banks were well represented this week in Washington, D.C. Georgia
Bank & Trust CEO Dan Blanton, who is the ABA vice chairman,
testified to the U.S. House Financial
Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
His topic was the increased regulatory and legal burdens on
community banks and how they are crimping credit and product
offerings. “Managing this tsunami of regulation is a significant
challenge for a bank of any size, but for the median-sized bank with
only 40 employees, it is overwhelming,”
Blanton said. “In
dramatic illustration of this point, a 2011 ABA survey of bank
compliance officers found that compliance burdens have caused almost
45 percent of the banks to stop offering loan or deposit accounts.
In addition, almost 43 percent of the banks decided to not launch a
new product, delivery channel or enter a geographic market because
of the expected compliance cost or risk.” Blanton went on the record
to support several bills that would end
Operation Choke Point, require a study of Basel III’s treatment of
mortgage servicing assets, protect the confidentiality of
information shared with state regulators and require cost-benefit
analyses of new regulations. He also had an opportunity to
have good conversations with the two Georgia members of the
Committee, Lynn Westmoreland and David Scott. “Dan is
banking’s answer to Yoenis Cespedes at the All-Star Home Run Derby
this week. He really knocked it out of the park during his testimony
with the examples he used and his insight into how banks are being
affected,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. With
Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or
Joe Brannen, 404.420.4026.
GBA Chairman Remer Brinson, president and CEO of First Georgia Bank of Georgia; Dan Blanton, president and CEO, Georgia Bank and Trust and ABA vice chairman; and John Hall, CEO, American Pride Bank, Macon; were among banking leaders from across the country who gathered this week to discuss all things banking at the annual ABA Summer Leadership Meeting. “We heard from industry experts and spent hours in table discussions prioritizing the issues most important to our banks and customers. What was interesting to me is that regardless of whether you were a banker from Georgia or Oregon, or from a small rural bank in Kansas or a larger regional bank in Massachusetts, we all face the same threats of a regulatory system badly in need of reform, cybercriminals working every day to crack into our systems, and competitors outside the traditional banking industry chipping away at our market share. Yet I left the meeting with a renewed sense of optimism that the collective strength of our great industry is committed to respond to these challenges, and I see a bright future ahead for us,” Brinson said. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen also attended. In the photo at right, John Hall is reporting on the discussions held at his table.
Can a bank director be legally liable for ordinary negligence in a lawsuit brought by the FDIC as receiver for the bank? The Georgia Supreme Court recently held in FDIC v. Loudermilk that the answer is, not surprisingly, “sometimes.” But the Court’s unanimous decision actually brings a lot of needed clarity to the law in this area. The Court held that when a bank director exercises due care in the process leading up to a decision, the wisdom of that decision will not be questioned. That principle, often referred to as the “business judgment rule,” is a common law rule that protects directors from liability for decisions that turn out to be wrong in hindsight. An example would be a loan approved by the board that later proved uncollectable. The FDIC’s lawsuits involving closed Georgia banks had called into question whether the rule was superseded by the Banking Code’s ordinary negligence standard of care, but the Court held that the rule does apply to bank directors. The Court made it equally clear, however, that the rule does not protect directors who act as mere figureheads and who are not properly engaged in the decision making process. We view the ruling as important in clarifying that directors of banks in Georgia are afforded the same legal protections as other corporate directors in making their decisions. Bryan Cave’s banking blog has a helpful further summary of the decision here.
Georgia’s emerging bank leaders will gather Sunday for the GBA Leadership Conference. We’ve got a strong crowd attending, and they’ll be treated to an agenda jam-packed with the latest industry trends, networking and fun. Look for coverage of the meeting in next week’s Bulletin and GBA’s Twitter feed, @GABankers, and our Facebook page. The conference is sponsored and organized by GBA's Leadership GBA Executive Committee led this year by Walker Jordan, Senior Vice President of the Bank of Monticello. With questions about the Leadership Conference or Leadership GBA in general, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.
Members with Trust Preferred Securities (TruPS) shouldn't miss the upcoming town hall meeting to discuss TruPS, deferred dividends and bankruptcy issues that have developed. The issue has become a hot topic in the industry. Come find out what GBA’s outside counsel, Walt Moeling of the Bryan Cave law firm, and his colleagues have learned about the issues related to what some of our banks are facing. We'll also get the regulators’ and investment bankers’ take on it, and have an open dialogue to determine the options available going forward. The agenda is being finalized, but if you want to save the date, the TruPS Town Hall is Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. While GBA’s counsel has been asked to coordinate the program, we trust other members of GBA’s Bank Counsel Section as well as others, such as our bank accountants, will attend as the collective wisdom of all involved in this issue will benefit the industry. If you want to go ahead and register, you can do that online by clicking here. Contact Susie McGehee with questions about the Town Hall meeting. For reference, Bryan Cave’s Jerry Blanchard writes a good summary of the issues involved in a blog post.
Bank Directors & Executive Management Conference - Aug. 27
Providing annual training for directors is always an important part of a bank's ongoing responsibilities. We've worked with Karl Nelson, CEO, KPN Consulting to develop a full-day session that is low-cost and comprehensive way to provide your directors with education on key banking topics, and we will provide Certificates of Completion for those in attendance. It's also a great agenda for all of your management team because it really covers all the bases of the current key issues. See the link below for a full agenda, which covers strategic planning, interest rate risk, loan pricing strategies, mastering exams, raising capital and more. The conference is Aug. 27 at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Registration for the conference is only $225 for the first person from each bank and $195 for each additional person from the same institution. Please click here to register for the session. If you have any questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers, 404.420.2002.
Bankers Respond to Grassroots Support of Portfolio Lending Bill
We appreciate member efforts in the past week to support H.R. 2673 by Rep. Andy Barr from Kentucky, which says that if a bank makes a residential real estate loan and retains the loan in the bank's portfolio, the loan would meet the Ability-to-Repay standards and receive Qualified Mortgage treatment by regulators. If you haven’t done so, please take a moment to send a similar letter, and be sure to specify the bill you’re supporting. A groundswell of encouragement from bankers could help push the portfolio lending bill to a floor vote. To make it simple, take advantage of ABA's letter writing system that lets you personalize your letter without having to dig too deeply in the weeds of all the legislative language. Click the link here that takes you right to that service. Here’s a link to a copy of a letter to members of Congress by Ed Loomis, president and CEO of Colony Bank, Fitzgerald. Loomis gave specific examples of the decline in the bank's mortgage volume directly related to the Dodd-Frank Act and broadened the letter to a call for further legislation to limit the regulatory burden on community banks. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.
Here’s a quick list of ways you can be a strong advocate for the industry this summer.
"As we all know, political campaigns seem to require more money than ever for good people to get elected” said Pait Willis, president and CEO of South Georgia Banking Company in Tifton and vice-chair of the BankPAC Board of Directors. “And, the political interests of Georgia’s banking industry are greater than I can ever remember. Therefore, as individuals that are responsible for our own organization’s performance, we must recognize that we have to support candidates that support our need for a less regulated, yet competitive marketplace. We must not continue to wait for our fellow bankers across the state to carry the financial need for our BankPAC," he added.
As a reminder, the GBA StatePAC accepts contributions from a state bank or the holding company of a national bank while the GBA FedPAC accepts personal contributions from bank officers, directors and eligible employees. GBA Associate Members and Bank Counsel Members are also encouraged to contribute to the StatePAC. Enclosed are the contribution forms for each PAC with suggested giving amounts for your use. See how your group has done so far this year. With questions, please contact Elizabeth Chandler at 404.420.2027. Thanks to those that have already made their contributions including these companies that contributed to the GBA StatePAC:
And the officers, directors and eligible employees of the following banks to the GBA FedPAC:
Retail, hospitality and home prices in the Southeast showed good growth in June and early July, said the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book this week. The report characterized economic activity as expanding modestly, with contacts anticipating higher growth soon. Bankers reported stronger loan growth and increased use of credit lines, and they continued to report aggressive pricing and terms for loans. Mortgage lending slowed, but new home purchases made up a higher percentage of mortgage applications. Demand for commercial real estate continued to improve across most of the region, and construction continued to increase at a modest pace from last year. Read more here.
Following the success of GBA’s inaugural Marketing Peer Group in May in Marietta, the GBA Marketing Committee will host a second peer group, centrally located in Macon Sept. 9. All GBA member Marketing Officers are invited for a day of in-depth, hands-on sessions from a variety of experts and industry leaders. We'll discuss tools of the trade, website analytics, what's working in Social Media around Georgia and more. The registration price is just $99 and includes sessions, lunch, and peer group materials. Click here to see the complete agenda and to register!
Image by Wasi ahmed02 / CC-BY-SA-3.0
Tackling UDAAP and Compliant Management Session Set
With a renewed focus on Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) and Complaint Management, examiners are taking a closer look into the products and services that banks are offering in order to analyze the overall impact to the customer. At the 2014 GBA Compliance Conference, Sept. 24-26 in Macon, Blair Rugh, Chief Compliance Advisor for Tri-Comply in Orlando, will teach you how to identify the pitfalls and mitigate the risks associated with UDAAP. You’ll also learn how to implement an effective Complaint Management program at your bank. This session will be held on Day 1, Wednesday, Sept. 24, which focuses on compliance risk management. Click here to view the complete registration brochure or to register.
BSA compliance is in the crosshairs for examiners, who expect that all bank employees, particularly frontline personnel, are well-trained at least annually on the various reporting and recordkeeping requirements for BSA, CIP and OFAC. GBA is aware of the need for this training and has set up a helpful training resource for you and your bank. Take advantage of this seminar Aug. 21 at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. This seminar will address the fundamental BSA reporting and recording requirements, including the following topics:
Prevention of loan losses through implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is critical in the banking industry. Join Mike Allen, Executive Vice President, State Bank and Trust Company, Atlanta, 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 is Sept. 4 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Click here to register online. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
In a landmark case, the courts and IRS have re-defined the "once-per-12-month" rule. Banks must know about this so your customers can avoid huge IRS tax and penalty pitfalls. At this seminar you will learn how to separate fact from fiction for the more technical areas of IRAs. Too many times so-called experts post things on the internet that are vague or many times fabricated about retirement account rules and regulations. IRAs are a specialized area requiring expertise. Come and learn from one of the most respected IRA experts in the country, Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. at GBA's seminar Sept. 25. The seminar will be at The Brickyard Golf Club in Macon. Please click here to register for the seminar. If you have any questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers404.420.2002.
There are plenty of new Mortgage compliance requirements. For example, effective Aug. 1, 2015, early disclosures (GFE, Early TIL) and final disclosures (Settlement Statement, Final TIL) for consumer real estate loans will be replaced by the “LOAN ESTIMATE” document and the “CLOSING DISCLOSURE" document. In addition, the CFPB has expanded the coverage of the types of consumer real estate loans for which these new disclosures are required (e.g. residential construction only loans); and a new “ESCROW CANCELLATION NOTICE” will be required to be provided by lenders who set up escrow accounts for consumer real estate loans. These new forms will significantly change the loan application process, underwriting and approval process, and loan closing process, and will definitely impact closing attorneys and other settlement agents. This seminar will address the new “estimate” and “closing” forms in detail and discuss necessary changes to current procedures and existing process for taking applications, processing and closing consumer real estate loans. This seminar is Nov. 18 at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Please click here to register for the seminar. If you have any questions please contact GBA’s Danielle Driggers, 404.420.2002
Compliance Checklist Session, Safe Deposit Box Series 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 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.
Below are instructor-led AIB online classes coming up in July and August. 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.
The broad U.S. stock market posted its sixth straight quarter of gains as of the end of second quarter. The Standard’s & Poor’s 500 index had total gains of 5.23 percent, bringing its year-to-date results to 7.14 percent. The technology-based Nasdaq composite also had a bullish quarter, up 5.31 percent in total returns, bringing the 2014 gain up to 6.18 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial average, however, lagged by gaining only 2.83 percent in the quarter. For the year, the Dow is up just 2.68 percent due to losses in its highest priced stocks. Equity markets chugged higher in second quarter, with the S&P posting 16 record highs amid very low volatility. Some of the best performing segments of the market were those offering high dividend payouts. The 10-year U.S. Treasury bond yield fell to 2.51 percent from 2.76 percent at the end of first quarter. A big decline in bond yields overseas along with favorable supply demand dynamics acted to keep a lid on yields across the fixed income spectrum. Driven by the decline in bond yields, the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index registered a total return of 2.04 percent during the quarter, extending its year-to-date gain to 3.9 percent. Longer-term bonds outperformed shorter maturities due to their higher sensitivity to interest rate changes. Results of the 401(k) investments offered through GBA Retirement Services will be announced in the next few weeks. Members of the GBA Master Trust have access to high quality investments managed by Reliance Trust Company. 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. Banks, associate members, and customers of Trust members are offered an affordable way to establish and maintain a retirement plan of the highest caliber. Other benefits offered through GBA Retirement Services include ongoing annual education for participants, excellent customer service through GBA staff, and oversight of having an independent discretionary trustee for your plan. Contact Mandy Richards at MRichards@gabankers.com or Danielle Driggers at DDriggers@gabankers.com for more information about products offered through GBA Retirement Services, or dial 404.522.1501.
What Can GBA Retirement Services Do For You?
Digital marketing channels such as email marketing, social media marketing, blogs, online display advertising, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and mobile marketing are critical for earning new business from today's bank customers. Financial Marketing Solutions (FMS), a Strategic Partner of the GBA, is a niche branding and marketing agency solely serving the financial services industry. FMS can help you solve the riddle of how to attract and retain clients through digital channels. Encouraging clients to tap into the power of "brand" in a fresh new way, FMS empowers banks across the country to take their marketing to the next level, maximizing marketing dollars and delivering measurable results to the bank's bottom line. Through a strategic discovery process, FMS partners with your bank to narrow corporate initiatives into real and attainable goals, uncover and enhance your brand, create an identifiable image, and develop customized and trackable marketing solutions that integrate seamlessly across all channels and throughout all locations. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.
Banks that have taken a competitive look at their check program over the past few years have realized big savings off their current check program costs. Through our partnership with Deluxe, the GBA is able to offer an exceptional program for your bank. The relationship between Deluxe and the GBA means that we work closely with them to ensure they provide your bank with excellent service and the program delivers:
The banks that have moved to the Deluxe check-printing program tell us the transition has been an easy switch. It is helpful to give Deluxe at least eight weeks to complete the transition. The time and effort required by your bank is minimal, and Deluxe does all the heavy lifting. For a thorough checkup of your checking program and for more information, please contact Deluxe's Kevin Jefferson at 336.676.0321.
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.
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. Here's our latest installment:
Community & Southern Bank
Community & Southern Bank is pleased to announce its procurement of more than $1.7 million in affordable housing funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. This funding is part of the Affordable Housing Program, which seeks to build low-and moderate-income family housing units. CSB will support the construction and rehabilitation of four rental projects, which are comprised of 209 multifamily units, located throughout the southeast. Additional details are below. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
The bank is teaming with LearnVest to provide tips and information to help people gain more control over their finances. LearnVest's original articles will be accessible to anyone looking to make progress on their money through suntrust.com/ResourceCenter/PersonalBanking. This partnership is expected to help to spark better financial literacy across the age spectrum with compelling reads such as "Survive a wedding weekend with your wallet intact" or "Seven reasons you need an emergency fund."
Children and families across metro Atlanta will soon have access to unique reading resources donated by the PNC Foundation, as part of a collaborative effort with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, Arts for Learning Woodruff Arts Center, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Sheltering Arms Early Education Centers. During an event this week, hundreds of PNC Bank volunteers built and decorated 120 new mini libraries, before donating them to the four local nonprofits. The popular, mini-birdhouse model libraries will soon crop up in neighborhoods for parents and children to enjoy.
ACE – Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Grace Fricks, ACE founder and CEO, spoke on a panel at the fourth-annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI). Her topic was "Girls and Women: What's Working in America."
Your company can sponsor this GBA content to help promote how GBA members provide extensive support for communities around the state. Contact David Oliver for information
Albany – SB&T, a Division of Synovus Bank
Pam Simmons has been named President and CEO of SB&T. She succeeds Mark Lane, who will transition to full-time Regional CEO.
Augusta – Georgia Bank and Trust
Melissa L. Simmons has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Accounting. Rhoda L. Restivo has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Finance. Michelle A. Adams has been elected as Marketing Officer. Patrick M. Kingsmill has recently joined and been elected to Senior Vice President & Trust Officer.
Blairsville – Community & Southern Bank
Brian Reid has joined the bank as the Retail Banking Manager in the Blairsville Branch, bringing 15 years of industry experience.
Camilla – Planters and Citizens Bank
Sherry Shiver recently retired from the bank after 34 years of dedicated service. On her last day, the bank hosted a drop-in reception allowing Sherry's many customers to stop by and wish her well (photo below). The bank, as well as its customers, will miss Sherry's friendly spirit and helpful attitude.
Rome – River City Bank
Our sympathies to the family and friends of Richard M. Haney, Sr., a member of the bank's board of directors, who died in a plane crash July 13.
Marietta – Valuation Management Group
The company has been granted the National Women’s Business Enterprise Certification by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). WBENC’s standard of certification involves a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection.
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.