July 2, 2021  

GBA and Members in the News

Georgia Trend Recognizes Banks’ Role as First Responders

We’re happy to see member banks and the industry being recognized for serving as a source of strength and stability for customers during the pandemic. This month’s Georgia Trend Magazine has a lengthy piece featuring GBA Chairman Luke Flatt and his bank, AB&T, Pinnacle Bank’s Jenny Wofford, incoming Leadership GBA chair, and member bank CEO and former CBA chair David Lance of Greater Community Bank in Rome. Each tells their bank’s story of adapting to serve customers during the pandemic, and each story reflects the thousands of stories we’ve heard from bankers and customers around the state. It’s so nice to see recognition given to the good things banks and bankers do. Read the story here.


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CEO / Leader Updates

Cannabis Legal News, PPP Resources, Digital Currency among Updates

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:

  • Roadblock for cannabis lawyers: We detailed how the Georgia Supreme Court denied a request from the State Bar of Georgia to allow lawyers to serve cannabis-related businesses.


  • PPP Forgiveness Resource: We shared a link to a 30-minute webinar with SBA officials presented by our colleagues at the Kansas Bankers Association. The webinar discusses options for principal and interest payments for the big tranche of PPP loans coming due around July 19; describes an upcoming procedural notice about how SBA will purchase defaulted loans; outlines a new “Covid Health Score” that could replace missing documentation for those borrowers certifying a 25% or greater revenue reduction for second-draw loans; and significantly, outlines a process being considered that would allow lenders to apply for forgiveness on behalf of borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less.



  • SBA Fraud Investigations: We passed along a look at an overview of the various fraud schemes identified by the SBA Office of Inspector General related to borrowers, lenders, brokers and ACH transactions.


  • Digital Currency: Fed Gov. Randal Quarles spoke at the Utah Bankers Association and outlined his concerns with a Fed-created digital currency. We shared a copy of his remarks.

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


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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: Loyal Trust Bank, Yimin Yang, interim CEO, and Renee Hinkson, CFO. We look forward to providing outstanding service to their employees 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.


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FED Rolling out CECL Tool for Community Banks

The Federal Reserve announced on Thursday it will soon release a new spreadsheet-based tool to help community banks implement the Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) accounting standard. The Federal Reserve will launch the SCALE tool and answer questions during an "Ask the Fed" webinar on July 15, 2021. Get more details and register for the webinar here.


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New Rural Innovation Grants Available

Bankers with customers in smaller markets will want to be in the know about a new grant program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program offers grants of up to $2 million intended to help build new businesses and create high-paying jobs in rural areas. The program is open to nonprofits, state governments, public bodies and higher education institutions, as well as rural jobs accelerator partnerships that have expertise in providing economic and jobs training programs. The grant money can be used to build or support a business incubator, provide worker training to create new jobs, train existing workers to build skills in higher-paying jobs, or help train workers for new industries. Grants are a minimum of $500,000, and applications are due no later than Aug. 2, 2021. If you have customers interested in learning more, they may call Reggie Taylor, acting state director of USDA’s Rural Development office in Athens at 706.546.2162. Find more information on the agency’s website, www.rd.usda.gov/ga.


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Elder Fraud Protection

Training Schedule Announced for CATCS

Bank investigators, trainers, compliance officers and risk managers are encouraged to become Certified At-Risk Adult Crime Tactics Specialists (CACTS) to help their banks protect older customers from financial abuse and fraud. Virtual training dates and times for the rest of the year have been set, with two-day sessions on July 26-27, Aug. 24-25, Sept. 21-22, Oct. 19-20, and Nov. 9-10. There’s no cost for the training, and attendees must attend both days to receive certification. Get more details and registration instructions here.


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Last Call for Leadership Conference

The best summer experiences often stem from spontaneity, so in that spirit, why not make a last-minute call to attend this year’s GBA Leadership Conference? It’s not too late to join 335 other GBA members and their families who have registered. Registration remains open for the conference, which is July 12-14 at the Ponte Vedra Inn. The agenda is packed with economic intel, strategic thinking, tech trends, housing updates and leadership skill building. We’ll also elect and install Leadership GBA officers and board members. And, there’s ample time for business and family networking that makes this a premier member event. Get all the details and register here.


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Learn About the Advantages of Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) Programs from EBS

GBA Strategic Partner EBS specializes in the placement and service of Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI). Their programs use BOLI to finance existing employee benefits and informally fund new or existing nonqualified executive benefit plans. EBS offers implementation and plan design services as well as administrative services. If you have BOLI now and need or want to consider a new servicer, EBS can assist you with compliance and reports essential for your bank, board and regulators. Given the fiduciary responsibilities of bank management and board members, it is crucial that banks partner with experienced and qualified professionals to service their BOLI programs and Nonqualified Plans. EBS provides comprehensive service through a group of qualified professionals with specialized expertise in insurance and public accounting. Each client is assigned a specific service team with extensive back office support. The professional designations held by members of the organization include CPA, JD, CLU, MSFS, MBA, CFP, ChFC and others. Under the guidance of EBS, billions of dollars of BOLI face amount have been placed with the highest-rated carriers offering institutional pricing. Their informal funding solutions are built on sound economic foundations and are conservatively structured from a tax perspective. As an added benefit to GBA members, EBS will provide a complimentary, customized BOLI Assessment Report and Carrier Due Diligence Review Report. Contact Jim Foyt at 877.242.9751. EBS, a bank consulting company, does not engage in the practice of law or accounting. Any questions concerning legal, tax or accounting advice should be referred to your appropriate counsel or advisors.


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GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks with Marketing, Branding, Social Media and More

Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, blogs, online display ads, search engine optimization, and search engine and mobile marketing are important for winning new business from today's bank customers. GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, or simply FMS, is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The bank brands and other projects they endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand campaign will accomplish goals, impact the bottom line, affect positive change and be memorable recognizable no matter where your customers are. The GBA has been proud to endorse FMS as a GBA Strategic Partner since 2007. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.


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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 7 spots left!

The BSA Experience: Hotel Cut-off Date Coming Up

We are only two months away from The BSA Experience. Don’t forget to register and book your hotel room. The cut-off date is Monday, July 26, 2021, and rooms may sell out before this date. This August in Athens, we’re teaming up with Terri Sands of Secura Risk Management to present the third annual BSA Experience. We are offering a great program that provides subject matter experts and practical tools to simplify BSA compliance. In addition, each attendee will leave with two certificates to reflect the completion of The BSA Experience. Click here to learn more and register.


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Leadership and Communication Resource

Quick Tool for Communicating with Direct Reports

A neat tool to save time and communicate with more clarity and brevity so things don’t slip through the cracks found its way to our inbox this week from a coaching consultant. When a direct report or team member is faced with a situation requiring your input, you can ask them to use a quick Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation (SBAR) template to frame the discussion and guide you both to a quick decision. It’s similar to the popular SWOT analysis frameworks used for strategic planning. Check out the resource here.


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Join live or purchase a recording!

July Webinars: Compensation Strategies, Fair Lending, Branch Manager Skills and More!

We offer webinars for all financial institution professionals from the front line to the board room.

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 individually. View the full calendar here. Questions? Email: 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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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:


Atlanta - Cadence Bank and Georgia Bankers Association

Thousands of volunteers mobilized around the city of Atlanta this past week as part of Passion City Church’s LOVE ATLANTA. Among those volunteers were GBA’s Kathy Friestad and Jenna Lynn Warner as well as Costen Warner of Cadence Bank. They served the Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House (AHHH) with a deep cleaning of the house as well as a power washing. The Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House provides affordable lodging, home-cooked meals, and companionship to patients and caregivers from outside of the city who have found themselves in need of lodging and support while seeking medical treatment inside the perimeter.


Eastman - Great Oaks Bank

As part of the Eastman Dodge Chamber Business After Hours event held this week, Great Oaks Bank and the Arts Guild of Dodge County hosted a new art gallery opening. The bank has dedicated its foyer to the Arts Guild to establish a permanent, revolving display of works by local artists.


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Darien - Southeastern Bank

Jay Torbert has been elected president of the bank by the board of directors, effective July 1, 2021. Con Holland will continue as CEO and chairman of the bank as well as president, CEO and chairman of the bank’s parent company, Southeastern Banking Corporation. With this appointment, Torbert joins the bank board. Read more here.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

Jessica Peeler has been promoted to human resources manager/officer. Read more here.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Earlier this year, Anna Merle Parham retired from Pinnacle Bank after 48 years of service. Read more here.


Hawkinsville - SunMark Community Bank

Brandi Shipes and Sherry McDonald have joined the bank's mortgage team. Shipes is a member of the bank's mortgage support team, and McDonald is a mortgage loan originator.


Atlanta - Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

President and CEO W. Wesley (Wes) McMullan has retired as of May 27. Kirk Malmberg has been appointed president and CEO.


Bloomington, MN - United Bankers’ Bank

Jennifer Severson has been appointed executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer. Read more here.


Tampa, FL - Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund

The CPA and consulting firm was recognized by Accounting Today as a top firm by total assets under management (AUM). Read more here.



Torbert Peeler Parham (right) with Pinnacle Bank
CEO Jackson McConnell



McDonald Severson Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund



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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