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Home I GBA University I Member Services I Volunteers I Government Relations I Calendar of Events     March 14, 2014

GBA Priority Bills Await Governor’s Signature

Both of GBA’s priority bills have been passed by the Georgia General Assembly and are on the way to Governor Deal for signature. The "Fees are Not Interest" bill, H.B. 824, by Rep. Richard Smith (R-Columbus) confirms and clarifies that overdraft and other common bank fees should not be considered interest. The bill passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate with only five negative votes. GBA's other priority bill, H.B. 809 by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe), is commonly referred to as the "Patent Troll" bill. The bill adds bad-faith assertions of patent infringement to the list of violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. The bill passed the House with only one negative vote and passed the Senate with only four negative votes. Please join us in thanking your House and Senate members who voted in support of GBA's two priority bills this session. Look for all the details of this week’s action at the Gold Dome in our  GBA Legislative Update.


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Action Alert

Reminder: Sub S Banks Urged to Comment on Capital Solution

The Basel III capital rules require a capital conservation buffer that could cause a tax liability for Subchapter S bank shareholders. The conservation buffer rule prevents banks from making distributions to shareholders when capital falls below a certain level. Because federal tax liability passes through a Sub S bank to individual shareholders, this rule may cause Sub S shareholders to face a tax liability even when they did not receive a distribution. Bankers at each of Georgia’s 61 Sub S banks are encouraged to join GBA and ABA in urging regulators to allow Sub S banks to make distributions equal to the taxes due on the bank's undistributed income, which would eliminate the disadvantage. Thanks to those of you who have already written. For those who have not written, ABA has put together a special page on their website and developed a sample letter to use as a guide. ABA is making this resource available to all 2,205 Sub S banks in the U.S., so feel free to take advantage of that resource. Here’s a link to the ABA webpage with details. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Annual Meeting Session Spotlight

Dr. Tim Koch to Address Community Banking From Crisis to Prosperity

Today's economic and regulatory environment makes it a necessity that bank officers, directors and managers follow core strategies to grow their banks while appropriately managing risks. Join Dr. Tim Koch, Finance Department Chair, Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Columbia, during one of the highlight sessions of GBA’s 2014 Annual Meeting June 15-18 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV. Koch will present strategies to improve operating performance and increase shareholder value going forward. By moving from defense to offense, community banks will be better positioned to thrive in the coming years. A complete program package will be mailed in late March, but you can go ahead and register now. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at The Greenbrier for $279 a night for single or double occupancy. Make reservations with the hotel directly at 855.453.4858. Be sure to say you are with the GBA to receive this special rate. The cut-off date for reservations is May 16. After this date, all reservations will be subject to prevailing rate and space availability. With questions about the 2014 GBA Annual Meeting, please contact Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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Senate GSE Reform Plan Announced

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee has come to an agreement on a significant bipartisan plan for housing finance reform, said Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) this week. The bill, which is being drafted, would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create a new Federal Mortgage Insurance Corporation that would be funded by participating lender fees. A member-owned securitization platform will issue a standardized security, and a mutual cooperative jointly owned by small and regional lenders would ensure institutions of all sizes have direct access to the secondary market. Underwriting standards would be set to meet qualified mortgage requirements and a 5 percent down payment requirement would be phased in. First-time homebuyers would only need a 3.5 percent down payment. The bill is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks. Get more details here.


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FHA Loan Limit Bill Introduced

A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House would address the effects of lower Federal Housing Administration loan limits that took effect Jan. 1. In Georgia, the new limits are lower in 32 counties this year. The bill, H.R. 4208 by Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.), would address this by requiring FHA loan limit calculations to use a Median Home Price at least as great as was used to calculate the limit in 2013. It also would allow HUD to subdivide and adjust loan limits for different real estate markets within the same county. Get more details here.


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New! Northwest Georgia Community Bank Symposium – April 23

Attention Northwest Georgia community bankers! The Georgia Bankers Association along with Berry College Campbell School of Business will host its inaugural Northwest Georgia Community Bank Symposium. This event will be April 23 on the Berry College campus in Rome. The agenda will feature industry experts who will focus on the many issues facing the banking industry today. A detailed brochure will be sent in the coming weeks, but you can register now by clicking here. 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.


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Southern Farm Banks Increased Loans in 2013

The 224 farm banks in the South region increased farm loans by 6.5 percent, $399 million, in 2013.Farm loans in the region were $6.6 billion in 2013, said the ABA’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report. Agricultural production loans increased 11.4 percent from a year ago, to $1.7 billion, while farmland loans rose by 4.8 percent to $4.8 billion. Nationally, farm banks increased farm lending by 9.1 percent, or $7.3 billion, in 2013 and held $87.8 billion in farm loans at year-end. Farm banks in the South region employ over 11,600 men and women, an increase of one percent from the previous year. The Southern region for the report includes Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.


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State Unemployment Rate Down for Seventh Straight Month

The Georgia Department of Labor said late last week that Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in January. That’s only down slightly from December but down 1.3 percentage points from last January’s 8.3 percent. January was the seventh consecutive month of declines in the statewide unemployment rate. Most job sectors have seen gains in jobs over the past 12 months, with most of the increases coming in trade, transportation and warehousing, 25,200; leisure and hospitality, 20,400; professional and business services, 16,600; education and health care, 9,500; construction, 6,900; and financial services, 4,900.


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GBA Senior Lending Officer Roundtables Meet

The second round of GBA Senior Lending Officer meetings took place last week. Group 1 met in Macon while groups 2 and 3 met in Atlanta. The Senior Lending Officer Roundtables were established in response to many requests received from bankers across Georgia. The Roundtables are for Senior Lenders as well as Chief Credit Officers and Credit Analysts and are sponsored by the GBA Credit Committee. They are intended to be an interactive channel for bankers to share best practices, hone their skills and learn critical information about the topics of the day. The sessions are facilitated by Paul Sims, president of Guided Solutions, Franklin, TN. Here's a sampling of the feedback we're getting from participants.

“I thought it was the best meeting/conference/presentation I have ever attended. I really like the format and the discussion. It is a great forum and the group is great in responding with help when someone asks. I couldn’t be more pleased,” – Sid Chandler, Independence Bank of Georgia, Gainesville, Group 2


“I really enjoyed it! I have never been to round table discussion like that. It is great to hear what is going on with others in my peer group and bring that info back to improve what we are doing. It is much better than sitting in a class all day listening. It was good to get involved. Thanks.” – Matt Mead, Altamaha Bank, Vidalia, Group 1

With questions, and if you’re interested in signing up for next year (meetings in Oct., Feb. and June), please contact GBA's Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034.


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Don’t Forget IRA Basics Seminar Rescheduled to March 19

There are only a few days left to sign up to attend IRA Basics. At this seminar you will learn everything about IRAs. Included with 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.” Designed for new account representatives, certificate of deposit personnel and any officer/manager who oversees the IRA department, the seminar will be led by Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. in Gilchrist, TX. 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 March 19 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon beginning at 9 a.m. For information or to register, please click here. With questions, contact GBA’s Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.


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Last Chance to Register for The Information Security Officer (ISO) Seminar - March 20

Don’t miss out on this seminar, which will highlight all the information you need to be a successful professional in the Information Security Officer role. You will get a better understanding of the regulatory requirements and expectations. We will define the internal roles and responsibilities including coordination with NetAdmin, reporting to the board of directors, leading the IT steering committee and the ISO’s role in audits and examinations. This seminar is specifically designed for Information Security Officers, Compliance Officers and network administrators. Helpful checklists and white papers will be included. Registration is $225 for members and will be held at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. For more information or to register, click here. For personal assistance contact GBA’s Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2015.


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Rising Interest Rates to be Discussed at Southeast Georgia Bank Symposium - April 3

As uncertainty continues in financial markets, one thing remains certain: interest rates will eventually rise. When they do, how will you manage the interest rate risk? Join Omar Esposito of the Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta in a discussion about how you can effectively manage interest rate risk during GBA’s Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium April 3 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. Other sessions will include regulatory and economic updates and other topics. Be sure to take advantage of the special pricing structure by registering several people from your bank for this event. The price is $159 for the first attendee and $129 per person for each additional attendee. To register, click here. With questions, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.


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GBA 2014 Bank Security Conference - April 10 -11, Savannah

Session Spotlight: The ‘New’ Bank Robbery: Electronic Fraud, Trends and Controls

At GBA’s Bank Security Conference, April 10 -11 in Savannah, Kathy Druckenmiller, Fraud Manager at State Bank & Trust in Atlanta, will review fraud trends in the banking industry. Topics will include social engineering, the impact of social media, counterfeit checks and debit card fraud. At the end of the session, attendees will have the opportunity to share in a roundtable discussion of fraud issues affecting banks. Click here to register or view the brochure. Rooms are available at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront Hotel at a discounted nightly rate of $183. Call 912.233.7722 or 800.285.0398 to reserve a room. Act soon - this rate is available through this Sunday, March 16, and rooms may sell out before then.


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Basic Lending Compliance Seminar April 16-17

Led by Steve Moore of Bank Compliance Services, Avondale Estates, the Basic Lending Compliance seminar will provide an
in-depth look at consumer lending compliance and will cover basic compliance requirements, common problem areas, and offer extensive Q&A opportunities to address individual concerns. We will also complete several real-world lending compliance reviews and develop risk-based loan compliance self-audit checklists. Topics to be covered are:

  • Truth-in-Lending Requirements, including NEW Escrow Rules effective June 1, 2013

  • GFE + HUD Settlement Statement

  • “Higher-Priced” Mortgage Loans

  • Flood Insurance

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act/FACT Act

  • Regulation B.

This two-day seminar will take place at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Contact Homewood Suites at 478.477.9776 to reserve your room at the GBA corporate rate of $109 per night. For more information or to register, please click here. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.


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Legal Issues of New Account Documentation and Compliance Seminar April 24

This one-day seminar will teach new account personnel proper account-opening procedures and compliance requirements. Topics to be covered include signature-card contracts, a CIP compliance overview, TIN compliance, individual accounts and much more. The seminar is designed for new accounts representatives, back-up new account personnel, certificate-of-deposit staff, and bookkeeping and accountholder service personnel. GBA will host this seminar on April 24 at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. in Kendalia, Texas, will be presenting. The registration price is $225 and $175 for any additional registrants from the same institution. Click here to register. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.


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Safety and Soundness Seminar Scheduled for May 1

Based on the reduction in the number of bank closures as well as the significant profitability in 2013, this banking crisis appears to be coming to an end. That said, between a troublesome economy and unprecedented low interest rates, we are clearly not without challenges in 2014. If those challenges aren’t enough, we can also count on additional requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III. How we manage each of these opportunities will have a lot to do with our success in 2014, and this workshop is designed to provide bankers with an opportunity to discuss these challenges with banking regulators. Karl Nelson and Eric Nelson of KPN Consulting will lead the seminar. One of the sessions will feature a panel of regulators comprised of representatives from the Federal Reserve Bank, the OCC, the FDIC, and the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. The panel will address each of the CAMELS issues. This seminar will be held at the Georgian Club in Atlanta on May 1. Please click here for more information. If you have any questions, please contact GBA’s Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.


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Marketing Peer Group to Meet May 20

Join GBA member Marketing officers for a day of informational sessions from a variety of experts and an extended peer exchange session at the new GBA Marketing Peer Group meeting May 20, hosted at First Landmark Bank in Marietta. The final agenda is in development and expert presenters will be announced, but we’ll focus on:

  • Effectively Using Digital Media Marketing Channels – Trends, tips and strategies for mobile, social and other new media channels.

  • Peer Exchange and Idea Sharing – Quality networking time with fellow Marketing professionals

  • Business-to-Business Marketing tips – Ideas to help you attract and retain business relationships.

The meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is one of two GBA Marketing Peer Group meetings that the GBA Marketing Committee will organize in 2014. A second session with a similar agenda will be held in the fall, most likely in Macon. Marketing professionals can attend either or both. The price is $99. Register here. With questions or to get more information, please contact Kathy Friestad at 404.420.2024.


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GBA-U Webinars

Disclosures, Unclaimed Property Compliance, Safe Deposit Compliance Headline Offerings

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


March 18

2014 Integrated Disclosures: The New Loan Estimate

March 19

Achieving Unclaimed Property Compliance-Best Practices for the Banking Industry

March 20

Safe Deposit Box Employee Compliance Certification Program

March 20

ACH Risk Management & Compliance-Part 2

March 25

Appraisal & Evaluation Regulations

March 26

Basic Bankruptcy for Bankers

March 27

Safe Deposit Box Employee Compliance Certification Program

March 28

Stop Getting Outsold!

April 1

Security Officer Workshop--Part 1

April 3

The Exceptional Teller Series-Part 1

April 14

Security Officer Workshop-Part 2

April 15

2014 Integrated Disclosures: The New Closing Disclosure

April 16

The Exceptional Teller Series-Part 2


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.


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AIB Course Highlight

AIB Commercial Lending Course Newly Updated!

This AIB course covers qualitative analysis and how to assess industry risk, market risk and management risk. It also provides an understanding of the role of loan policy and the need to summarize the borrower’s various risks into an appropriate credit risk rating. In addition, it provides guidance on loan structuring and documentation issues in response to the analysis of quantitative and qualitative risks. This includes an overview of key documents, loan agreements and covenants, as well as negotiating and pricing. The course concludes with an introduction to problem loans. Click here to learn more or to register for the AIB Commercial Lending Course or contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


Here are other upcoming AIB courses:



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OCC Hosting Director Workshops in Atlanta April 8-9

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will host two workshops in Atlanta at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria, April 8-9, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations. The "Credit Risk" and "Risk Assessment" workshops are designed exclusively for directors of institutions supervised by the OCC. Focus areas include enterprise risk management, capital risk and cybersecurity. The credit risk workshop focuses on the roles of the board and bank management, current events, emerging industry trends, and a range of credit issues, from structuring credit to collections. Both workshops are taught by experienced OCC supervision staff. For information, including a complete list of available workshops, or to register for a workshop, visit or call 240.485.1700. Each workshop is limited to the first 35 registrants.


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Manage Your Talent Wisely, Build Bench Strength and Recruit the Best

With a powerful Talent Search in addition to Talent Review and Bench Strength Analysis functionality, TQ Succession offers a comprehensive succession planning solution. Click here for an overview of the module to learn more. TalentQuest's programs were developed to provide GBA-member banks with selection, measurement and development standards for key positions within a community bank. Using TalentQuest's web-based talent management system, members can use the TQ for Financial Services proprietary content covering job descriptions, selection profiles, performance appraisal criteria, and links to specific GBA University offerings to automate and calibrate key human resources processes. Contact TQ's Dallas Nevins at 404.965.5225 with questions. Follow TalentQuest on Twitter at @TalentQuest. TalentQuest is a GBA Strategic Partner.


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GBA-Endorsed Vendor Risk Management Product Eliminates Stress

VendorPoint® by Fortrex Technologies, is the market’s first automated, turnkey vendor risk management solution. This cost-effective online service enables banks of any size to identify, measure, monitor and manage third-party risk based on FFIEC guidelines and design criteria established by leading financial services institutions. The system eliminates the stress, expense and complexity financial institutions face when meeting regulatory requirements. It combines worry-free automation, ready accessibility, and ease-of-use to speed users through even the most rigorous regulatory environment. Fortrex is the industry leader in third-party risk management and has helped organizations around the world manage operational risk and regulatory compliance issues. GBA encourages you to take a closer look at VendorPoint to discover how it can help guide your bank’s vendor risk management. To schedule a demo of this solution, please contact Fortrex’s Doug Ochs at 877.367.8739.


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Thumbprint Signature Program Puts Crimp on Check Fraud

Lower check fraud against your bank by participating in GBA’s Thumbprint Signature Program. The Thumbprint Signature touch pad is intended to deter counterfeit and stolen check fraud by obtaining a thumbprint signature from non-customers when cashing "on-us" and "not-on-us" checks. A major bank in Georgia has reported an average 71 percent reduction in check fraud since it began this program. Find out more here. To order, please call Kenyetta Parks at 404.420.2035. Click here to download the order form and fax it to 404.522.9848.


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Find a Job, Post a Job with GBA Job Bank

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.


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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 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:


Adairsville – NorthSide Bank

The bank’s Kay Sitton recently participated in the Boys &Girls Club's, Read Across America campaign.


Albany – Heritage Bank of the South

The bank has begun taking applications for its 2014 college scholarship. The bank will award six scholarships to students in its service areas, each worth $1,000. Application information is here. The deadline is May 9. Also, the bank’s Rincon branch hosted the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce's Business After Hours event recently. Pictured are Tammy Grey, Consumer Banker, Rebekah Shepard, Rincon Teller, and Dionne Jones, Mortgage Processor.


Atlanta – TalentQuest

Earlier this month, TalentQuest delivered 30 overnight bags to the AFLAC Children's Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The bags were filled with supplies such as toiletries, clothes and notepads for parents who unexpectedly have to spend the night (or many nights) at the hospital.


Dublin – Morris Bank

The bank is participating in a number of community activities in March, including Shamrock Your Ride events March 15 and March 17 to support the Laurens County Food Bank and the Truth Be Told Art Party for Relay for Life March 27. Team members also will be participating in Dublin Exchange Club’s Pancake Supper on March 20. Pictured are Dublin Exchange members Tony Tanner, Spence Mullis, Roger Miller, Lucas Cowart and Larry Schenck.


Elberton – Pinnacle Bank

The bank is a proud sponsor of the Athens Small Biz Summit coming up April 24th. Attendees can hear the bank's helpful presentation titled “How Not to Outgrow Your Money.” Learn more and get tickets at:


Franklin – Certus Bank

The Franklin, GA, branch recently hosted the March of Dimes March For Babies 2014 Kickoff Luncheon, and were honored to have DJ Tatum, 2014 March for Babies Ambassador, and his mother, Amy, in attendance. Picture at right.



Griffin - United Bank

The bank is proud sponsor of the fourth-annual Cougar Chase fitness event for the Crescent Elementary PTO April 3. The bank is participating in a Shamrock Your Ride event to support the Middle Georgia Food Bank


Statesboro - Sea Island Bank

The city has honored longtime board member Charlie Olliff by officially designating the bank's parking lot that also hosts community events as Charlie Olliff Square. Here's an article with details. Olliff has served on the bank's board for more than 48 years.


Sponsorship Available: GBA Associate Members may sponsor GBA's Community Connections feature to support our member banks' activities in Georgia communities. Contact David Oliver at 404.420.2036 for information.


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Atlanta - Private Mortgage Solutions, a division of Private Bank of Buckhead

Carl Robins, Ron Sternberg and Scarlett Tassone have joined the company as vice presidents and mortgage bankers. Lia Webster has joined the company as COO; and Eric Simpson has joined the company as an operations associate.


Atlanta – Private Bank of Buckhead

Congratulations to the bank's Brian McGuire, who has been recognized as one of Elon University's Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Awards. The awards recognize alumni who have graduated in the past 10 years and who have enjoyed major professional success, made a big difference in their community and been loyal supporters of Elon.


Blairsville – United Community Bank

The bank was recently included on J.D. Power’s 2014 Customer Champions list.


Canton – Renasant Bank

Patti Reid has joined the bank as Senior Vice President leading the new Equipment Financing Division in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.


Cleveland – RCB Financial Services

Our sympathies to Howard Miller, and his family on the death of his wife Hannah. Visitation will be at Barrett Funeral Home in Cleveland, Friday, March 14, from 4-9 p.m. with a celebration of her life Saturday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, Cleveland.


Covington - Newton Federal Bank

Greg Proffitt has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Officer.


Moultrie – Ameris Bancorp

The company announced a definitive agreement to purchase Coastal Bankshares, Inc., the parent company of The Coastal Bank, Savannah, Georgia. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.


Atlanta – FBI

Director James B. Comey has selected J. Britt Johnson to serve as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Division. Mr. Johnson most recently served as deputy assistant director in the Criminal Investigative Division, where he oversaw investigations into violent crime, violent crimes against children, transnational organized crime, and Southwest border crimes.


Albany – Georgia Trend Magazine

Our sympathies to the family and friends of longtime journalist Ed Lightsey, who died recently. “Ed was the consummate professional and always went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the accuracy and fairness of his reporting. We’ve done countless interviews together over the years and I will certainly miss him as will those many other journalists who saw him as such a positive role model,” said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen.


Washington, D.C. – Department of Treasury

Sarah Bloom Raskin has been confirmed by the United States Senate as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.


Washington, D.C. – CFPB

Christopher D. Carroll has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director and Chief Economist for the Office of Research in the Bureau’s Research, Markets, and Regulations Division. Daniel Dodd-Ramirez has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director of Financial Empowerment in the Bureau’s Consumer Education and Engagement Division. Jeffrey Langer has joined the CFPB as the Assistant Director of Installment and Liquidity Lending Markets in the Bureau’s Research, Markets, and Regulations Division. 












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.


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