Jan. 22, 2021  

Legislature Focused on Budget This Week, House Committees Organize

The General Assembly has been in recess this week as it held budget hearings for revisions to the 2021 fiscal year budget and developing a 2022 budget. It’s notable that Gov. Brian Kemp announced in his State of the State Address that state revenues remain strong and that he won’t be seeking heavy budget cuts as in previous years. That’s good news for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, which efficiently makes the most of the nearly $13 million annually the General Assembly usually appropriates to it. Also, of note this week is the naming of committee leadership and membership in the House of Representatives. Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia) will remain Chairman of the House Banks and Banking Committee while the House Judiciary Committee will be led by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), the House Agriculture Committee will be chaired by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella), and the House Ways and Means Committee will be chaired by Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire). We were pleased to see these appointments as these are the House committees where much of our advocacy efforts are often focused. See the full committee lists here. The General Assembly is slated to go back in session Jan. 26 and we will publish our next Legislative Update the end of that week. Follow legislation we’re monitoring at our State Issues page on the gabankers.com website.


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Round 3 of PPP in Full Swing

Tuesday brought access to the new PPP loan program to all lenders, and Georgia’s bankers are working hard to help small businesses access the critical funding. SBA reported that it approved about 60,000 applications for more than $5 billion during the first week of availability, which was limited to community financial institutions and lenders with assets of $1 billion or less. SBA also released the much-anticipated short form application for loan forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less. The SBA and IRS have continued to release helpful guidance, rules and updated FAQ information covering issues such as calculating loan and forgiveness amounts, tax calculations and more, and we’ve shared those with member CEOs, key contacts and committee members in direct emails throughout the week. As a reminder, pay close attention to the new SBA Form 3058D as the SBA deadline is Jan. 26 for PPP borrowers covered by the form to get it back to their lender. As the disclosure is limited to narrowly defined ownership interests held by federal officials and spouses defined as the President, the Vice President, the head of an Executive department, a member of Congress, and their Spouse, it’s unlikely the vast majority of your PPP borrowers would need to complete and return the form. Some of our members tell us they’ve simply emailed the form to their existing PPP borrowers and asked that the form be completed and returned if it was applicable to their ownership.


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Vaccine Rollout Update

Our interpretation of the updated Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) draft vaccination rollout plan is that bankers should be covered in the next phase of the plan, phase 1-B. Georgia is currently still in Phase 1-A, which calls for vaccinations to be prioritized for essential workers in healthcare, law enforcement, fire protection and long-term care facilities, plus those aged 65+ and their caregivers. Phase 1-B includes essential workers not in Phase 1-A, and are described on page 20 as those who perform job tasks across critical infrastructure sectors ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health, safety, economic and national security.


Related webinar: COVID Vaccines, Paid Leave, and Accommodations: March 23 with Steve Greene


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From Accountant to 'Renaissance Banker,' Life on Safari and More with Ryan Hunt

Classic City Bank Senior Vice President Ryan Hunt got a solid start to his financial industry career at a boutique accounting firm in Atlanta before joining the community banking sphere in 2015. “I have always been intrigued with numbers and enjoy building relationships, so banking provided the perfect weld between both worlds,” he said. A Georgia Banking School Class of 2018 Honor Graduate, Hunt details how the school’s diverse curriculum helped shape him into a “Renaissance banker” (possessing a working knowledge of all areas of the bank), shares about working for his dad as a teen and his parents’ huge influence on his success, and describes the stint as a safari guide in Africa that changed his life in this week’s GBA Member Profile.


Related: Register for the Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School, which will be in session May 2-7 in Athens.


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GBA Retirement Services Welcomes New Member

GBA Retirement Services, Inc. is excited to welcome its newest member to the GBA Master Trust: Craft Bank, Ross Mynatt, CEO. We look forward to providing outstanding service to their team members in the years to come. Some of the advantages of being part of the GBA Master Trust include:

  • GBA’s dedicated staff support as a primary resource and oversight of service providers.

  • Unified Trust Company as an investment manager and discretionary Trustee.

  • Reduced fees with high-quality service providers.

  • Ongoing investment education and retirement planning sessions for employees.

  • Personalized Managed Account Solution geared to each participant’s needs through the Unified Plan at no additional cost for participants.

We would love to do a plan review and show you why all of our members are pleased with the service and performance provided by GBA Retirement Services! Contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information about how GBA Retirement Services can help design or improve your retirement plan.


Changes Coming to CFPB, SEC

President Biden has begun putting his stamp on regulatory agencies with oversight of banks and financial services committees. Earlier in the week he announced he’s going to nominate Rohit Chopra to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Chopra has served since 2018 as a Democratic member of the Federal Trade Commission, and he was a member of the launch team for the CFPB, serving as assistant director of the bureau for student lending and as student loan ombudsman. On Wednesday, Kathy Kraninger resigned from the post, and President Biden appointed Dave Uejio, the CFPB’s chief strategy officer, as acting director as the confirmation process for Chopra has yet to begin. President Biden also announced Gary Gensler is his nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gensler is an economics and management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We’ll be closely watching additional appointments in the coming weeks.


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UGA Ag Forecast Jan. 29

Agritourism and COVID-19 Impacts Headline Virtual Ag Event

Bankers serving farmers and agribusinesses may want to tune in to the annual University of Georgia Ag Forecast virtual event Jan. 29 starting at 9:30 a.m. Keynote topics are agritourism and the impact of COVID-19 on Georgia farmers. Breakout sessions will cover livestock and poultry; cotton, peanuts grains and oilseeds; green industry and vegetables; fruits and tree nuts; and forestry and land taxation. To register, visit https://agforecast.caes.uga.edu/. This year’s session is free to attend.


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Join Us Feb. 11 for State BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament

Leadership GBA will host the 2021 Sporting Clays Tournament Feb. 11 at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. It’s a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy nature, and support the State PAC.* Invite fellow bankers, customers, prospects, directors, and elected officials to join you. To sign up, click here. It’s $500 for a four-person team and $150 for an individual. Or, register a team and get a Stand Sponsorship for $700 (save $150). Shooters and non-shooters alike can show support through sponsorships ranging from $250 - $1,000. Click here for sponsorship details. Sponsors will be recognized in event and promotional materials, on on-site signage, and at the event. We look forward to seeing you at the tournament! Thanks to ATM Response; Bank of Madison; CSRA Business Lending; Community Banking Company of Fitzgerald, Fenimore, Kay, Harrison and Ford, FHLB of Atlanta, Haberfeld; Pinnacle Bank; Point to Point Environmental; Securitas Financial; The Citizens Bank of Americus and United Bank for sponsoring so far!  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.


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Ops-Tech Conference Spotlight

Tips for How to Partner with FinTechs

Join us in person or virtually at our Operations and Technology Conference Feb. 24-26. Among the sessions will be a really good discussion led by Zach Duke, CEO and founder of Fintech and Cybersecurity startup Finosec, about the fintech market, how fintechs go to market and partner with banks, how bankers can leverage innovation by partnering with fintechs, and best practices for due diligence and risk management. Click here to review the full agenda. There are two 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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Navigating Overdraft Compliance and Legal Risks in 2021

COVID-19 will continue to affect the way community banks conduct business for months, if not years, to come. Effectively navigating an environment of lower interest rates, reduced revenue opportunities, and the added logistics and costs of providing safe working and service environments due to the pandemic will be critical to maintaining healthy performance results. Plus, it will be wise to intensify awareness of increased scrutiny on practices that may cause financial hardship for consumers. Are significant changes in store for consumer protection regulations? Click here to read more from compliance expert Cheryl Lawson of GBA Partner JMFA.


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Free GBA Partner Webinar - Feb. 3, 2-3 p.m.

Modernize Your Mortgage Business with Better Technology, Scalable Operations & Increased Profitability

Community banks of all sizes can strengthen their franchise in 2021 by leveraging an advanced network to streamline operations, improve the customer experience, and optimize their balance sheets. Join GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath for an upcoming webinar to learn how to offer best-in-class mortgage solutions that can help banks increase profitability while introducing digital lending technology, improving overall efficiency and creating scalability in managing their mortgage operations. Register now for this free webinar.


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GBA Partner ServisFirst Offers the Best Plug and Play Credit Card Program - Tailor Made Just for You

Over the next week, when you have a few minutes, please take a look at some of these short and informative videos from GBA partner ServisFirst. You will hear from some of their team members about what sets their agent bank card program apart from all others. You can access the complete library here, or jump to one on the list below.


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Finding Reengagement During A Pandemic 

Between traditional and contemporary marketing strategies, the plethora of marketing tools available to financial institutions varies greatly. As a result, social media is often under-utilized and deserves greater attention, says GBA Associate Member The Element Group. The company has shared one idea with us that may be used to restore the onsite branch experience and establish the foundation for a higher level of interaction between the consumer and the institution. Check out their idea here.


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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. 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. Questions? Email Jenna Lynn Warner.


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New Director Education Content Available

We’ve got two new on-demand board education courses available to members that are 20-25 minute sessions for sharing during a board meeting or to make available to board members to view on their own time.

There’s more, too! The Directors Education Series from our online learning partner OnCourse Learning includes sessions about vendor management, BSA, reporting and more. See the full menu of director education sessions here.


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More Upcoming Webinars

New Administration's Priorities, HMDA, Coaching, Virtual Relationship Building

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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Atlanta - Cadence Bank

The bank this week announced plans to introduce 46 new Cadence LIVE Teller interactive teller machines across its footprint through 2021.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Chandler Ray has joined the bank as a lender in its Southside branch in Bainbridge. Read more here.


Chatsworth/Rome - First Chatsworth Bankshares, Inc./ Heritage First Bancshares, Inc.

First Chatsworth Bankshares Inc. ("FCBI"), parent of First National Community Bank (FNCB), and Heritage First Bancshares, Inc. ("HFBI"), parent of Heritage First Bank ("Heritage First"), announced an all-stock merger. Read more here.


Covington - Affinity Bancshares, Inc.

The company announced this week that Community First Bancshares, MHC, has completed its conversion from the mutual holding company to the stock holding company form of organization, and the company has completed its related stock offering. As a result of the closing of the conversion, the company is now the holding company of Newton Federal Bank, which has changed its name to Affinity Bank. Community First Bancshares, MHC and Newton Federal Bank's previous mid-tier holding company, Community First Bancshares, Inc., ceased to exist effective upon the closing of the Conversion. Read more here.


Valdosta - Commercial Banking Company

Ryan Warren has been promoted to Chief Lending Officer. More about Warren here. Cary Williams has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO/COO. More about Williams here. Jennifer McCranie has been promoted to Hahira branch manager. Matt Lucas has been promoted to assistant banking officer and IT specialist.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Donita McCormick has been promoted to vice president and manager of mortgage operations. Josh Collins has been promoted to vice president - talent and culture.


Wrightsville - Bank of Wrightsville

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of bank CFO Joel H. Ashcraft, who died this week.


Scottsboro, AL - FNB Bank

The bank’s holding company, FNS Bancshares, Inc., has signed an agreement to merge with Tupelo, MS,-based BancorpSouth Bank. FNS, founded in 1900 in Scottsboro, AL, operates 17 full-service banking offices in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, and the merger will mark BancorpSouth’s initial entry into Georgia. Read more here.


Suwanee - ATM Response, Inc.

Tony Webb has been named president of the company.



Ray Warren











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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