Weather-related Events Delay Hearings on GBA Priority Bills
The unexpected snowfall hitting metro-Atlanta resulted in suspension of committee and floor action Wednesday and Thursday this week. As a result, the hearing has been delayed on GBA’s two priority bills related to certain bank fees and patent trolls. We expect the hearing will be rescheduled next week. Be looking for GBA’s weekly Legislative Update that we’ll publish after the session adjourns Friday. We’ll let you know about several industry groups and individual companies joining us in support of the patent troll legislation. We’ve also added several bills to our tracking list ranging from the interest rate being charged on past due taxes, limits on condo assessments, and some new changes proposed with tax executions. We’ll also be highlighting a nice resolution honoring the dean of the House and giving you a behind the scenes look at the House Majority and Minority Leaders. The Capitol picture was taken this week by WABE's Capitol reporter Jonathan Shapiro. With questions about the goings on at the Capitol, contact GBA’s, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027 or Joe Brannen, 404.402.2026.
The lead article in the Business section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution Sunday chronicled a number of headline cases in which bankers, directors or customers were accused of or convicted of wrongdoing. The article implied they represented the industry as a whole, and that's just not the case. Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO, wrote the following letter to the editor in defense of the industry, which was published Monday.
The article "Ga. Banks: Fines, frauds, failures" (Business, Jan. 26), with the subhead "Fugitive's case latest in financial institutions' long, murky history," did little to inform your readers about the true history of Georgia's banks and bankers. It's unfortunate the few whose deeds were chronicled are portrayed as examples of an entire industry. Georgia banks have a proud heritage of being the facilitators of commerce, as the trusted institutions where deposits are safe and loans are made to creditworthy individuals, families and businesses. To besmirch an industry with a sensational story about a relative few who have been in the headlines is simply wrong. The 60,000 Georgians working for the 262 banks doing business in our state contribute their time, leadership and financial resources making life better for people and communities throughout Georgia. Their positive contributions deserve to be recognized, too.
Senate Passes GBA-Supported Flood Insurance Affordability Bill
Thursday the U.S. Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act introduced in November by Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). 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. The bill now moves to the House. We’ll keep you updated on its progress. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.
So far, banks have spent $153 million replacing 15.3 million credit and debit cards because of the Target data breach, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The theft has affected as many as 110 million people and remains under investigation. "That's just the estimated $10 per card cost to replace the cards, and doesn't even begin to cover the cost to banks of any actual fraud," said Joe Brannen, GBA President and CEO. "Right now, banks bear the full burden of those costs, and there should be much more shared responsibility with the retailers in cases like this that are not in any way related to bank security." Here are some key points to make in discussing data security:
The U.S. House and Senate conference committee has cleared a new Farm Bill proposal for a vote in their respective chambers. The House approved the bill Wednesday. The bill includes the removal of term limits for USDA-guaranteed farm loans, something GBA and others have supported for years. The bill also trims some farm subsidy programs and institutes a crop insurance program. Estimates are that the bill will reduce federal spending by $16.6 billion over 10 years. Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) was one of the Senate conferees and Rep. Austin Scott (R) was a House conferee. Both have stood strong for Georgia agriculture and agribusiness interests which contribute almost 10 percent of Georgia's total economy. Interested in some fun facts about where we lead the nation? Click here to see some stats from UGA's Cooperative Extension Service. In terms of national ranking, Georgia is number one, two or three for 14 commodities. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.
Speak Up about CFPB to U.S. House Committee
The U.S. House Financial Services Committee wants to hear about banker, business and consumer experiences with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The CFPB is adding piles of new, burdensome regulations on job creators, making it harder for them to grow their businesses, create jobs and meet the needs of their customers," the committee said. Individuals or businesses complaining about the CFPB may select to keep their submissions private during the reporting process. Georgia Reps. David Scott (D-District13) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-District 3) are on the committee. Submit feedback on the CFPB.
HR Professionals Institute Feb. 6-7 – There is Still Time to Register!
GBA’s 2014 HR Professionals Institute is just one week away. This annual conference focusing on issues affecting human resources professionals in banking is Thursday and Friday, Feb. 6-7, at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The conference will conclude on Friday with a legal update from experts Steve Greene, Helms & Greene, LLC, Atlanta, and Marian Exall, Employment Law Compliance, Atlanta. Greene and Exall will provide practical advice as well as take-and-use materials to help bankers implement HR best practices. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and make observations during this interactive session. Click here to register. While GBA’s room block at the Renaissance Waverly is sold out, GBA has secured a block of rooms at the also-nearby Courtyard Atlanta Cumberland Center at the nightly rate of $115. To make a reservation, call 770.952.2555 or 800.321.2211. But hurry, the deadline to reserve a room at the discounted rate is Friday, Jan. 31.
Thursday marked the end of Ben Bernanke's term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Wednesday's Federal Open Markets Committee meeting was the last one he presided over, and the Fed announced plans to taper purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities by $10 billion a month. The fed noted an improving economy and declining unemployment rate as reasons for the taper. It said it will keep short-term rates near zero, however, as long as unemployment is above 6.5 percent and inflation projections are "well anchored." Among the things Bernanke's term will be noted for are his management of the financial crisis and his moves to make the Federal Reserve more transparent and open about monetary policy. Bernanke was born in Augusta, and is widely known as an expert on the Great Depression. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart shared some interesting perspectives about Bernanke and his term, as a person who has worked directly with him, in an article in the Augusta Chronicle.
whitepaper from the U.S Postal Service's Office of
Inspector General said the agency could earn nearly
Remember ACH Excused Delay Rules
There are specific rules in place for ACH transactions that may have been delayed by this week’s inclement weather. GBA Associate Member the Georgia Automated Clearing House Association (GACHA) provided a helpful bulletin this week about the rules. Here’s a link to the bulletin. If your ACH operations are adversely impacted by inclement weather, call GACHA at 678.387.9791 or email email@example.com for further information.
Fourth quarter 2013 experienced solid gains in the stock market, but the overall year-to-date results were even better, with the Aggressive Appreciation model exceeding 30 percent. For GBA Retirement plan participants, the investment returns of Reliance Trust Company, performed well against major market indexes and other competitive funds and models. Please refer to the latest update for detailed returns on the LifeStylesSM models and other market indexes. The details of the individual funds in the Plan have been sent to Trust members. The LifeStylesSM portfolios are a great way to ensure participants are well diversified and to allow participants to make investment decisions in a simplified way. Our online readers also have access to the fourth quarter 2013 investment newsletter produced by Reliance Trust Company. Members of the GBA Master Trust have ongoing investment education for their participants through annual re-enrollment meetings and an enrollment DVD or online video. The GBA Retirement Services, Inc. Board of Directors continues to meet quarterly to review the investments and administration of the Master Trust. The board is comprised of bankers who know the business and help produce the greatest results for their banks, their employees and other banks and bankers participating in the Trust. Under the Master Trust, Reliance Trust Company serves as a 3(38) Discretionary Trustee, which helps reduce some of the liability a bank would have when serving as Trustee of its own plan or when hiring a broker who is only an advisor and not a discretionary trustee. Please call Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for information about how GBA Retirement Services can help design or improve your retirement plan.
Special Offer for Bank Director Board Training Forum
Bank Director Magazine is offering GBA members a special $200 discount off the $1,495 registration price for its Bank Board Training Forum that will be March 6-7 at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville. TN. To get the registration code, contact David Oliver, or Susie McGehee.
America Saves Week is an annual opportunity for banks to promote good savings habits. Each year, hundreds of banks use the program to attract new customers, offer incentivized accounts to help people save, increase account balances, and educate individuals on the importance of saving. Check out the free resources below to help your customers save and sign up to participate in this nation-wide movement today. Banks can benefit by:
Learn about IRAs from the esteemed Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. This seminar is specifically designed to teach new account representatives, certificate of deposit personnel and any officer/manager who oversees the IRA department, everything there is to know about IRAs. Included in the cost of the seminar, each attendee will receive the 225-page IRA Training and Reference Manual, otherwise known as the "IRA Survival Guide" or the "Red Book." This comprehensive workshop will provide you with a complete understanding of the IRA as well as a review of significant proposed changes. The one-day seminar will be Feb. 12 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon starting at 9 a.m. For information or to register, please click here. With questions, contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
Now is the time to register for GBA's Analyzing Financial Statements seminar. Led by Mike Allen with State Bank & Trust, Atlanta, this one-day seminar is designed for entry-level commercial lending officers, credit trainees and analysts. Topics to be covered include analyzing personal tax returns, analyzing commercial financial statements and much more. The Analyzing Financial Statements Seminar is Feb. 20 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Click here to register online. With questions please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
This seminar features two outstanding sessions. Steve Moore of Bank Compliance Services, Avondale Estates, will be leading a full-day seminar packed with valuable information for compliance officers, loan officers and other bank personnel responsible for HMDA and Fair Lending compliance. In the morning session, attendees will learn about new and updated rules, types of loan applications that are HMDA reportable, the regulatory consequences for non-compliance, community development loans and much more. In the afternoon session, Steve will provide an-depth look at fair lending, including a detailed description of "side-by-side loan file analysis," common loan practices with potential fair lending effects, and other components of an effective Fair Lending program. The HMDA and CRA Workshop + Fair Lending Seminar is Feb. 25 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Click here to register online. With questions please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
Preventing loan losses by implementing proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is critical in the banking industry. Join Mike Allen, State Bank & Trust, at GBA's Loan Documentation Seminar as he shares techniques for proper loan documentation. Topics include background and review, identifying the borrower, identifying the collateral, evidencing the debt, attaching and perfecting the collateral, real estate specifics and much more. Designed for commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists, the seminar will be March 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Click here to register online. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
GBA's Southeastern Community Bank Symposium is Coming Up April 3
Attention Southeastern Georgia community banks. The Georgia Bankers Association along with Georgia Southern University Center for Excellence in Financial Services will host its annual Southeastern Community Bank Symposium April 3 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. It will feature leading industry experts who will focus on the important issues facing the banking industry today. A detailed brochure will be available soon. Be sure to take advantage of the special pricing structure by registering several people from your bank for this event. The registration fee is $159 for the first attendee and $129 per person for each additional attendee. With questions, please contact GBA's Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.
Managing Vendor Relationships, Fraud Prevention and Coaching Skill Sessions Coming Up
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 www.gabankers.com.
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.
Delivered in conjunction with ABA, the IRA Online Institute is an
intensive 12-week course developed and supported by Ascensus'
professional instructors that teaches in-depth, essential IRA
information about Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP plans and SIMPLE
IRA plans. Ascensus has tailored its premier
AIB Instructor-Led Courses
General Accounting, Principles of Banking and Consumer Lending among Offerings
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.
Affinion's Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&) plan is a "customer appreciation" program designed to strengthen ties with your customers and to generate incremental revenue. The program offers $1,000 of AD&D insurance at no cost to your customers. AD&D insurance covers your customers in the event of loss of life, live, sight, speech or hearing due to a covered accident. No one can be turned down for coverage. The program is marketed with a tried-and-true direct mail solicitation program, including, over time, the implementation of multiple acquisitions, cross-sell and up sell direct response events. Key benefits include:
For information, contact Bethany Armstrong at 615.794.2356.
Banks can earn investment income, gain CRA credit and strengthen protections for the elderly by investing in the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation (SHCPF). The SHCPF is a national organization that helps banks earn CRA credit by providing the acclaimed Senior Crimestoppers Program to low- and moderate-income nursing home residents and elderly Veterans home residents through CRA-qualified loans and investments in the Foundation. Here is why this is important:
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.
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.
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. See these and other member community contributions on GBA's new Facebook page. Here's our latest installment:
Claxton - The Claxton Bank
The bank recently participated in the celebration of the centennial
of Evans County. The bank was asked to create a display showcasing
the history of the bank. Led by President and CEO, Philip
Williams, and Senior Vice President, Patsy Rogers, the
display was a tremendous success. Monica Howard, Carri Self,
Renee Spikes and
Griffin - United Bank
The bank is proud to sponsor Futral Road Elementary School's 14th-Annual Heart Hustle (5K), 1-mile fun run, and Tot Trot. The races will be Saturday, Feb. 8, at Futral Road Elementary School. Warm up will begin at 8:15 am, 1-mile Fun Run and Tot Trot will begin at 8:30 am, and 5K begins at 9 a.m. Visit www.gscs.org/futralroad to register.
Jonesboro - Heritage Bank
The Henry Council for Quality Growth (HCQG) designated the bank as Member of the Year at its annual meeting Jan. 10. Employees of Heritage Bank that serve HCQG are DeeDee McIntyre and Jack Bowdoin. CEO Leonard Moreland accepted the award on behalf of the bank and his team. He said, "HCQG is a vital part of our community and we are happy to be a part of growing Henry County. Heritage Bank continues to serve the needs of our customers and the community, and we are honored to be recognized by HCQG for doing just that."
Lawrenceville - BrandBank
Staff and friends of the bank were proud to participate in the Atlanta Mission 5k on Jan. 25.The Atlanta Mission serves over 1,000 of men, women and children every day. The downtown men's shelter is a refuge for over 400 men on a daily basis.
Macon - State Bank & Trust Company
The bank recently donated $25,000 to the Macon Chamber of Commerce. The funds will be used to support "Macon Now," a chamber-driven initiative that works to enhance the effectiveness of both the Macon Chamber and Economic Development Commission. "We're proud to support the Macon Chamber in this endeavor and look forward to helping them continue to grow the economy in our region," said Dan Forrester, Director of Community & Government Relations in Middle Georgia.
Richmond Hill - Southeastern Bank
The bank is pleased to be hosting a Business After Hours in Richmond Hill on Feb. 20 for members and guests of the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce. Business professionals that are interested in joining the Chamber or learning more about the Chamber are also welcome. To learn more, click here
Rockmart - Century Bank of Georgia
On each Friday in the coming weeks, a member of the bank's staff will be preparing a delicious treat to be sold in the lobby. All proceeds will be going to the Polk County Relay for Life.
Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank
President and CEO Cynthia Day has been elected to the board
of Duluth-based Primerica, which markets insurance and investment
products to middle-income consumers.
Augusta - Georgia Bank and Trust
Helen Caldwell has been promoted to Vice President & Business
Development Officer. C. Ashby Bethune has been elected as
Banking Officer, Credit Administration. Jonathon Renew has
been elected as Information Technology Officer. Loretta Smith
has been elected as Training Officer. Posie Carey has been
elected as Accounting Officer, Tax. Nancy Sheahan has been
elected as Accounting Officer. Joel Thomas has been elected
as Banking Officer, Office Manager.
Blairsville - United Community Bank
Lynn Harton has been named to serve as President as well
as COO of the bank.
Synovus Financial Corp.
Allan Kamensky has joined the company as Executive Vice
President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
Bank of America
Patrick O'Neil has been promoted to Market President for
Savannah and the tri-county area in Georgia.
Savannah - The Coastal Bank
Melissa Guzman has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager
at the bank's Rincon office. Jazmine Fowler has been promoted
to Assistant Branch Manager at its Johnson Square office.
Jennifer Campbell has been promoted to Assistant Branch
Manager and Banking Officer at the bank’s Stephenson Avenue office.
Steven Hobbs has been promoted to Personal Banker at the
bank’s Pooler office. Mia Thompson has been promoted to
Assistant Branch Manager at the bank’s Pooler office.
Vidalia - Altamaha Bank and Trust
Brent Sammons has been named President and Chief Executive
Officer. Matt Mead has been named Senior Lending Officer.
Monty Craft has been named Branch Manager of the Uvalda branch
Washington D.C. - Office of the Comptroller
Kevin Walsh has been named Deputy Comptroller for Market
Risk, succeeding Martin Pfinsgraff, who was named Senior
Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank Supervision last year. Molly
Scherf has been named Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank
Georgia Bankers Association I 50
Hurt Plaza, Suite 1050 | Atlanta, Georgia 30303 |
Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank
President and CEO Cynthia Day has been elected to the board of Duluth-based Primerica, which markets insurance and investment products to middle-income consumers.
Augusta - Georgia Bank and Trust
Helen Caldwell has been promoted to Vice President & Business Development Officer. C. Ashby Bethune has been elected as Banking Officer, Credit Administration. Jonathon Renew has been elected as Information Technology Officer. Loretta Smith has been elected as Training Officer. Posie Carey has been elected as Accounting Officer, Tax. Nancy Sheahan has been elected as Accounting Officer. Joel Thomas has been elected as Banking Officer, Office Manager.
Blairsville - United Community Bank
Lynn Harton has been named to serve as President as well as COO of the bank.
Columbus - Synovus Financial Corp.
Allan Kamensky has joined the company as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
Savannah - Bank of America
Patrick O'Neil has been promoted to Market President for Savannah and the tri-county area in Georgia.
Savannah - The Coastal Bank
Melissa Guzman has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at the bank's Rincon office. Jazmine Fowler has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at its Johnson Square office. Jennifer Campbell has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager and Banking Officer at the bank’s Stephenson Avenue office. Steven Hobbs has been promoted to Personal Banker at the bank’s Pooler office. Mia Thompson has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager at the bank’s Pooler office.
Vidalia - Altamaha Bank and Trust
Brent Sammons has been named President and Chief Executive Officer. Matt Mead has been named Senior Lending Officer. Monty Craft has been named Branch Manager of the Uvalda branch office.
Washington D.C. - Office of the Comptroller of Currency
Kevin Walsh has been named Deputy Comptroller for Market Risk, succeeding Martin Pfinsgraff, who was named Senior Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank Supervision last year. Molly Scherf has been named Deputy Comptroller for Large Bank Supervision.
Georgia Bankers Association I 50 Hurt Plaza, Suite 1050 | Atlanta, Georgia 30303 | 404.522.1501