the details in our Legislative Update email we’ll send out separately.


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Advocacy in Action

Members Introduced to Rep. Nikema Williams

We appreciate freshman U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA5) for squeezing in a virtual meeting with GBA members from her district and the GBA Executive Committee this week. Williams took a few minutes to introduce herself, describing her youth growing up in a small Alabama town on a farm that had no running water, and we were even treated to a brief cameo by her young son, who took a break from his Lego project to check in on his mom’s work. Williams was elected to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Lewis, and she pledged to continue his work to focus on helping constituents in the district, in particular those most in need. Williams is serving on the House Financial Services Committee and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion subcommittee. And, her brother is a banker who works for a GBA member bank, so she’s eager to understand issues of importance to bankers. Members on the call updated Rep. Williams about efforts to provide access to PPP loans to small and traditionally underserved businesses, challenges they’ve had in helping customers access the loans, fintech issues and concerns, ideas for growth in the industry and more. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Analysis of Detailed PPP Data and other Updates

We continue to monitor how member efforts to make PPP loans are helping Georgia small businesses. SBA published some updated loan-level data for the program late last week that includes all loans since the beginning of the program last year through Jan. 31. The results are impressive:

  • 190,165 loans approved to GA small businesses

  • $16,045,084,844 in funding committed.

  • Wages and benefits of more than 1.9 million jobs covered

Also, of note, nationally since PPP's inception:

  • 94% of all PPP loans are for less than $250,000, totaling 50% of loan volume

  • Only around 10% of borrowers are completing optional questions related to race, gender and veteran status

  • Of the loans made:

    • banks having assets less than $10 billion account for 28%

    • banks with assets between $10 and $50 billion have made 17%

    • banks with assets greater than $50 billion have made 25%.

SBA also updated its data specifically about the latest round of PPP lending that began this year through Feb. 15. Loan activity in Georgia picked up substantially since last week’s data release. Here are the stats:

  • 51,025 loans approved

  • $2,883,623,048 committed

  • Georgia now ranks 7th in total loans and 12th nationally in total loan volume

  • Average Georgia loan size is $56,514 compared to the national average of $75,133.

Our emails to CEOs and key contacts with this information and other time-sensitive details continued this week. Topics included a breakdown of PPP loans made within each Georgia U.S. Congressional district, employee retention tax credit eligibility, SAM.gov registration information, Gov. Kemp’s recent executive orders and a link to the state’s vaccine distribution tracking dashboard.


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BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament a Big Success

A huge shout-out to the almost 80 bankers, associate members and guests who came out last Thursday for a fun day of sporting clays and fellowship in support of the GBA State BankPAC*. We can’t thank our Leadership GBA Board of Directors enough for their participation in the shoot and volunteering onsite. Here are the top scores for the event.


First Place Team: Durden Banking Company, Score: 346

Wade Johnson, G.W. Johnson, Kirk Rocker and Perry Suggs


Second Place Team: Pinnacle Bank, Score: 316

Sam Lamont, Jody Porter, Adam Willis and Dustin Young


Third Place Team: The Citizens Bank of Americus, Score: 312

Justin Johnson, Danny Minick, Caleb Stephens and David Young


Long Bird Contest Winner: Holt Barwick, Bank of Soperton Team


Colored Target Contest Winner: Caleb Duvall, Bank of Madison Team


Cotton Drop Contest Winner: David Mullinax, River City Bank Team


Perfect Score of 100: Justin Johnson, The Citizens Bank of Americus team


We’d like to also thank our event sponsors: ATM Response; Bank of Madison; CashTrans; Citizens Bank of Americus; Community Banking Company of Fitzgerald; CSRA Business Lending; Darnel Quick Recovery, Inc.; Fenimore, Kay, Harrison and Ford; FHLB of Atlanta; Guardian Bank; Haberfeld; Peach State Bank & Trust; Pinnacle Bank; Point to Point Environmental; Securitas Financial Services; South Coast Bank & Trust; The Element Group; United Bank; Waycross Bank & Trust; and WB&T Bankshares, Inc.


* 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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Registration Now Open for GBA Annual Meeting

We’re excited to announce that registration for GBA’s 129th Annual Meeting is open. We are looking forward to a special Georgia homecoming June 20-22 at The Cloister at Sea Island. Bank executive teams, directors, GBA Strategic Partners, Associate Members, Bank Counsel Section Members, Bank Accountant Section Members, and your families are invited to attend. Click here to see our new website for the Annual Meeting – be sure to click around to all the pages for everything you need to know about this year’s meeting, including the agenda, hotel information and to register. Here are three important reminders:

  • Meeting registration is required before you can reserve a room. Your registration e-confirmation will include reservation instructions and the GBA code and reservations link.

  • Registration for optional activities, golf outing, and spouse program will open in March. Watch for an email announcement on that.

  • GBA has adopted a new registration software platform and we’re excited to be using it for Annual Meeting. We welcome feedback about your registration experience so we can continue to serve you better!

Questions about the annual meeting or registration? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.



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The Tradition Continues

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 industry every year at our Annual Meeting and throughout the year with personal or virtual visits to hometown recognition ceremonies when possible. Help us add to the growing list we’re already compiling for recognition this year’s 2021 Annual Meeting at the Cloister on Sea Island. If you know or are someone who is hitting the milestone this year, please let us know! Please send an email to GBA’s Kathy Friestad with the following information:

  • Banker’s name and current title

  • Bank name

  • His/her years of service and brief work history

  • Photograph of banker nominated and the name of the nominating banker

  • Details about any scheduled recognition events planned by your bank.

Please contact Kathy at 404.420.2024 with questions.


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Feb. 23, 3-3:45 p.m.

GBA Partner Livestream: Optimizing Retail Checking Performance with StrategyCorps

Retail checking products are absolutely essential to stay connected with your customers, particularly as the checking relationship moves towards being more digital. Please join new GBA partner StrategyCorps on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. for a free live stream event. We know you are busy and that you get a million webinar invites in your inbox each day. That is why this live stream event will be short (45 minutes) and sweet. The content will address:

  • Best practices to identify and retain your primary customers or members and smartly reacquire non-primary ones

  • Learn to intelligently install the most popular method consumers prefer to buy things: the subscription pricing model

  • Discover a simple lineup that appeals to every checking buyer type — one your front-line personnel can easily understand and sell

Click here to register, or contact StrategyCorps’ Regional Director Ryan Harbry, ryan.harbry@strategycorps.com, 404.819.1438.


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Foreclosure Moratorium, Mortgage Forbearance Extended

The Biden Administration this week extended through June 30, 2021, foreclosure moratoriums and mortgage forbearance on loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Agriculture, and those insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Borrowers who entered forbearance before June 30, 2020, can now request two additional forbearance extensions in three-month increments. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced similar extensions last week for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. More details here.


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Fraud Alert from OCC on Inheritance/Beneficiary Scam

Bankers are urged to be on the lookout and help customers avoid getting scammed by an email message claiming to be from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) about inheritance/beneficiary funds. The scam informs the recipient that a REVENUE TRANSFER ORDER CERTIFICATE/CLEARANCE IDENTIFICATION PIN is required to allow for a purported transfer of funds. Any communication claiming that the OCC is involved in holding any funds for the benefit of any individual or entity is fraudulent. The OCC does not participate in the transfer of funds for, or on behalf of, individuals, business enterprises, or governmental entities. Get more details on the scam and how to report cases here.


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Crime and Punishment

Serial Bank Robber Gets 90 Months in Jail

Jason Arnold of Columbus has been sentenced to 90 months in prison and three years of supervised release for committing three bank robberies in 2020. “Arnold is a career criminal who menaced the Columbus community with repeated bank robberies and who will now face the consequences for his crimes — federal prison without parole,” Peter D. Leary, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in a news release. Get all the details here.


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Your Bank’s Discover Debit Card will be Customers’ First Choice When They Pull Out Their Wallet

A robust debit card portfolio can help you generate more revenue right now. Has your bank’s debit card program been on autopilot for too long? VISA and MasterCard will likely fight to keep your business, but Discover Debit wants to invest in your bank, your customers and your community. By implementing Discover’s debit card program, you will realize an immediate impact on your interchange income and expense. Discover® Debit is the only program that delivers superior economics, simplified rules, fee transparency and unmatched program flexibility. To find out more, contact Jim Lumadue jimlumadue@pulsenetwork.com, 716.743.0118.


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Volunteer or Nominate a Fellow Banker to Serve on a GBA Committee or Board

Looking to get more involved with GBA, but not sure how? Right now, GBA is looking for bankers and associate members to share their time and talent on our committees/boards (or to nominate a fellow banker or member). The 300+ GBA members who serve on one of our 23 committees or boards can attest to the value and benefit of being involved, in-the-know and connected. Plus they serve thier professional association by working together to promote the general welfare and usefulness of banking in Georgia. The time commitment for most committees and boards is manageable, and our members tell us they get so much more out of the experience than they are required to give. Take a look at all the opportunities by clicking here. You can also access the volunteer/nomination form through that link. The volunteer deadline is March 31, and committee assignments will be made before July 1 for the upcoming program year. Have questions? Contact GBA’s David Oliver.  Also, we’ll be glad to connect you to a current committee/Board member who can answer your questions.


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Scenes from the 2019

Women in Banking Committee Begins Planning 2021 Conference

The GBA Women in Banking Committee, led by Martha Brown, Planters and Citizens Bank, and Cristi Donahue, Oconee State Bank, met virtually earlier this month to kick off planning for the 2021 Women in Banking Conference. The conference is for Aug. 12-13 at Chateau Elan in Braselton. Session content will include an economic update, an important session on human trafficking and how Georgia’s bankers can make a difference, a session on the “mental health sandwich” challenge that a growing number of families are facing when handling both children/teens at home and aging parents, and we’ll have more. This year’s conference will start with a boxed lunch on Thursday and conclude at noon on Friday, and attendees will enjoy an opening reception, networking time, and six educational sessions designed to inform, inspire and reinvigorate. Registration will open in mid-April, so watch for an announcement in the GBA e-bulletin and we’ll send an email to all past attendees. If you haven’t attended before and would like to be added to our email list, email GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Nationally-Recognized Faculty Ready to Lead

Register for Compliance School - Year One - Building the Base

GBA Compliance School will be back in session May 2-7 in Athens. The GBA Compliance School Board has lined up an all-star cast and this proves to be the best session yet. Faculty includes:

  • Jim Bedsole, Chief Compliance & Risk Officer, BankSouth

  • Patti Joyner, CRCM, founder Financial Solutions

  • Andre’ Kennebrew, Consultant, Chick-fil-A Corporate

  • Carl Pry, Managing Director, Treliant

  • Pam Perdue, SVP, Chief Compliance Officer, Heritage Southeast Bank

  • Kenneth Simmons CRCM, CAMS-Audit, FCI, Compliance & AML Solutions, LLC

  • Thomas Williams, SVP, Senior Compliance Manager (CRCM), United Bank

GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here


With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Marketing Six Pack Virtual Conference

Amber Farley to Share Secrets for Optimizing Social Media

Perhaps the most requested marketing topic we’re asked to help members with is social media, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear from nationally acclaimed expert Amber Farley about how to turbo charge your bank’s social media presence. Farley, who speaks to national audiences frequently on the topic, will present as part of our Marketing Six Pack Virtual Conference. She also happens to be the EVP of Emerging Media for GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, so she’s one of our favorite peeps. Here’s the full lineup of sessions happening on six consecutive Tuesdays from 10-11 a.m.: 

  • March 16: LinkedIn: Personal Branding for Professional Success

  • March 23: Creative Ideas for Digital Networking and Community Outreach

  • March 30: 10 Tips to Optimize Your Bank’s Social Media Presence

  • April 6: Leveraging Technology to Drive Marketing Success

  • April 13: How to Become the Resilient Leader Who Thrives During a Crisis

  • April 20: Peer Sharing and Roundtable Discussion Session

At only $295, this conference series is a tremendous value. Get all the details and register here.


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Sponsor Recognition

Virtual Operations & Technology Conference is Next Week

A huge shout out to our sponsors - we appreciate their support!


Emerald Sponsor




Gold Sponsors






Silver Sponsor



It’s not too late to register! Here is the current agenda. We’ve discounted the price to $295 so even more members of your team can take advantage. With no travel involved and hours of unique programming, this virtual event is an incredible value. Most, if not all sessions, will be recorded and available for viewing for a limited time after the event. And we have set up a special LinkedIn group for participants to encourage networking and connections in the virtual space. See more details and register here. With questions, email Alison Moreau at amoreau@gabankers.com.


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Click below for more details and some special offers from three GBA Strategic Partners:




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Free eBook: Managing Origination Costs During an Uneven Recovery

Is your bank looking for ways to proactively manage market volatility and fuel cost-effective growth in your mortgage operations? Download the latest eBook from our partner, Promontory MortgagePath today. Click here or on the image below to download your free copy.



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GBA’s March In-House Webinars




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Upcoming Webinar Hot Topics in 2021

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 for dates, times and more programs.

Questions? Email events@gabankers.com.


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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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Albany - Colony Bank

Heath Gilbert has joined the bank as senior vice president, regional credit officer in the Albany market. Read more here.


Cartersville - Century Bank of Georgia

Laurel Ferguson has been promoted to deposit operations officer. Read more here.


Dudley - Bank of Dudley

Vicki Thompson has been promoted to loan processing officer.


Eastman - Great Oaks Bank

Gene Haskins has joined the bank as interim middle Georgia division president. Read more here.


Greenville, SC - United Community Bank

For the eighth consecutive year, the bank was named to Forbes list of America’s Best 100 Banks, maintaining its top 25 ranking. The bank was also named to Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers where it ranked in the top 20 in the banking and financial services category. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Jamie McFalls has been promoted to assistant vice president - network administrator. Diaundra Walton has been promoted to vice president-deposit operations.


Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC

The firm has been designated as a HITRUST Authorized External Assessor and is now approved to provide services using the HITRUST CSF, a comprehensive security framework that addresses the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing organizations in order to comply with healthcare (HIPAA, HITECH), third-party (PCI, COBIT), government (NIST, FTC) and other industry specific regulations and standards. Read more here.


Danbury, CT - Promontory MortgagePath LLC

Savita Ilango has joined the company as chief financial officer.



Gilbert Ferguson


McFalls Walton Ilango



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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