Feb. 5, 2021  

Fears and Williamson

News from the Gold Dome

The Georgia General Assembly session picked up steam on banking-related issues this week. Of note, Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) and Banking Department Counsel Bo Fears presented the Department of Banking and Finance’s housekeeping bill (HB 111) during its first committee hearing Wednesday. Williamson is the lead sponsor of the bill, which we support. We shared a deep dive on all the activities in our Legislative Update email now that the General Assembly has adjourned for the week. Elizabeth Chandler is our SVP for Government Relations and can be reached by email at echandler@gabankers.com or on mobile at 404.372.7893 if you have questions about legislative issues.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Ossoff, Warnock Appointed to Senate Banking Committee

Georgia will be heavily represented on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock both have been appointed to the committee. The two new senators will be serving on other important committees, as well. Sen. Ossoff is on the Judiciary and Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs committees, and Warnock is on the Agriculture and Commerce, Science & Transportation committees. Please be on the lookout for opportunities to help us inform our new senators and their staffs about the key banking issues faced by the industry.


Back to top of E-Bulletin


GBA Member Profile

Knowing Your Customers, Tales of Athens and More with William Tuttle

United Bank’s Barnesville Division President William Tuttle learned very early on the importance of forming personal relationships to success in business. His dad was a career banker, after all, and in his first job after college as an underwriter for Georgia Farm Bureau, he says he yearned for more personal interaction in his day-to-day work. And, his college job at Last Chance Liquor in Athens taught him that knowing your customers is key. “Whether it’s knowing a customer’s beverage of choice or knowing the families of your bank customers, these relationships are lasting and will keep them coming back,” Tuttle said. The Group 4 representative on Leadership GBA’s Board of Directors, Tuttle shares how he became a banker, the personal heroes who shaped his life, his outlook for the industry and more in his GBA Member Profile.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

PPP Tracking Update

Member banks and other lenders continue to ramp up critical lending to small business customers through the new round of PPP loans. Here are the stats released this week that cover activity in Georgia through Jan. 31:

  • 21,390 loans to Georgia businesses

  • $1,378,762,117 total loan volume

  • Georgia average loan size is $64,458

  • Georgia ranks 14th nationally in number of loans

  • Georgia ranks 18th nationally in loan volume

Nationally, insured financial institutions with assets less than $10 billion made 51% of all loans representing 54% of total loan amount. We continue to update member CEOs and key contacts by direct email from Joe Brannen with resources and key guidance as it is released. Among the issues from this week’s updates are news about special grants for entertainment venues, FinCen FAQS about PPP, EIDL advances and IRS 1099-MISC forms.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

GBA Endorses StrategyCorps’ Award-Winning Retail Checking Services

GBA is pleased to announce its endorsement of GBA Associate Member StrategyCorps. StrategyCorps partners with banks on their retail strategy to grow revenue, deepen relationships, and enhance mobile engagement. StrategyCorps’ delivers industry-leading gains in non-interest income generation, customer engagement and organic deposit growth. StrategyCorps uses a mobile-first approach in delivering their customer-facing solutions to optimize the retail checking experience. Learn more about their two services below. 

  • CheckingScore: This solution delivers a detailed analysis of the financial revenue generation of every checking related household relationship to optimize your bank’s retail checking performance and smartly make your products better. CheckingScore reports show exactly how your institution stacks up against peers across 20 key performance metrics and how to intelligently move from an existing account line-up (active and grandfathered accounts) to an upgraded, simple new line-up.


  • BaZing: A white-label, mobile rewards app delivers non-traditional banking benefits like roadside assistance, cell phone protection, identity theft protection and point of sale savings at local merchants right on your customer’s mobile phone. Hundreds of millions of consumers are already paying for these benefits to non-bank third-parties. StrategyCorps uses its buying power to provide them to your bank at a much lower cost, allowing your bank’s checking account to go boldly beyond banking.

To learn more about StrategyCorps, please contact Regional Director Ryan Harbry, ryan.harbry@strategycorps.com, 404.819.1438.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments Suspended

The Biden administration’s order to pause pending regulations for review has held up an important aid program. Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suspended processing and payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) - Additional Assistance and has halted implementation until further notice, it said. However, Farm Service Agency local offices will continue to accept applications during the evaluation period, which ends on Feb. 26, 2021. And, the agency says additional aid steps are under development. We join others in urging the administration to quickly complete any reviews and implement enhancements, as these CFAPs made the difference for many Georgia farmers that have struggled during the pandemic.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Takeaways from UGA Ag Forecast

The University of Georgia shared its 2021 Ag Forecast last Friday. It covered all the key crop and livestock categories for Georgia’s No. 1 industry. Here are a few key takeaways we noted:

  • Prices for Georgia peanuts will be similar to 2020

  • Cotton production, consumption and prices will be closely tied to pandemic recovery

  • Blueberry, strawberry and pepper production and prices remain under pressure from heavy exports from Mexico

  • Corn producers can expect strong prices

  • Domestic and export demand for beef will rebound, and pork export demand will remain strong

  • Demand and pricing for broilers have stabilized, with record demand from grocers.

The outlook also includes details for honey bees, timber, green industry and agritourism. Access the full report here. 


Back to top of E-Bulleti

BankSafe Refreshes Training

GBA is a supporter of the AARP BankSafe training program to help banks protect customers from financial exploitation. Georgia banks and bankers were instrumental in the pilot program and development of the initial training materials several years ago. The program has updated its unique online training resources for 2021 with new interactive scenarios, videos and activities. And, it’s been shortened from 60 to 40 minutes for an even more engaging, fast-paced and effective experience. Get details and sign up here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Great Crowd Coming to State BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament

We’ve got over 70 shooters signed up to join in the fun and support the GBA State BankPAC* at next Thursday’s Sporting Clays Tournament at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. There is still time to put a foursome together ($500) or sign up to shoot solo ($150) - click here. Registrants can also see the tournament schedule using that link. Registration includes 100 targets, cart and barbecue lunch. Thanks to 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. for sponsoring!  We look forward to seeing you at the tournament. 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.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Community Outreach Resource

Get in on National Video Contest

If you’re looking for a good way to engage customers and their families, consider getting involved with the Lights, Camera, Save! video contest from the ABA Foundation. The submission period is open now for teens to submit their videos, and the deadline is March 1. There are prizes of $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000, and the contest will feature a bracket-style tournament with public voting. Bankers can still sign up online to participate in this year’s contest. Register for Lights, Camera, Save! For more information, contact ABA's Jeni Pastier.


Back to top of E-Bulletin


Girl Banker Bartholomew Delivers Empowering Message

Our Women in Banking Virtual Series finished this week with an inspiring, down-to-earth message, “It’s Up to Us: Why It’s Essential for Women in Banking to Support and Advocate for Each Other,” from Natalie Bartholomew.  Bartholomew is chief administrative officer of Grand Savings Bank, a community bank in northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma. She’s known to thousands of women bankers across the country as “The Girl Banker.” Bartholomew’s session capped off an extremely successful virtual series in partnership with the North Carolina Bankers Association (NCBA). Almost 350 women from Georgia, North Carolina and eight other states signed up for the series. We’re excited to announce GBA and NCBA will partner again in 2021 on a three-session virtual mini-series coming your way Oct. 5, Nov. 2, and Dec. 1. In addition, GBA is planning to host its 2021 Women in Banking Conference in-person Aug. 12-13 at Chateau Elan, and the planning committee met Thursday to begin work on the program. Watch for details about the in-person conference and virtual mini-series in upcoming bulletins, and we’ll send an email to all Women in Banking event participants, too. A final shout-out to our virtual series sponsors: Abel Solutions; ATM Response; Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner; ChaseCompGroup; Crowe; Fenimore, Kay, Harrison and Ford; FHLB of Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co.; SouthState Bank; STS Group; and Troutman Pepper.  Questions?  Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Podcast Insights from The Kafafian Group: Purpose Driven Banking – A Better Business Model?

What role does your bank play in improving the lives of customers, employees, communities, and shareholders, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on individuals’ health and livelihoods? Purpose creates a basis for answering those questions and can provide opportunities for differentiation and growth. So, what data exists to support the case for purpose-driven banking?  A 2019 Washington University Survey of over 1,000 people found that employees at companies with a statement of higher purpose are happier, prouder of their company, and have greater trust in their leaders to make both better and more socially responsible business decisions. GBA Associate Member The Kafafian Group recently released a podcast with Clay Adams, president and CEO of Mascoma Bank in New Hampshire, sharing insights about how the bank is set up to serve the needs of communities and customers and how that provides latitude to focus on the return to a broad range of constituents versus narrowly focusing on one. Take a listen here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin



Back to top of E-Bulletin

Conference Update

Operations & Technology Now a Virtual Event

Price Discounted, Registration Continues

If we’ve learned anything throughout the pandemic it is that maximum flexibility is the new normal. After much consideration and consultation with members, we’re shifting the 2021 Operations and Technology Conference to a virtual only event to be broadcast Feb. 24-25. We’ve condensed the program some, but it will include key sessions about core platforms, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships featuring innovators in the market and regulatory perspectives, payments, Microsoft Teams, mobile app trends and more. Here is the current agenda. We’ve also 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’re setting 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.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

GBA’s In-House Webinars


The IRA Merry-Go-Round – Feb 9-10

Speaker: Patrice Konarik, Sunwest Training Corp.
This intensive 1.5-day format will teach you all you need to know about IRAs, including the latest updates! Each paid participant will receive the latest 275-page, 2020-2021 IRA Training and Reference Manual - “The Red Book” in an electronic format. For all the details and to register click here. 

Analyzing Personal Cash Flow & Tax Returns – March 9-11

Speaker: Mike Allen, Cadence Bank
This three-day webinar will cover the A-Zs of how to analyze personal cash flow and personal tax returns. The webinar will assist those bankers who originate consumer loans as well as commercial bankers and underwriters who want to get a clear picture of a guarantor's cash flow to aid in identifying the availability of excess personal cash flow that could be available to provide additional support to related borrowing requests. For all the details and to register click here. 


Call Report – March 16-17

Speakers: Kris Trainor & Michael Gordon, Mauldin & Jenkins
In the two-day webinar you will learn practical techniques to improve your overall call reporting process. Participants will receive a detailed line-by-line review of the commonly completed Call Report schedules with helpful tips for reporting individual items. The session will also include a review of the proposed and finalized changes for 2021, including temporary changes to asset-size thresholds, new items related to the regulatory agencies’ pandemic response, and updates to the HELOC definition. Particular attention will be placed on Schedules RC-C, RC-R and other areas that continue to receive heightened regulatory scrutiny. For all the details and to register click here. 


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Upcoming Webinar Hot Topics in 2021

Accounting for Beginners, Hemp Update and More

Do you have a BankWebinars.com Webinar Subscription Package? Use your credits on the webinars below or purchase webinars individually. View the full calendar here for dates, times and more programs. 

Questions? events@gabankers.com.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

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.




Back to top of E-Bulletin

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:


Dublin - Bank of Dudley

Commercial Lender Patrick Thames led a class on Intro to Money for the Laurens Youth Leadership 2021 class.

Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

The bank is collaborating with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers to host a Blood Drive at its Tift County locations as a tribute to late bank team member Sandy Arrington.

Valdosta - Guardian Bank

The bank recently donated $2,000 to the South Georgia Medical Center Foundation, Inc. to help feed frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Back to top of E-Bulletin



Albany - AB&T

Tina Marbury has been promoted to senior vice president, with the functional title of senior administrative officer. Read more here.


Clayton - Rabun County Bank

Dan Free has been promoted to AVP Lending. Amanda Harrold has been promoted to AVP Mortgage Originator. Valerie Wheeler has been promoted to AVP Deposit Operations. Lorrie Gregoire has been promoted to AVP Credit Analyst. Shelly Backer has been promoted to VP Retail Banking Manager.


Hawkinsville - SunMark Community Bank

Janet Thompson has joined the bank’s mortgage team.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

Jo Jones, broker/owner of NextHome On the Lake in Greensboro, has joined the bank’s Board of Directors as an advisory member. Read more here.


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Cindi Gibson has joined the bank as senior vice president of digital and robotics technology. Read more here.


Atlanta - The Burke Group

The Burke Group, LLC announced a strategic combination with Roger G. Powell, LLC, an established consulting and investment banking firm led by Roger Powell. Powell will join The Burke Group as a Managing Director. Additionally, David Walton has joined The Burke Group as a senior vice president. Read more here.


Austin, TX - Abrigo

GBA Strategic Partner Abrigo has helped community financial institutions secure more than 53,000 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans totaling more than $6 billion through its Abrigo PPP Solution since the latest round of the program opened Jan. 11, 2021. Abrigo has enabled more than 380 financial institutions to originate nearly $40 billion in PPP loans for 335,000 small businesses, impacting an estimated 1.8 million jobs since the PPP launched in April 2020.


Atlanta - Georgia Bankers Association

Condolences to our team member, Bo Brannen, and his family as they mourn the death of his birth mother, April Dawn Treen. Read more here.



Marbury Free


Wheeler Gregoire






Gibson Treen



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.

Back to top of E-Bulletin