Jan. 15, 2021  

General Assembly Kicks Off Session

The Georgia General Assembly began its 2021 session Jan. 11. The usual festivities of big crowds of families, friends and supporters gathering for the swearing in of returning and new members was not possible this year with strict health and safety protocols in place. This first week was mostly devoted to organizing, selecting and appointing leadership and hearing Gov. Brian Kemp’s State of the State address. Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) was re-elected Speaker and we expect to learn House committee chairs and membership soon. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan will again be presiding over the Senate this session and Senate committee lists were released. Several committees we follow that consider banking-related legislation will have new chairmen. Of particular note, Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) will chair the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. Here’s a link to see a list of Senate committee chairs and committees. Look for more details of the week’s activities in our first Legislative Update we’ll send out by email Friday.


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PPP Re-Opens with Blizzard of Activity

The SBA this week re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program to allow businesses access to $284 billion in forgivable loans to cover payroll and other eligible expenses as part of pandemic-related economic relief. The nine Georgia Based Minority Depository Institutions and 23 state-based CDFIs were able to begin submitting applications for their borrowers Monday, SBA on Wednesday announced the application portal will be available to lenders with assets below $1 billion Friday, Jan. 15, and all lenders will have access Jan. 19. About 300 member bankers and Associate Member representatives joined a GBA webinar Tuesday featuring GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower and his fellow Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford partner Kevin Strachan outlining the details for members. As part of our ongoing communication of details and resources, GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen has sent member bank CEOs and key contacts a library of helpful resources and links during the week.


New Resource: Quick guide about second-draw loan eligibility from GBA Strategic Partner Abrigo. For more information and additional expertise, please contact Abrigo’s Laura Wahllaura.wahl@abrigo.com, 919.906.5649.


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Donaldson, Wade in Statewide Civic Leadership Spotlight

We were proud to see two member bankers taking part this week in important roles outside their bank as elected and appointed officials. Durden Banking Company’s Matt Donaldson is Mayor of Twin City, and he was in Atlanta this week being sworn in by Gov. Kemp to his now role on the State Board of Education as well as to present the Gov. a medallion honoring Twin City’s 100th Anniversary. Also this week, newly installed State Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) of Pinnacle Bank, served on a panel discussing free enterprise, tax policy and small business priorities during the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast, which was presented virtually this year.


Donaldson and Kemp

Wade (right) at Eggs and Issues



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Whaley Re-Elected FHLB Chair

Congratulations to Rick Whaley, president and CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus, on his re-election as Chair of the FHLB Atlanta Board of Directors. The board elected him to another two-year term. Whaley served as GBA Chairman from October 2010 to June 2012, and has served as Chairman of the GBA Insurance Trust since June 2013. FHLBank Atlanta board members also elected Brian E. Argrett, president, CEO and director of City First Bank of DC, to a two-year term as vice chair of FHLB Atlanta’s board of directors.



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GBA Endorses Asset Auction Services of Swainsboro-based South Auction

GBA is pleased to endorse the auction services offered by Swainsboro-based South Auction. South Auction has held auctions all over the country. In business for over 20 years, they have become a trusted resource for banks, attorneys and individuals in need of auction services. South Auction can work with your bank to find creative solutions for bank-owned assets, and they can be a resource for your clients who may need to sell assets quickly to protect their equity in real property. To learn more about South Auction, click here. Contact South Auction’s Joe Lanier with questions at joe@southauctiongroup.com or 478.455.1861.


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Update on Economic Impact Payments

The IRS is attempting to make more direct Economic Impact Payments to those affected by payments that erroneously went to tax preparers or closed accounts. It announced details about that this week. If you’ve got customers still asking about the status of their payment, the best resource is still the IRS’ “Get My Payment” tool, located here: https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof-wmsp/login


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2020 Closes with Modest Economic Expansion

Gradual labor market improvement, high residential real estate demand and stable banking conditions highlight the latest economic conditions summary from the Federal Reserve’s Sixth District. The report categorizes economic activity from mid-November through December as expanding at a modest pace. Headwinds included rising non-labor costs, muted holiday sales at retailers and auto dealers and slight increases in mortgage delinquencies. Read more here.


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Coin Distribution Cap Removed

The Federal Reserve will return to its regular process of distributing all coin denominations Feb. 15, it said earlier this week. While coin circulation “has not fully returned to normal patterns” since the beginning of the pandemic, the Fed said increased production at the U.S. Mint and steady deposits from banks have bolstered supply. Get all the details here.


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DBF Finalizes Rules on Applications, Notifications

On Jan. 8, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance adopted final technical rules related to applications and notifications for additional banking locations, expansion of existing locations and processes for applicants to use a shorter application and expedited approval process. Read the rules here.


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Leadership GBA Board Huddles

Our member-led group of emerging bank leaders gathered this week to talk about GBA’s programs for leadership development and begin planning the 2021 Leadership Conference. Leadership GBA Board Chair Danny Minick, The Citizens Bank of Americus, led the meeting. Jenny Wofford, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, is the chair-elect of the board this year, and Candice Nanney of Peach State Bank & Trust is vice chair. Discussion items included an advocacy update, planning details for the upcoming BankPAC Sporting Clays Shoot, the election process for officers and board representatives, an update on the Georgia Banking School and Leadership Roundtables and planning for the 2021 Leadership Conference, which will be July 12-14 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. Registration will open soon. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.



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Welcome GBA’s Newest Associate Members

GBA Associate Membership is for individuals and organizations that serve banks and bankers. Today, about 200 Associate Members are taking advantage of business development opportunities and affordable access to the latest news and events in Georgia's banking industry, all for about $2 a day. These members also provide invaluable support to GBA’s activities and programs throughout the year through attendance, sponsorships, exhibits and shared expertise. Be sure to get to know them and thank them for their support of GBA. You can get information about any of GBA’s Associate Members by using the Associate Member search function on our website. Click any of the links below to learn more about each member, and please consider these banking industry supporters if you have a product or service need, they provide. For additional information, contact Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


Conversant Group

Mr. Michael Williams, mike.williams@conversantgroup.com

Chattanooga, TN



Ms. Cynthia Glover, cglover@onovative.com

Birmingham, AL



Atiba Software LLC

Mr. Toby Myers, tmyers@atiba.com

Nashville, TN



ClearThrough Solutions

Mr. Eric Corona, eric.corona@clearthroughsolutions.com

Wheaton, IL


Olsen Palmer LLC

Ms. Renee Tran, rtran@olsenpalmer.com

Washington, DC



Mr. Keith Kirkland, kkirkland@acapgp.com

Marietta, GA



Athens Cleaning Company

Mr. Robbie Beck, robbie@bank.cleaning

Athens, GA



Cabretta Capital Corporation

Mr. Micheal B. Watts, bwatts@cabrettacapital.com

Savannah, GA



Oculus Software/BNControl

Mr. S. Shaw Lokey, slokey@bncontrol.net

Cookeville, TN


United Banker’s Bank

Mr. Chris Knight, chris.knight@ubb.com

Minneapolis, MN



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How Will SolarWinds Show Up In Your Next Exam?

GBA Operations & Technology Conference

The news is flooded with stories about cyber breaches, ransomware attacks and data hacks. How or will the SolarWinds malware attack show up in your next board meeting and on your next exam? Denyette DePierro, VP and Senior Counsel, Cybersecurity Policy, ABA, will walk through how to approach cyber insurance, third-party risk management, and fintech with a cybersecurity eye. This session will include a debrief on new regulations and trends in supervision. GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference is Feb. 24-26 and registration is now open. Click here to review the agenda. We will offer two types of registration options, in-person or virtual. Click here to register. The conference will be at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, 201 Arnold Rd., St. Simons, GA 912.638.3631. To reserve a room, call 800.342.0212 and mention that you are with the Georgia Bankers Association to receive GBA’s special nightly rates. See the King and Prince's COVID-19 Health and Safety Updates here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034, with questions.


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New: GBA’s most popular training last year just added as a webinar!

The IRA Merry-Go-Round is Back: Feb 9-10, 2021

Join Patrice Konarik, Sunwest Training Corp., on Feb 9 and 10 for a 1.5-day webinar. What an IRA Merry-Go-Round 2020 has been! After a year of deliberations, the SECURE Act was signed into law under the Appropriations Act on Dec. 20, 2019. Most of the provisions were in effect on Jan. 1, 2020. These are the most substantial changes we’ve had to IRAs in almost 15 years. There are too many issues and too many potential pitfalls financial institutions will experience if they don’t have a working knowledge of these changes. Forms will be changed; IRA software must be updated which may take a while. On top of that, The CARES Act was passed three months later further making rules and regulations changes to IRAs. Because of this, you may have to do some explaining to your customers on what the permanent changes are and what the temporary changes are due to the COVID-19 virus. The contribution deadline for 2019 and IRS and customer reporting were extended. Not to mention the RMD waiver for owners and beneficiaries for 2020. This intensive 1.5-day format will help you pull it all together by helping you learn all you need to know! Each paid participant will receive the latest 275-page 2020-2021 IRA Training and Reference Manual - “The Red Book” in an electronic format for printing for this virtual classes. For all the details and to register click here. (only $510 through Feb. 1!) Questions? Email Jenna Lynn Warner.


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Last chance to register!

Remote Work: How Banks Can Build and Lead a Team - Jan. 21

We’ve been navigating uncharted waters for months now and remote work looks like it’s here to stay. While remote work is new to so many of us -- it’s not new to BELAY, which has been growing a successful company through remote work for over 10 years and is proud to lead the charge in disrupting the status quo by dismantling the way things have always been done. Join Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s vice president of human resources, on Jan. 21 as she shares answers to some of the most asked questions regarding remote work in this new webinar:

  • How do you measure productivity in a remote environment?

  • What traits indicate a person can work remotely?

  • How can managers support employees who work remotely?

  • Is remote work sustainable for my bank/company long term?

Register here (only $99 per person through Jan. 7!) Questions? Email Jenna Lynn Warner.


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Five Challenges Banks Can Solve in 2021 with SNL Banker

GBA is proud to promote SNL Banker, an offering from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as our recommended solution for financial performance management. The SNL Banker tool empowers banks to use internal, customer data as one of their most valuable assets. It also helps banks address the following problems:

  • Your bank has plenty of data to work with, but the time it takes to create reports makes it hard for management to quickly make business decisions

  • Your bank is only using the native capabilities of your core for reporting, and that’s not what they were designed to do

  • You still have distinct silos between departments, and it’s hard for management to prioritize business decisions

  • Your bank is worried about staying relevant with customers who have increasing options for financial services

  • Your bank is concerned about customers who have become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have loan commitments

Discounts for SNL Banker are available for GBA members through our partnership with S&P Global. To schedule a demo of SNL Banker, click here or contact Amy Garner, amy.garner@spglobal.com, 770.687.6369.


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Telemedicine Key Benefit for GBAIT Members

Just a friendly reminder that members covered by GBA Insurance Trust health plans have access to no-cost, 24/7 telemedicine services through Wellview. Telemedicine can help you and your family avoid doctor's offices and added costs. In most cases, you will be speaking with a doctor within 10 minutes, and the doctor can send prescriptions to your pharmacy of choice. More details here.



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Upcoming Webinars

View the full calendar here for dates, times and more programs. With questions, email events@gabankers.com.


Save 10-30% with a subscription package


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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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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:


Moultrie - Southwest Georgia Bank, a division of The First Bank

On Jan. 18, the Women’s Federated Club of Moultrie in partnership with the bank, will present its 33rd Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and its first virtual program. In keeping with the theme, “Fulfilling the Dream — Uniting the Community,” organizers have chosen this year to highlight the contributions of several community servants who have worked tirelessly to make a difference in this community.


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Alpharetta - Providence Bank, a Division of Heritage Southeast Bank

Andrew Walker, Jr., has joined the bank as Senior Vice President and Forsyth County President. Additionally, the bank is planning to open a full-service bank at 108 Canton Highway, Cumming, GA, in the second quarter of 2021.


Augusta - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Beth James has joined the bank as Vice President, Marketing Director. Read more here.


Blakely - OneSouth Bank

Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Randy Griffin retired on Dec. 31, 2020, after a 42-year career in banking.


Columbus - Synovus

John Tebeau has been appointed to market executive for the Athens area. Tebeau succeeds Laurie Clarke, who retired at the end of 2020 after 34 years with the bank.


Dublin - Morris Bank

Cassie Harrington, a teller at its Gray branch, received the bank’s 2020 Believe Award for Excellence. Lartica Young, a teller at the bank’s Statesboro main branch, received the 2020 Lead Award for Excellence.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Senior Vice President, Commercial Banker, Buddy Bennett was recently interviewed by Georgia CEO. See the video here. Tim Hutchings has joined the bank as Vice President, Commercial Banker, for its Savannah market. Read more here.


Moultrie - Ameris Bank

Carol Brooks has joined the bank as senior vice president, commercial banker in its Savannah market. Read more here. Steven Aase has joined bank as market president for the Dothan, AL; Donalsonville, GA; and Panama City, FL, markets.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

The bank honored the following employees with awards for 2020: VP, Retail Operations Rebekah Hammond won the 4th Quarter Golden Cupola; VP, Financial Center Manager Haley Reed was the Volunteer of The Year and Retail Team Member of The Year; Commercial Lending Specialist Michelle Gilreath was the Loan Support Team Member of The Year; IT Network Administrator Jamie McFalls was the Operations Support Team Member of The Year; SVP, Athens Market Executive Phillip Edwards was the Top Producer of The Year; and EVP, Chief Retail Officer Cristi Donahue received the Jerry K. Wages BEST Award. Additionally, the bank released a commemorative video for its 60th anniversary. See the video here.


Atlanta - James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP

Doroteya Wozniak has joined the firm as a partner in its financial institutions group. Read more here.


Atlanta - Promontory MortgagePath LLC

Diane Capers has joined the company as Vice President of Sales.


Birmingham, AL - EBS

Michael Pounds has been promoted to Managing Partner.


Little Rock, AR - SBS CyberSecurity

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Chairman and CEO Aaron Gamewell, who died recently. Gamewell was also former COO for the Arkansas Bankers Association.


Savannah - Access To Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)

The company announced it will open a new ACE Women’s Business Center in Savannah in the coming months.


Washington, D.C. - Comptroller of the Currency

Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks stepped down on Jan. 14, 2021, and pursuant to 12 USC 4, Chief Operating Officer Blake Paulson is now Acting Comptroller of the Currency. Read more here.


Washington, D.C. - FDIC

John Henrie has been appointed Regional Director of the Atlanta Region, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Michael Dean in 2020. FDIC also announced the selection of 11 companies to compete in the final phase of the agency’s Rapid Phased Prototyping Competition, including GBA Associate Members FIS, Fiserv and S&P Global Market Intelligence.



James Griffin







Brooks Hammond Reed







Wozniak Capers




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 Katina Prokos.

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