Feb. 26, 2021  

General Assembly Passes Halfway Mark

Legislators continue to move briskly through their 2021 session with this past Monday marking Day 20 of the 40-day session. Floor and committee action continue on a range of issues important to our members such as remote online notary, a new delinquent taxpayer data match regime and the Banking Department’s housekeeping bill. We will publish our weekly Legislative Update with details about these and other issues of interest upon their adjournment for the week on Friday.


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Bank Performance Momentum Built Through Year End

Growth in loans, deposits and assets highlighted the year-end results for the state’s 157 FDIC-insured banks. A look inside the numbers out this week from FDIC shows loans were up 10%, deposits grew by 22%, and assets increased by 17% in 2020. For Georgia’s 150 community banks, the same three metrics had even stronger growth, with loans up 17% and deposits and assets both up 24% for the year. Earnings-wise, while year-end net-income was down compared to 2019, fourth-quarter performance showed building momentum, with fourth-quarter net income for all Georgia-based banks up by 43% compared to fourth quarter 2019, and up 37% compared to the prior quarter’s net income. “If we’ve learned anything by looking at the performance of the state’s banks during 2020, it is that they were well prepared financially and operationally to meet the unprecedented challenges we all experienced. The increases in loans, deposits and assets really highlight how our state’s banks were a source of strength in helping families and businesses manage through the worst of the pandemic. Lower earnings are reflective of lower interest rates, loan deferrals, fee waivers and other customer assistance efforts banks made to help customers through an extraordinary time,” said Joe Brannen, GBA President and CEO in a news release distributed to statewide media. Credit quality remained strong, with noncurrent loan percentages declining slightly. Here are some highlights of the latest data for the full year 2020. GBA’s analysis includes comparative performance of only the banks classified by FDIC as Georgia-based banks at year-end 2020.


Year-to-date through
reporting period

Georgia Banks



$ in 000s

Georgia Banks



$ in 000s




$ in 000s

Number of institutions




Total employees (FTE)




Total loans and leases




Total assets




Total deposits




Noncurrent loans and leases




Noncurrent loans to loans




Net income




% of profitable institutions




% of institutions with earnings




Net interest margin




Return on assets (ROA)




Return on Equity (ROE)





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Remain Alert for EIP, COVID-19 Related Fraud

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Wednesday urged banks to be alert for ongoing economic impact payment fraud. Types of fraud identified include fraudulent checks, theft of EIPs and phishing schemes using EIPs as a lure where fraudsters use emails, letters and phone calls about the payments to get personal information like account numbers and passwords. FinCEN also issued a companion notice for filing suspicious activity reports related to COVID-19. Details here.


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PPP Updates

Actions Taken to Help Smallest Businesses

This week’s significant PPP update was the institution of a 14-day window from Feb. 24 to March 10 during which only PPP applications for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees will be processed. We understand from members this likely won’t have a significant effect on their efforts to serve customers, as most PPP loan applications coming in recently are from businesses with fewer than 20 employees. The Biden administration announced additional changes, as well. Forthcoming rules will revise the loan calculation formula for sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals so that it offers more relief, as well as the establishment of a $1 billion set aside for businesses in this category without employees located in low- and moderate-income areas. There also will be rules eliminating restrictions that prevent small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions or delinquent student loans from eligibility, and clarification about the ability for non-resident small business owners who are lawful residents to use Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers to apply for PPP loans. Our emails to CEOs and key contacts with this information and other time-sensitive details continued this week. Topics included access to preliminary documents, information about the PPP changes announced, Section 1112 payments, PPP data on equity of loans made, and SSAN/EIN updates to SBA’s ETRAN system.


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Vaccine Pre-registration Website Available

Gov. Brian Kemp recently said that vaccine eligibility may become available within a couple of weeks for critical infrastructure workers in the 1-B category, which could include certain bank employees. His remarks came during rollout of four large vaccination sites and the opening of a statewide website that allows eligible Georgians to pre-register for vaccines. Those who are not yet eligible can also sign up to be notified when eligibility is expanded. The Department of Health website is https://myvaccinegeorgia.com/.


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Kirk hosts the

Ops/Tech Conference Stream is a Hit

Member-bank operations and technology pros gathered online this week for their annual conference. The two-day program was filled with useful updates and included lively online chat and question and answer participation. Wednesday’s program included a thorough overview of the nationwide ABA core platforms committee work, a deep dive into how banks can use Microsoft Teams for productivity and a motivational session to start the afternoon. Thursday’s agenda focused on payments, fin-tech partnerships and mobile banking trends. It also featured a regulatory perspectives discussion featuring OCC Chief Innovation Officer Beth Knickerbocker and Melissa Sneed from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. See the full agenda overview here. Operations and Technology Committee Chair Kim Kirk, Queensborough National Bank & Trust, led the meeting, and Co-Chair Dana White, AB&T, facilitated the chat and question and answer features. Big thanks to our sponsors Safe Systems, ATM Response, Conversant Group, Fiserv, Jack Henry Banking, ServisFirst Bank, Southern Bank Equipment and ATMs, STS Group and United Bankers Bank. With questions, contact Alison Moreau.


Dave DeFazio, StrategyCorps,
talks mobile apps

FinTech panel


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Dart Appraisal Offers the Best Custom Appraisal Management Solutions

GBA Strategic Partner Dart Appraisal knows that appraisal management is not a one-size-fits-all process. Dart has extensive experience with community banks that provide about 35 percent of their monthly volume. This has driven Dart to develop the best solutions in the industry. Their expert, national appraiser panel consistently delivers effective results wherever they are called. And, Dart is committed to meeting every one of their client’s specific needs. They can customize solutions every step of the way. Those are just a couple of the reasons why we believe they’re a great choice to be your bank’s appraisal management company. Contact Dart’s Nick Walker today to learn more at 678.486.7508, nwalker@dartappraisal.com.


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How Every Job is Important with Valerie Pendergast

Metro City Bank SVP, Human Resources Manager Valerie Pendergast was inspired by the dynamics of an organization and how every team member makes a difference at her first job at a credit card payment processing center. “I learned that no matter what I do, I must do it to the best of my ability because it reflects on everyone I work with, including the organization itself,” she says. This realization led to applying for a position in HR, which has become her passion. “I enjoy helping people thrive in what they do, having the business succeed with my partnership and implementing a well-thought-out human resources strategy,” she says. The GBA HR Committee Chair shares about going back to college, learning from everyone she has worked with, the resiliency of the banking industry and more in her GBA Member Profile.


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Ways to Tune up Your HR Program

Culture building, employee communication, remote working, retirement and peer networking are on center stage during this year’s GBA HR Professionals Institute, which will be offered entirely in a virtual format on March 24-25, 2021. The GBA Human Resources Committee has planned a series of virtual sessions that will inform and inspire you to meet today's HR challenges. We'll also connect you with your colleagues around the state through virtual networking sessions. It’s a great value, too, with discounted pricing so that more of your HR team can attend on a similar budget. Check it out, and sign up today.


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GBA Annual Meeting Closing Speaker Announced

We’re excited to announce that best-selling author Ross Bernstein will be the closing speaker at the GBA Annual Meeting, June 20-22 at The Cloister at Sea Island.  Bernstein, the author of nearly 50 – yes, we said 50 – sports books, is an award-winning peak performance business speaker who has keynoted conferences on all seven continents. His books have been featured on thousands of television and radio programs over the years including CNN, ESPN, Fox News and “CBS This Morning,” as well as in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. For our GBA audience in June, Bernstein will talk about “The Champion’s Code: Building Relationships Through Life Lessons of Integrity and Accountability from the Sports World to the Business World.” When interviewing more than 1,000 professional athletes and coaches as part of his research for a series of books he was writing, Bernstein discovered that all of them had one thing in common — they were all members of championship teams. In his research, he concluded that the same metrics and characteristics that were common among champions in sports were also common among peak performers in business. Don’t miss what is sure to be a thought-provoking and fun closing session. Registration is open now. Registration is required in order to reserve a hotel room. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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Never Too Small to Target

Cybercrimes are increasingly targeted at small and medium-sized financial institutions. How damaging are these cyber-attacks? What can a small bank do to quickly and affordably reduce the risk of becoming a target? GBA Associate Member Atiba shares how dangerous the threat is and how easy it is to protect your bank. Check out their stats and tips here.


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GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks with Marketing, Branding, Social Media and More

Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, blogs, online display ads, search engine optimization, and search engine and mobile marketing are important for winning new business from today's bank customers. GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, or simply FMS, is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The bank brands and other projects that endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand campaign will accomplish goals, impact the bottom line, affect positive change and be memorable recognizable no matter where your customers are. The GBA has been proud to endorse FMS as a GBA Strategic Partner since 2007. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.


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Marketing Six Pack Virtual Conference

How to Get Creative for Community Outreach

There’s been lots of creativity in the past year for organizations that rely on personal interaction and relationships. Learn how the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce got creative with its member programs as inspiration for fresh ideas to connect with your bank customers and hometowns during one of the Marketing Six Pack Virtual Conference sessions coming up. In our March 23 session, Sara Persing, membership services manager for the Gwinnett Chamber, will share their secrets and identify opportunities she and her colleagues see for banks to deepen community engagement. Persing recently presented their success to an international audience of her peers. 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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Teach Children to Save

Escape Room Challenge Part of New Resources

There’s an updated suite of resources for banks to use in their efforts to encourage good savings habits. The new Teach Children to Save materials from the ABA Foundation include an "Unlocking Savings" presentation, an escape room-style challenge where students learn strategies to encourage savings, and the "Save the Piggy Bank" lesson that features interactive puzzles about unexpected savings. All of these materials, including presentation guides and additional lessons, are available by registering for Teach Children to Save. Registration is free and open to all banks.


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GBA Compliance School May 2-7

Build the Best Base for Compliance Success

The GBA Compliance School will be back in session May 2-7 in Athens. This session will be Year 1 of the program, and will examine the fundamentals required to ensure a solid Compliance Management Program. Whether new to compliance or have been in the profession for years, this program will allow you to examine your program to make certain there are no cracks in the compliance monitoring foundation. Just like every house, routine maintenance is needed to ensure that the structure can weather even the fiercest of storms. The GBA Compliance School Board has lined up an all-star cast of instructors. 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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Registration Opening Soon for Leadership Conference

GBA members and their families are already excited about gathering for GBA’s annual Leadership Conference, July 12-14 at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. Registration will open the week of March 8, with the room block to open concurrently. We’ll send a targeted email to active Leadership program participants and post an announcement on the GBA website. Click here to see the conference agenda. Exhibit and sponsorship opportunities are available. If you’d like to reserve a booth or sponsorship, please contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad. Thanks to these Associate Members who are showing their support for this event through sponsorship: Blue Cross Blue Shield, FHLB of Atlanta, Point to Point Environmental, and Wipfli.



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




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GBA’s In-House Webinars

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



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Join live or purchase a recording!

Upcoming March Webinars - Account Opening, Wire Transfers, UCC 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 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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Blairsville - United Community Bank

United Community Banks, Inc. has named Rich Bradshaw president of United Community Bank, and Bradshaw will also keep his current title of chief banking officer. Lynn Harton will remain chairman, CEO and president of the holding company and CEO of the bank.


Macon - Planters First Bank

Gray Way has joined the bank as a loan officer/portfolio manager based in the bank’s Macon office at 4361 Rivoli Drive. Read more here.


Rome - Greater Community Bank

The bank is celebrating 25 years of service across Northwest Georgia. Read more here.


Savannah - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Tony Gray has joined the bank as assistant branch manager at 216 U.S. Hwy 80 W. in Savannah. Read more here.


Tallahassee, FL - TC Federal Bank

Patricia Griffin has joined the bank’s Tallahassee office as Vice President, Business Development and Private Banking Officer. Read more here.


Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

Glenn Willis has been named chairman of the bank’s Board of Directors and CEO. Brian Ponder has been named vice-chairman. Sam McCard is the new president of South Georgia Banking Company. Donna Watson has been promoted to executive vice-president and Chief Risk Officer. Jessica Gourley has been named the BSA officer. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Joelle Yarbrough, AAP has been promoted to accounts payable and internal control specialist. Gabby Farr has been promoted to deposit operations specialist.


Atlanta - Troutman Pepper LLP

Firm Partner James Stevens was recently named a 2021 Leader in Corporate Citizenship by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Learn more here.



Bradshaw Harton


Gray Griffin


South Georgia Banking





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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