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2014 Legislative Spotlight

Stay Plugged in to Legislative Session

The 2014 Georgia General Assembly session begins Monday, Jan. 13. As always, we expect a variety of bills to be introduced that will affect the banking industry in Georgia. Also, the 2014 session is the second of a two-year term, so there are a number of carryover bills that could be considered. Those are all summarized on the State Legislative Issues section of the GBA website. Throughout the session, GBA will be represented by our Senior Vice President for Government Relations, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, and President and CEO, Joe Brannen, 404.402.2026. Contact either of them with questions about legislation, information about your legislator's stance on a particular issue or to request any other information related to the Georgia General Assembly. Follow the action at the gold dome in our weekly Legislative Updates and at any time at the State Legislative Issues section of the GBA website.


Last Call for Legislative/Economic Forum and Legislative Reception

You still have time to register for GBA’s Legislative/Economic Forum and Legislative Reception. We’ve already got a big crowd registered, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear from and network with your peers and our elected leaders to talk about issues that are important to your bank, your customers and your communities. The events start at 3 p.m. with our Legislative/Economic Forum. On the agenda are Gov. Nathan Deal, Roger Tutterow, professor of economics at Mercer University, for an economic update, John Ashford, Chairman and CEO of The Hawthorn Group, LC, with his predictions of the current Washington environment and the 2014 election cycle, and Commissioner Kevin Hagler with the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. The Legislative Reception will follow from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. Click here for registration details. With questions, contact GBA's Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.




Updated: 2013 BankPAC Closes Out

There was one more 2013 contribution made to the GBA StatePAC by HeritageBank of the South, Albany. Len Dorminey is the CEO. Many thanks for this contribution, and here is our final tally for the year. With questions, please call Elizabeth Chandler at 404.420.2027.


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Volcker Rule TruPS Update

U.S. Representatives Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) this week introduced a bill to clarify that the Volcker Rule does not require banks to divest collateralized debt obligations backed by TruPS issued before Dec. 10, 2013. A similar Senate version is in development, we understand. On Jan. 7, Georgia U.S. Rep. David Scott was among 22 House Democrats who wrote to banking agency leaders saying they believe the agencies have the authority to exempt banks with less than $15 billion in assets from the Volcker Rule’s prohibition on owning collateralized debt obligations backed by trust preferred securities. Regulators have said that by Jan. 15 they will officially address whether pooled investment vehicles for Trust Preferred Securities (TruPS), such as TruPS CDOs, will be subject to the Volcker Rule. Also, With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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New Mortgage Rules Tale Effect, See Letter from CFPB's Cordray

Friday, Jan. 10, is the effective date for a host of new mortgage rules for banks covering everything from specific requirements for documenting a customer’s ability to repay and underwriting standards to servicing and disclosure guidelines. CFPB Director Richard Cordray asked GBA to share this linked letter to community bankers that summarizes the ability-to-repay and Qualified Mortgage stipulations and outlines the small creditor exemptions that cover many Georgia banks. The letter also points to more detailed resources, available here.


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Flood Insurance Relief Bill Vote Likely Next Week

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote early next week on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act that was introduced Oct. 29 by Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). A vote was scheduled this week, but got pushed back as the Senate focused on debate over extending unemployment benefits. As we reported when the bill was introduced, the bill aims to protect millions of homeowners from facing huge flood insurance premium rate hikes and requires FEMA to complete an affordability study and propose real solutions to address affordability issues before any flood insurance premiums can be raised in the future. We appreciate Sen. Isakson’s leadership in pressing for these important protections. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Security Committee Talks Elder Abuse, Debit Card Fraud and other Trends

The GBA Security Committee met this week to discuss the latest and most important issues facing banks and their customers from a security standpoint. An increased focus on identifying, reporting and protecting clients from elder abuse was one of the main themes. Debit card fraud and protecting against losses remains hot-button issues for bank security professionals, as do a variety of check fraud scams. The committee used the trends they discussed as a springboard to begin planning the annual GBA Bank Security Conference, which will be April 10-11 in Savannah at the Savannah Riverfront Marriott. Look for complete details about the conference sessions, speakers and registration soon. Debi Davidoff, Signature Bank of Georgia, Atlanta, chairs the committee, and Katheran Pippen, United Bank, Barnesville, is vice chair. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad at 404.420.2024.




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HR Professionals Institute

Healthcare Law Expert to Discuss Healthcare Reform, Room Discount Expires Soon

GBA’s HR Professionals Institute will be Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6-7, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The GBA Human Resources Committee has developed an exceptional slate of speakers and sessions that bankers in the human resources arena won’t want to miss. In one of the Feb. 6 sessions, Edie Lindsay, GBA Insurance Trust's General Counsel and a healthcare law expert, will kick off the conference with a legal update about healthcare reform. Lindsay will tell you what you need to know and she will also take your questions. Register online here. and Click here to view the brochure and full agenda. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at the nearby Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel for $149/night. Call 800.468.3571 or 770.953.4500 to make a reservation. The cut-off date for the special rate is Thursday, Jan. 16, and rooms may sell out before this date. The Renaissance is located at 2450 Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, 30339.


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How One Georgia Banker Has Gone to the Dogs

Former GBA Chairman Rick Whaley, CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus, and his wife, Ginny, are passionate about their Labrador Retrievers and training them for field trials. Check out this month’s ABA Banking Journal for a nice feature story about the Whaleys and their dogs, and what’s involved in the field-trial training. Rick and Ginny have five Labradors; Tillman, the eldest at nine, Georgia, Colby, Reese, and Jagger, the youngest at five.


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Janet Yellen official portrait.jpgYellen Confirmed as Fed Chairman

Janet Yellen this week was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. She’s served as the Fed’s vice chairman since 2010. The appointment is historic, as Yellen becomes the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve since its founding in 1913.


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Georgia SBLF Participants Increase Loans by $19 Million

Three Georgia institutions participating in the Treasury Department’s Small Business Lending Fund have increased lending to small businesses by $19 million over the baseline levels set when the Treasury Investments were made. The results were included in a Treasury Department report about the program issued this week. Resurgens Bancorp, Atlanta, increased small business loans by $8 million (44.4 percent), Peoples Bank of Talbotton increased small business loans by $4.2 million (70.6 percent) and Lowndes Bancshares Inc., Valdosta, increased small business loans by $6.8 million (16.5 percent).


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Top Five Ways to Be a Better Banker in 2014

Want to be a better banker and a stronger bank in 2014?  GBA-U is here to help!

With questions about these events, contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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GBA-U Webinars

Reg. CC, BSA Confidentiality, UDAAP Red Flags and More

A GBA Webinar is a great way to quickly get the training you need right from the comfort of your office. Here is a sample of upcoming offerings. Check the GBA-U Calendar of Events for any webinars you are interested in at


Jan. 14

How To Avoid Signature Card Mishaps

Jan. 15

Regulation CC

Jan. 17

BSA Confidentiality Issues: Subpoenas, NSLs, Law Enforcement & Lawsuits

Jan. 21

Lending 101

Jan. 22

UDAAP: What Your Frontline Needs to Know & Do


Webinars are live and allow time for questions and answers. The $255 registration price gives you access to one web site "seat," one telephone site license and all handout materials. If you can't attend the webinar, you may buy the audio CD, handout materials and a password to see the session online. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.


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AIB Diploma Highlight

AIB Personal Trust Diploma

The AIB Personal Trust Diploma was developed to prepare individuals for professional certification as a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA), through the Institute of Certified Bankers (ICB). Becoming a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor is an important career decision for a trust professional and offers both a competitive advantage and professional recognition. The 20 trust courses in the three curricula, Building Trust Expertise Levels
1 – 3, provide the technical underpinning of the diploma and address the core knowledge areas of the CTFA examination. In addition, the critical importance of ethical conduct in all aspects of the trust profession is reinforced in A Guide to Ethics for Trust Professionals. While the curriculum addresses the major knowledge areas assessed by the examination. ICB emphasizes that completion of this diploma does not guarantee success on the CTFA examination. Experience and application of the knowledge to the work setting are important factors as well. Click
here for a full list of required courses or contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


AIB Instructor-Led Courses

Commercial Lending, Law and Banking, Principles of Banking among AIB Offerings Coming Soon

Here are instructor-led AIB online classes coming up in February. These courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access. Classes with an asterisk require Microsoft Excel Software. Please register two weeks in advance to secure a seat in the class. For more information, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.



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Fortrex Vendorpoint® For Vendor Risk Management a Valued Strategic Partner

GBA is proud to endorse VendorPoint® by Fortrex Technologies, the market’s first automated, vendor risk management solution. This cost-effective online service enables banks of any size to identify, measure, monitor and manage third-party risk based on FFIEC guidelines and design criteria established by leading financial services institutions. VendorPoint® combines worry-free automation, ready accessibility, and ease-of-use to speed users through even the most rigorous regulatory environment.


Key VendorPoint® Features:

  • Comprehensive due diligence assessment templates

  • A Vendor Risk Management policy template

  • Automated policy enforcement

  • Fully-automated, customizable workflows

  • Contract renewal and expiration date tracking and notifications

  • Scalable implementations to fit any institution

  • Extensive reporting.

Key VendorPoint® Benefits:

  • Reduces the cost and complexity of meeting FFIEC vendor risk management requirements by automating, monitoring, and reporting on the due diligence process

  • Facilitates board-level understanding of the bank’s vendor risk profile through an executive level dashboard summary and management reports

  • Eliminates inadvertent contract renewals and expirations by notifying selected users as important contract dates approach

  • Allows institutions to customize workflows and due diligence requirements to meet their specific needs

  • Identifies and tracks status of specific risk items, enabling institutions to manage and mitigate risk over time

  • Minimizes cost and burden of program implementation through Software as a Service model.

Here is more information about VendorPoint®. GBA encourages you to take a close look at VendorPoint to discover how it can help guide your bank’s vendor risk management. To schedule a demo of this solution, please contact Fortrex’s Doug Ochs at 877.367.8739, Visit, and for more details. With questions about GBA's endorsement of VendorPoint, contact Bogan Brannen, 404.420.2014.


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Tune Up Your Overdraft Program and Stay Compliant with John Floyd and Associates

Financial institutions looking for ways to remain viable and competitive can no longer rely on conducting business as usual. As the opportunities to generate fees from traditional services are reduced, many are concerned with how to maintain a level of income that allows them to offer the services that keep them competitive. It's a challenging balancing act at best: increase your bottom line while staying compliant and delivering the services and service levels your account holders demand. According to industry experts, service charges on deposits have decreased substantially from levels reported just two years ago. And with ongoing regulatory pressures during that timeframe, the two products that produced the most non-interest income - debit card interchange fees and overdraft/NSF fees - have been greatly restricted. What actions can community banks take to offset the reductions in net non-interest income losses as a result of these pressures? Download and return a Performance Improvement Analysis from GBA Strategic Partner  John Floyd here. John M. Floyd and Associates (JMFA) is the preferred vendor of the JMFA Overdraft Privilege® program. For more information please contact Waid Thompson, JMFA's regional sales director, at 888.345.8639.


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Find a Job, Post a Job with GBA Job Bank

The Georgia Bankers Association offers free job posting resources for our member banks. These listings can be viewed online or through our print publication, the GBA Bulletin, mailed every other week. Resume postings are also available. For more information, please contact Kenyetta Parks at 404.420.2035.


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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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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. See these and other member community contributions on GBA's new Facebook page. Here's our latest installment:


Albany – Flint Community Bank

Flint Community Bank raised a remarkable total of more than $4,500 for Cancer Coalition of South Georgia’s work. “The cornerstone of the event, was the 2013 HOPE Bracelet,” said Flint Community Bank Senior Vice President Pam McDonald. “The leather and pink pearl bracelets were each handmade by members of the bank staff. It’s this kind of commitment to local, hometown people that made this partnership with the Cancer Coalition so perfect for us at Flint.”


Jasper – Renasant Bank

Employees at the Jasper branch recently made weekly donations to Community Assistance Resources & Emergency Assistance (CARES) during November and December in 2013. The employee donations totaled over $600.


Macon - State Bank and Trust Company

The bank donated $1,000 to The Salvation Army and $1,000 to the American Red Cross this week in an effort to aid these local charities. Due to the extreme weather conditions in Middle Georgia, many local shelters were at or near full capacity. "We wanted to support the Salvation Army and others that are operating shelters during this time of need and we're extremely proud to do that,” said Spencer Strickland, Middle Georgia Regional President.


Valdosta - Commercial Banking Company

Senior Vice President/Regional President Brad Barber attended the Moultrie Kiwanis Club meeting Thursday and took the opportunity to discuss the banking industry with Attorney General Sam Olens, who was the speaker at the event.



Pictured are: Denise Ballard (VP Cancer Prevention and Control, Cancer Coalition of South Georgia); Mandy Waters (Teller, Flint Community Bank); Pam McDonald (Senior Vice President, Flint Community Bank); Melissa Goodin (Development Manager, Cancer Coalition of South Georgia)

Pictured are: Larry Starr, CARES Director,
Angie Jones, Pickens County President for Renasant Bank, and Gene Berry, Treasurer for CARES.


State Bank and Trust Employees pictured from left to right with a representative of the Salvation Army are: Spencer Strickland, Middle Georgia Regional President; Barbara Jennings, Branch Manager, Pio Nono Ave. in Macon; Dan Forrester, Director of Community & Government Relations in Middle Georgia.

Commercial Banking Company's Brad Barber (right) with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens at the Moultrie Kiwanis Club.


Community Connections is brought to you by Promontory Interfinancial Network

Promontory's Bank Assetpoint helps buyers and sellers of bank assets connect with each other, as well as with specialty service providers whose services can facilitate a sale. With Bank Assetpoint, you can post listings or search for a wide variety of assets, including performing and nonperforming loans, loan participations, loan pools and commercial REO. Learn more at, or contact Danny Capitel, regional director, Promontory Interfinancial Network.


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Atlanta - Private Bank of Buckhead

Roman Mengesha has been named as a Personal Banker.


Atlanta - Private Bank of Decatur, a division of Private Bank of Buckhead

President Judy Turner was featured in an American Banker article this week about her recent achievements. Turner is a former GBA Board member and the current Group 5 Pac Board member.


Atlanta - SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Chairman and CEO William H. Rogers Jr., was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend.


Blairsville - United Community Banks, Inc.
President and CEO Jimmy Tallent
was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend.


Cairo – United National Bank

Matt L McCaskill, has joined the bank as Vice President.


Camilla – Planters & Citizens Bank

Congratulations to Customer Service Representative Sharon Martin, who is retiring after 29 years of dedicated service to the bank. The bank hosted a reception for Martin Dec. 30, 2013.


Cochran – State Bank of Cochran

Jackie Bowen has been named President and CEO.


Columbus – Synovus

Chairman and CEO Kessel D. Stelling Jr., was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend. Katherine Dunlevie has been named Managing Director of Synovus Family Asset Management.


Dawson – Bank of Terrell

Our sympathies to President and CEO Scott Beeley whose father, Charles Beeley recently passed away.


Gainesville – formerly Gainesville Bank & Trust

Our sympathies to the family and colleagues of Mike Banks who died recently. Mike chaired GBA’s Marketing Committee and was an instructor at the Georgia Banking School.


Peachtree City – SouthCrest Financial Group

The company has received regulatory approval from the OCC to move forward with merging its four sister banks, SouthCrest Bank, First National Bank of Polk County, Bank of Chickamauga, and Peachtree Bank, into a single charter under OCC regulation.


Wrens – First State Bank

Lee Clark has been elected President and CEO. He will succeed Joe Gore, who will retire in February.


Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
President and CEO Dennis P. Lockhart
was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend.


Cleveland Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

President and CEO Grace Fricks was named as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend.


Washington D.C.

Sandra Braunstein, Director of the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve, will retire in April.


Planters & Citizens Bank's Sharon Martin with bank president and CEO Jud Vann.

















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