July 16, 2021  


New Leadership GBA Officers and Board Members Elected

Congratulations to the new officers and new members of the Leadership GBA Board of Directors, who were elected this week. This board is dedicated to the industry’s emerging leaders and their development. "These leaders are creative, engaged and enthusiastic about banking. They are all-in on continuing the tradition Leadership GBA has as  the premier resource for driving the development of strong career bankers across Georgia,” said GBA Chairman Luke Flatt, chairman, president and CEO, AB&T, Albany. Each year, the Leadership GBA Board plans and hosts the Leadership Conference as well as the BankPAC Golf Classic and the BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament, both of which are fundraisers for GBA’s StatePAC. Mark your calendar for the Golf Classic on Oct. 20 at the River Forest Golf Club in Forsyth. There are also three Leadership Roundtables sponsored by the Board.


The 2021-2022 officers are:

  • Chair: Jenny WoffordPinnacle Bank, Elberton

  • Chair-Elect: Candice NanneyPeach State Bank & Trust, Gainesville

  • Vice Chair: Kelly Smith, First National Bank of Griffin

  • Past Chair: Danny MinickThe Citizens Bank of Americus

The following even-numbered group level representatives were elected to serve a two-year term:

  • Group 2: Jason Rooks, Flint Community Bank, Albany

  • Group 4: Tessa Nolan, Affinity Bank, Covington

  • Group 6: Zach Giddens, Morris Bank, Warner Robins

  • Group 8: Sam Warren, Guardian Bank, Valdosta

  • Group 10: Sam Drennen, First American Bank & Trust, Athens

The Board also welcomes the following newly appointed members for a two-year term:

  • At-Large: Zach Sowell, United Bank, Jackson

  • At-Large: Robert Duvall, Bank of Madison

  • Associate Member Representative: Christy Tinsley, Mauldin & Jenkins

A huge shout-out of thanks to the Leadership Board members whose terms have ended:

  • Past Chair: Andrew Ainslie, Bank of Madison

  • Group 2: Bert Hines, First National Bank, Bainbridge

  • Group 4: William Tuttle, United Bank, Barnesville

  • Group 6: Kelly Herrington, Morris Bank, Dublin

  • Group 8: Russell Bates, Waycross Bank & Trust, Waycross

  • Group 10: Jarrod Prickett, First American Bank & Trust, Athens

  • At Large: Brad Sheffield, Synovus Bank, Statesboro

  • Associate Member: Ryan Barrow, Wipfli, Watkinsville

We can’t thank these folks enough for their dedication and commitment to Leadership GBA. We know they’ll continue to be engaged in GBA advocacy, events and programs as they continue to lead within their banks and hometowns.


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Leadership Conference Dazzles

We had a capacity crowd of nearly 400 bankers, associate members and their family members at this year’s Leadership Conference that wrapped up Wednesday. The program, networking and family fellowship continue to make this one of GBA’s signature events each year. The program content is always the centerpiece of the event, and this year’s lineup delivered a healthy dose of important industry and leadership information. Tuesday’s sessions included an industry and advocacy update from GBA’s Joe Brannen and David Oliver, an economic update from State Economist Jeffrey Dorfman, a strategic thinking session by GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower of the Fenimore, Kay, Harrison law firm, and a tech trends overview by Dave DeFazio of Strategy Corps. Wednesday’s topics were a housing overview by John Hunt of MarketNsight & ViaSearch, a look at managing in a multigenerational workplace with Dr. Melissa Furman of Career Potential, and ideas for crafting a strong corporate culture with Jamey Lutz, who is an author, former banker and current managing director at ChenMed. Leaders also met in their geographic groups and elected new officers and board members. A big thanks to the Leadership GBA Board of Directors, who planned the conference, and the 12 exhibitors and 11 sponsors who helped make the event such a success. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.



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Georgia Banking Trends Survey Results

For the past several years, we’ve surveyed attendees of our Leadership Conference against the views of our Board of Directors and Community Bankers Committee members to gauge similarities and differences in thoughts about a variety of banking trends. In this year’s survey, looking at risks, a couple interesting things emerged. Risks related to loan growth prospects led both survey groups, but there were two areas where things diverged. There were differences in how pricing, talent and compliance risks were rated. There was fairly close alignment in ideas about the best line-of-business opportunities for banks, and perhaps the most interesting answers came from the groups about skills that need development. Conference participants were more focused on improving delegation skills, while CEOs on our board and Community Bankers Committee rated coaching and teambuilding skills as higher on the scale of importance. See more details here. With questions, contact GBA’s David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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CEO / Leader Updates

Branch Banking Outlook, CSBS Survey Results, Competition from Farm Credit and More

Our series of ongoing time-sensitive emails to member CEOs, committee members and other key contacts continued this week. Email alert topics included details and resources about the following:

  • Future of the Branch. The Economist magazine reported on a study predicting the demise of bank branches within five years. It surveyed bankers worldwide with most operating large-branch networks, so it’s not totally applicable to Georgia. S&P Global released this report of how many branches have been closed and opened in the U.S. recently. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition released this report from consumer and marginalized communities’ perspectives. President Biden even mentioned branch closures in an Executive Order he signed Friday related to competition (see page 13), so opinions are varied. While the branch model in Georgia may be evolving, we don’t agree that branches will be “dead” in five years.


  • Community Bank Sentiment Index. Community Bankers remain optimistic about a range of issues according to a survey released Friday by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS).


  • Farm Credit Competition. Our members lending to agricultural interests continue to report unfair and growing competition from the taxpayer subsidized Farm Credit System, similar to what other members are experiencing from taxpayer subsidized credit unions. There’s legislation in both houses that could help toward a broad fix, and we’ll be telling you more about that in an advocacy push coming soon.


  • Senate Earmarks. In an earlier email, we shared a list of local projects members of the Georgia U.S. House delegation requested be funded in the current appropriations cycle. Here’s a link to Sen. Ossoff’s requests, and this is the link to Sen. Warnock’s requests.

If you’d like more information about any of those topics, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Edwards’ Take on Next Gen Leaders and Mentoring

Careers in banking continue to evolve, and United Bank CEO Jim Edwards says that’s exciting because it creates new energy. Edwards, the current ABA Chairman, penned an article for the ABA Banking Journal about cultivating new talent. “The rapid evolution of what it means to be a banker just continues. When I speak to groups about banking careers, I talk about opportunities in technology, digital marketing, customer relationship management, cybersecurity and so many other areas until recently few associated with banking. As industry leaders it’s our responsibility to make sure we communicate these opportunities to local colleges and technical schools. Banking has always been about people and no bank is better than its employees, so it’s incumbent on all of us to recruit the best and brightest,” he says in the article. Read more here.


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GBA Chairman Encourages Member Representation at Women in Banking Conference

GBA’s Women in Banking Conference is coming up Aug. 12-13 at Chateau Elan in Braselton. With topics including the economy, key banking strategy, public affairs, peer best practices, customer and community protection, along with some fun and wellbeing, it is a terrific energizer for women leaders at all levels in the bank. “I view this as important programming for the association and industry. Efforts to strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion is a priority for me in my term as GBA Chairman, and this is the type of conference we can point to with pride as part of our commitment to that,” says GBA Chairman Luke Flatt, who is chairman, president and CEO of AB&T in Albany. Click here for online registration, the complete agenda, hotel information and more. We’d like to give a shout-out to our conference sponsors: ATM Solutions; Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta; Fenimore, Kay & Harrison, LLP; and McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Company. Sponsorship opportunities are still available – click here for info. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions about the conference or sponsorship.


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Meet GBA Committee Chairs for New Year

GBA’s fiscal year began July 1, which is always an exciting time for us. Not only do we get to start afresh executing our Board-developed strategic plan and annual Plan of Work, our committees are also busy planning their annual conferences, events and schools. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the association and more than 300 bankers give of their time and talent to help GBA be the premier educational resource for our members. Join us in welcoming and thanking the 2021-2022 committee chairs:


Agriculture Committee

Nic Worthy

Colony Bank, Rochelle

Rural Development and Lending Conference

May 19-20, 2022, St. Simons


Asset/Liability Management Committee

Jay Torbert

Southeastern Bank, Brunswick

Financial Risk Management Conference

Nov. 4-5, 2021, Atlanta


Bank Accountant Section Board

Marjorie Huckabee Carter

McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC, Macon

Bank Accountant Conference

Sept. 26-28, 2021, Lake Oconee


Bank Counsel Section Board

John Willis

Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, LLP, Atlanta

Bank Counsel Conference

Sept. 26-28, 2021, Lake Oconee


Community Bankers Committee

John Barker

First Bank of Pike, Molena

President/CEO Conference

Sept. 26-28, 2021, Lake Oconee


Compliance Committee

Christopher Marks

American Pride Bank, Macon

Compliance Conference

Oct. 20-22, 2021, St. Simons


Compliance School Board

Thomas Williams

United Bank, Griffin

GBA Compliance School

May 1-6, 2022, Athens


Credit Committee

Philip Bernardi

Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville

Credit Conference

Dec. 2-3, 2021, Atlanta


Georgia Banking School Board

Darron Burnette

Synovus Bank, Statesboro

Georgia Banking School

May 1-6, 2022, Athens


Human Resources Committee

Tonya Brooks

Citizens Bank of the South, Sandersville

HR Professionals Institute

March 23-25, 2022, St. Simons


Leadership GBA Board of Directors

Jenny Wofford

Pinnacle Bank, Elberton

Leadership Conference

July 11-13, 2022, Ponte Vedra, FL


Marketing Committee

Andrea Nolan Griffin

First National Bank of Griffin, Griffin

Marketing Conference

March 24-25, 2022, St. Simons


Operations/Technology Committee

Dana White

AB&T, Albany

Operations and Technology Conference

Feb. 23-25, 2022, Savannah


Security Committee

David Griffin

Colony Bank, Fitzgerald

Bank Security Conference

April 11-13, 2022, St. Simons


Women in Banking Committee

Cristi Donahue

Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville

Women in Banking Conference

Aug. 12-13, 2021, Braselton




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Improvement in Labor Shortage Headline in Beige Book

Wage increases in some labor sectors seem to be moderating the labor shortages businesses have been reporting for the past several months, according to the latest Beige Book report of regional economic conditions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. There’s still high demand for workers, but employment is increasing. Other conditions of note include hotel occupancy at 80-90% of pre-pandemic levels, rising input costs, higher home prices but slowing residential lending and transportation-sector expansion.


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Enhanced Version of Money Smart for Older Adults Now Available

The FDIC and CFPB announced the joint release of an enhanced version of the award-winning financial education curriculum, “Money Smart for Older Adults.” The enhanced version includes a new section to help people avoid “romance scams” and an updated resource guide The free curriculum includes an instructor guide with presentation content, speaker tips, hands-on activities, presentation slides and a resource guide for participants. Click here to download the training materials from the FDIC or order free handouts and other resources for older adults from the CFPB. In addition, the FDIC and CFPB have released a newly created informational brochure on COVID-19-related scams.


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Registration Includes State-Specific Manual

Seminar: Georgia Specific New-Account Documentation and Compliance – Aug. 10

Join us Aug. 10 in Macon for the popular New-Account Documentation and Compliance Seminar with Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting. This full-day workshop, customized to Georgia state law, teaches essential new account opening procedures, best practices, and compliance requirements. It answers complex questions asked by customers and staff while focusing on vital information for every new account type. Learn more here.


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Only Three Spots Left!  

The BSA Experience: A Special Message from Terri Sands



We’re just weeks away from The BSA Experience. Don’t forget to register (there are only three spots left) and book your hotel room. The cut-off date for booking your hotel room is Monday, July 26, 2021 and rooms may sell out before this date!  Click here to learn more and register.


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Join Live or Purchase a Recording!

July Webinars: Fair Lending, Reg CC, TDRs, Flood Insurance and More!

Do you have a BankWebinars.com webinar subscription package? Save 10-30% with a subscription package (details here). Use your credits on the webinars below or purchase webinars and recordings individually. View the full calendar here. Questions? bankwebinars@oncourselearning.com.

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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 - Georgia Primary Bank

Cindy Jurnack has joined the company as senior vice president and loan operations manager. Read more here.


Blairsville - United Community Bank

United Community Banks Inc. will acquire Brentwood, TN-based Reliant Bancorp Inc. and wholly owned subsidiary Reliant Bank in an all-stock deal with an aggregate value of about $517 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.


Chatsworth - First National Community Bank

Michael H. Baker has been named chief banking officer and Rome market president. Read more here.


Houston, TX - Cadence Bank

The bank this week announced the launch of its supplier diversity portal, building on its commitment to utilize diverse businesses in the procurement of goods, services and contracts. The portal allows suppliers to register for the opportunity to compete for the bank’s business and serves as a hub of supplier information that Cadence Bank will use when considering vendors for a product or service.


Rome - Greater Community Bank

Richard Carlton has been promoted to senior vice president. Read more here.


Atlanta - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Chapelle Dabney Davis has been promoted to senior vice president, chief diversity officer, and director of Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. Read more here.



Jurnack Carlton Davis



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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