February 3, 2017 

GBA Priority Bill Introduced; Busy Week for the Legislature

Our thanks to Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) for introducing HB 192, legislation designed to give bank and other corporate directors gross negligence protection in lawsuits involving their decision-making process. The legislation addresses the results of recent court decisions and a jury trial involving the officers and directors of Buckhead Community Bank. Here’s a link to more information about the need for the legislation. Original cosponsors of the bill are House Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington); House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs); House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jay Powell (R-Camilla); House Majority Caucus Chairman Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin); House Majority Caucus Secretary Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) and House Majority Whip Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville). GBA’s other priority bill, HB 143 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), was heard in the House Banks & Banking Committee chaired by Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia). The bill is mostly the result of the public-private Code Review Task Force coordinated jointly by GBA and the Department of Banking and Finance and will be voted on when the committee meets again next Wednesday, Feb. 8. It was an active week with bills being introduced of interest to bankers ranging from making the foreclosure process more difficult to the electronic filing of certain civil proceedings. We’ll cover all this and more in the full Legislative Update being published later today. On a side note, GBA was delighted to be one of the co-hosts for the annual joint dinner for the Agriculture and the Game, Fish & Parks Committees. The work of these committees related to Georgia’s number-one industry, agriculture, is incredibly important and we wanted to show our support on behalf of all Georgia bankers for them and the agriculture industry they oversee. The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week and legislators will return for the next three weeks to meet on a Tuesday through Friday schedule. The legislators voted to complete this year's session on March 30.


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Last Call for Women in Banking Conference  - Feb. 9-10

You still have time to register GBA’s Women in Banking Conference Feb. 9-10 at the Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta. You'll learn about the state of the economy, hear a banking legislative update, find out how to plan for a crisis, hear from experts about leadership, sample effective communication styles to convey confidence and much more. Take a peek at the conference brochure here.  Don’t miss out! Sign up by clicking here.  With questions contact GBA's Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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GBA Supports Perdue Nomination to Head Ag Department

This week GBA joined a huge group of national and state organizations officially supporting former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s nomination to be the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. In a letter to the heads of the Senate committees that will hold confirmation hearings for Perdue, the groups noted that Perdue would be only the third Secretary of Agriculture since the post’s inception in 1889 who actually lived and worked in agriculture as an adult. “Given his background of growing up on a diversified row crop and dairy operation in Central Georgia, his service in the United States Air Force, and his background in founding three agribusiness firms supplying services to farmers, Gov. Perdue is eminently qualified to lead USDA,” the letter said. A total of 17 Georgia groups signed the letter, including notables such as the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia Peanut Commission, the Georgia Cattleman’s Association and the primary organizations supporting all of Georgia’s key agricultural products and businesses. The American Bankers Association is also a signatory. Read the letter here and see all of Gov. Perdue’s supporters. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027


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GBA in the News

Op-Ed Explains Why Bankers are Optimistic in 2017

Improved economic conditions, the opportunity for meaningful regulatory relief and the bedrock foundation of Georgia’s bankers putting their hearts into serving their communities are among the reasons we feel great about 2017. GBA’s President and CEO Joe Brannen outlines those themes in an article for James magazine’s January/February issue that’s out now. The magazine is a must-read publication for state policymakers, and the article helps set the tone for our advocacy work in support of the industry during the Georgia General Assembly session. One of our legislative priorities mentioned is the modernization of the state’s business judgment rule to enhance liability protections for bank and other corporate board members in their decision-making process. Brannen also took the opportunity to write about the general banking and business environment and focused on the Georgians who happen to be bankers and the work they do every day. “It may be the lending officer in South Georgia who helps a farmer finance a single piece of equipment that can be the difference in a profitable harvest. It may be the call center representative in Middle Georgia who takes the extra time and care to call and check on an elderly customer she hadn’t heard from in a while. Or it may be a group of bankers in North Georgia collecting tens of thousands of items and dollars for a local food bank,” he said. “Those types of stories always keep me optimistic about what the banking industry does and how much it means to the people of Georgia.” Read the full article here beginning on page 11...


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Trump Order on Regulatory Constraint May Have Limited Impact on Banks

President Trump this week issued an executive order aimed at holding back the amount and costs of regulations. The order would require new regulations issued by most executive departments and agencies to maintain a total incremental budgetary cost of zero or less for all finalized regulations, unless required by law or approved by the director of the Office of Management and Budget. It also requires those agencies to identify two regulations to cut for every one issued. However, banking regulators, which are independent agencies, are exempt according to a White House spokeswoman. Read the order. With questions or comments, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Plan Now to Attend GBA 2017 Annual Meeting - June 18-21, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO

Be sure to make plans to attend GBA’s 2017 Annual Meeting, June 18-21 at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, CO. This year's meeting will be special, as we'll kick off GBA's 125th anniversary activities. And, you'll be treated to the insights of nationally known speakers on the economy and banking, as well as the all-important networking and family time with your fellow bankers. Exhibit information and sponsorship opportunities are also now available. A complete meeting package will be mailed in late March, but you can register online now. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at The Broadmoor for $370 - $400 a night for single or double occupancy. Make reservations with the hotel directly by calling 800.634.7711. Be sure to say you are with the GBA to receive this special rate. The cut-off date for reservations is May 19, but rooms in the GBA block may sell out before that date. After this date, all reservations will be subject to prevailing rate and space availability. So make your reservations soon. With questions about the GBA Annual Meeting, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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Countdown is on for IRAs: The Basics Seminar - Feb. 8

You can still squeeze in a last-minute registration to get answers to your simple and complex IRA questions from one of the most respected IRA experts in the country at GBA’s IRA Basics seminar Feb. 8 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. will provide the new IRA banker or supervisor with a complete understanding of all areas of the account as well as newly enacted regulations, including IRA terminology in a simple format, an explanation of IRA forms, qualifications, deadlines, contribution limits and more. Each participant will receive a completely updated 275-page IRA Training and Reference Manual. The price for this event is $250 per person. Click here to register online. Please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021 with questions.


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New Compliance Resources

National regulatory groups issued a couple of compliance resources of note this week.

  • Prepaid Card Compliance Guide: The CFPB issued a small entity compliance guide for its final rule on prepaid accounts. The rule brings prepaid accounts under Regulation E while also bringing certain credit-like features of some prepaid accounts under Regulation Z. The rule takes effect Oct. 1.

  • BSA/AML Self Assessment Tool: State regulators and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors released a new voluntary self-assessment tool to help banks better manage Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering risk. We know from member feedback this is an area of focus for examiners. The tool is meant to help institutions better identify, monitor and communicate BSA/AML risk, reduce uncertainty surrounding BSA/AML compliance and foster greater transparency within the industry. Get access to the tool here.

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Georgia Storms

FDIC Lays out Storm Relief Steps for Banks

The FDIC this week put forth steps that will give regulatory relief to Georgia banks working with customers for storm recovery. Banks are encouraged to work constructively with borrowers and customers in the federal disaster areas declared after the storms in January around the state (www.fema.gov). Steps encouraged include extending repayment terms, restructuring existing loans, or easing terms for new loans, if done in a manner consistent with sound banking practices, and can contribute to the welfare of the local community and serve the long-term interests of the lending institution. Banks also may receive favorable CRA consideration for community development loans, investments, and services in support of disaster recovery. And, FDIC will consider regulatory relief from certain filing and publishing requirements. Read the FIL here.


More Storm Relief Efforts by Georgia’s Banks

We’ve had a couple of members share with us additional details about their efforts to help customers and their hometowns following the damaging tornadoes and storms in January. Here’s a summary:

Image may contain: 2 people, people smilingFlint Community Bank, Albany: The bank’s Facebook page details many of its efforts. Kim Colby from the bank shared with us that the bank donated 20 gift cards of $50 each to be given out to those in need. In addition, one of the bank’s clients had three families of people who worked for him that needed help. The bank gave each of family $100 gift cards, plus took up clothes and shoes to give them something to wear until they could get to a store. The bank also reached out to staff and select clients collect needed items for four schools. The volunteers prepared 100 totes filled with school supplies, clothes, shoes, jackets, undergarments, food and bottled water. In another outreach effort, the bank helped a young mother with a baby who was in need by supplying diapers, baby clothes, wipes, bibs and other items. And employees put their “boots on the ground” to help with tree removal and clean up yards. “As you can see, we have been very active in the cause, but the need is so great and it feels like we just a drop in the bucket,” Colby said.

Ameris Bank, Albany: The bank made a $7,500 donation to the American Red Cross to assist with recovery efforts. As part of the bank’s “feet on the street” program, employees at multiple branches also collected water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, food and clothing to be distributed to assist those in need throughout Albany, Sylvester, Adel and other areas in Dougherty, Worth and Cook counties. “Ameris Bank is committed to assisting our neighbors as we have seen firsthand the damage many within our community have recently endured,” said Albany Market President Cal McMillian. “Our thoughts and prayers are continuously with all those affected within our communities.”


Send any news about your bank’s efforts to David Oliver and Bo Brannen.


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New HMDA Rules Workshop Feb. 15

HMDA receives microscopic scrutiny from bank examiners. It has a significant impact on banks’ CRA and fair lending performance, and HMDA data may also be used to identify violations of Regulation Z. To help banks prepare for new rules going into effect in 2018, GBA is hosting a HMDA Workshop Feb. 15 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Steve Moore, Bank Compliance Services, will address these “form-and-substance” topics:

  • New HMDA rules effective Jan. 1, 2018

  • More covered loans

  • Higher loan volume thresholds

  • New data points, including loan terms

  • How to identify loans that are HMDA reportable

  • What are the regulatory consequences for non-compliance?

  • How examiners use HMDA data to conduct fair lending reviews

  • What are some tips and tricks to make sure we are in compliance with Regulation Z?

Register by Feb. 7 for the early-bird price of $225 per person. Click here to register. Please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021 with questions.


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2017 Call Report Changes Seminar Feb. 16

Learn practical techniques to improve your bank’s overall reporting process during GBA’s Call Reporting seminar Feb. 16 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Kris Trainor, Michael Gordon and Rachael Martin of Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC, will give participants a detailed line-by-line review with helpful tips for reporting individual items. Relationships between schedules and common errors will be discussed as part of this review. The session will include a review of the proposed and finalized changes for 2017, including the new Form 051 for institutions with less than $1 billion in total assets. Most Call Report Schedules will be addressed, with particular attention placed on Schedules RC-C, RC-R and others of importance to community banks. CFOs, controllers, operations officers and anyone who is responsible for the preparation or review of call reports will benefit from this seminar. Register by Feb. 8 for the early-bird price of $225 per person. Click here to register online. Please contact GBA's Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021 with questions.


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Compliance Peer Group

CRA-Telling the Bank’s Story - March 8

GBA's next Compliance Peer Group Meeting is set for March 8 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. The topic for this meeting is, "CRA-Telling the Bank’s Story." Amanda Hunt, Citizens Bank & Trust, Trenton, and Donna Russell, Queensborough National Bank & Trust, Louisville, will share their banks' stories. Lisa Anne Mifflin, OCC, Tampa, and David Sharp, FDIC, Atlanta, will be on hand to answer your questions about CRA. There will be time after lunch for peer exchange. The price is $125, and CRCM credits will be applied for. Thanks to GBA's Compliance Committee for planning the program. Jim Bedsole, BankSouth, Greensboro, is the committee chair. To register, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034.


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South Georgia Community Bank Symposium - March 23

Attention South Georgia community banks!  GBA along with Valdosta State University, will host its annual South Georgia Community Bank Symposium March 23 on the University’s campus. Some of the topics include an economic update, innovation in banking and SBA Lending. Register now by clicking here. The registration price is $159 per person. With questions, please contact GBA’s Katina Prokos at 404.420.2021 or Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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Public Awareness and Financial Literacy

Sign up of Safe Banking for Seniors Participation

One of the ongoing programs GBA supports as a way for Georgia banks to help their customers and communities is Safe Banking for Seniors from the ABA Foundation. Banks can now sign up to participate and get updated resources for 2017. There’s a new toolbox to help you get started that includes three good resources:

  • Resource 1: Starting a Senior Financial Education Program at Your Bank

  • Resource 2​: Planning Senior Financial Education Program Events

  • Resource 3​: Communicating Your Senior Financial Education Program.

Join GBA member banks in 31 communities and statewide that are already making use of the resources to help protect older customers (participating banks listed here). Visit the Safe Banking for Seniors website to get more details and to register.


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Reminder: Update Your MyGBA Login Information

If you haven’t logged in to MyGBA to update your user profile and adjust your username and password, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. If you’re unsure of your login information, you can do a search for your user account and some basic credentials to get you started on our User Account Search page. If you’re new to GBA, we’ll need to set up a member record for you. We can do that, as well as answer any other questions, with a request to webmaster@gabankers.com...


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Operations and Technology Conference

You’ve Had a Disaster, Now What?

Just last week, tornados had a devastating effect on several southeast Georgia counties, and in 2016 two hurricanes affected many banks in Georgia. And, sometimes, your bank’s business is interrupted due to a man-made calamity. At the Operations and Technology Conference, coming up March 15-16 in Atlanta, attendees will get an insider’s perspective on the latest trends in disaster recovery from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). You’ll learn how this agency can help your bank in case of a disaster, what resources are available and how your bank can reach out to GEMA for assistance. You’ll also hear from two Georgia bankers whose operations were significantly affected by natural disasters. Josh Dasher, vice president, information technology/security officer at Glennville Bank and Jaye Eubanks, vice president of Information Systems at United Bank, will discuss the parts of their plans that worked, the challenges they faced and what they learned through their disaster recovery process. Click here to see details about other sessions, the conference in general, hotel information and to register online. This year’s conference is at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.


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Bank Security Conference, April 6-7

Violence in the Workplace - Preparing for the Worst

Today’s bank security officers deal with a wide range of security challenges. While no one likes to think about witnessing or experiencing violence in the workplace, bank security pros must train their staffs to be prepared. At this year’s Bank Security Conference, April 6-7 on Jekyll Island, Pete Stuart, director of Employee security at State Bank & Trust Company, will explain the importance of developing an emergency response training plan, as well as teach attendees how to develop the mindset critical to surviving an active shooter incident. Stuart's extensive background in bank security and training, elder abuse, law enforcement (he served as a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations for 30 years), and criminal investigations make him a favorite presenter at GBA's Security Conferences and one you don’t want to miss. Click here to register online, the full conference brochure and for hotel information. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 404.420.2024.


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Early-Bird School Tuition Deadline Extended - Enroll Through Feb. 15 & Save!

We want all GBA member banks to send a rising star banker to the Georgia Banking School or Advanced Compliance School this May. That’s why we're offering a little extra incentive by extending the early registration deadline from Feb. 3 to Feb. 15. So, if you or someone from your bank wants to enroll as a First Year Georgia Banking School or an Advanced Compliance School student, you can save $150 on tuition by registering before the deadline ends. The two schools run concurrently May 7-12 in Athens. Click here for all the details or to enroll online in Banking School. The Advanced Compliance School curriculum is geared to compliance professionals with at least two-three years of compliance experience. Click here to see the Compliance School info or to enroll online. Call or email GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions at 404.420.2024.


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Online Course Schedule

Mortgage Lending, Investment Management, Fundamentals and More

Below are the facilitated ABA online classes coming up in February and March. These courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. Any employee of a GBA member company can participate at the member rate. Your bank does not have to be an ABA member. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access. Please register two weeks in advance to secure a "seat." For more information, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034. Click here for a list of all ABA offerings...



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Sound New Year’s Principles are Beneficial All Year Long

Fairness, Convenience and Compliance are the Benchmarks of Overdraft Protection

By Cheryl Lawson, Executive Vice President

John M. Floyd & Associates

If your bank’s 2017 goals include increasing revenues and customer satisfaction, a fully-disclosed overdraft protection plan may be the solution. A proven plan could fill not only both needs, but also provides fairness, convenience and compliance to the account holder and the financial institution.


Overdraft protection exists primarily to solve a common problem: a cash shortfall when a consumer faces a have or have-not purchase decision. By utilizing the service, consumers can answer a pressing situation in exchange for a manageable expense – one that’s often remedied within days - and your bank can increase income from a non-interest category. If you’re considering adding or adapting an overdraft protection service, let the attributes of fairness, convenience and compliance guide you to a win-win decision. Learn more about each attribute and the ways JMFA can help you see revenue results this year...


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Get Back to Business in 2017 with help from GBA Strategic Partner Office Depot

The new year brings new challenges to the office, and now is the time to meet them head on. Upgrade your workplace for 2017 while ensuring everyone has an easy transition into the new year with smart office solutions from Office Depot. Whatever you need, count on them for hand-picked products in the following areas and more:

  • Redesign your workstations

  • Accessorize each work area

  • Prepare perfect presentations

  • Go digital with file storage

  • Bulk up on office supplies

  • Stock up on germ fighting products

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Fill a Job, Find a Job with the GBA Job Bank

The GBA Job Bank is among the most popular and valuable benefits we provide to member banks and bankers. The Positions Available and Bankers Available sections on our website consistently are among the most visited pages. Best of all, the service costs nothing for member banks and bankers. To make the process of posting a job or resume easier and to answer any questions you may have, we've developed this Q & A document as a resource. It outlines how to submit open positions and resumes, our deadlines and timelines for posting, and other helpful details. If you have any questions, please contact GBA's Bo Brannen at 404.420.2014.


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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 Bo Brannen and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Albany – Various GBA Members

GBA members, in partnership,  have collected more than 5,000 pounds of food for people affected by the storms recently in the area. The banks will continue to collect items through February 28. Read more here…


Moultrie – Southwest Georgia Bank

The bank recently donated the land for Moultrie's newest pocket park, a small green space that is the first project in a three-year enhancement of Moultrie’s downtown. Additionally, the bank recently stepped up to help the local Boy Scouts who lost their camp during January storms. Camp Osborn is currently full of downed trees and a crushed dining hall after two different waves of severe weather tore through. The bank's donation will be used to help start the process of rebuilding. Read more here...


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Covington - Newton Federal Bank

Our sympathies to Vice President and HR Manager Jayn Lawson and the family and friends of Lawson's mother, Janis Whire Weldon, who recently passed away.


Hinesville - The Heritage Bank

Congratulations to Call Center team member Nita Yarbrough who recently retired after 24 years of service to the bank.


Marietta - First Landmark Bank

Michelle Leak has joined the bank as Vice President/Commercial Lender and Greg Allen has been promoted to Commercial Lender. Read more here…


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

Bonnie Butler has joined the bank  as a Mortgage Originator. Read more here…


Moultrie - Southwest Georgia Bank

Neil Shumans has been named  Assistant Vice President.


Swainsboro - Citizens Bank of Swainsboro

Jayne Martin has been promoted to Banking Officer


Suwannee - Quantum National Bank

Congratulations to John Bussey who was recently named Quantum’s 2016 Employee of the Year. Bussey’s co-workers awarded him this honor because of his dedication to Quantum, his constant willingness to help wherever he’s needed and his great attitude.


Woodstock - SouthCrest Financial Group

The bank holding company announced it is moving its corporate headquarters to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta building in midtown Atlanta, pending regulatory approval. Read more here...


Leak Allen Butler Shumans Martin Bussey


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 Bo Brannen.


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