March 19, 2021  

General Assembly Nearing End of 2021 Session

Legislators completed work this week on 35 of the 40 days the state constitution outlines for their annual session and it was a busy week. GBA’s priority bill sponsored on behalf of the Department of Banking and Finance cleared the final legislative hurdle and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. A key component of the bill allows for virtual official bank meetings. A similar bill authorizing virtual shareholder meetings also got final approval this week. We’ve also been busy in committees working with legislators to perfect their bills. We’ll report more in our Legislative Update this week about the Department of Revenue bill we’ve been working on that will create a bank data match program for delinquent taxpayers. The General Assembly is slated to adjourn for the year on March 31.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Banks Get High Satisfaction Ratings

Nine in 10 Americans are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their primary bank. That’s the headline finding from an annual poll from ABA/Morning Consult. Customer service also rated highly, with 96% saying their bank’s customer service is “excellent,” “good” or “very good.” Banks’ response to the pandemic also rated highly, with three in four U.S. adults saying they approved of how their bank responded to COVID-19. Get more of the results here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

PPP Extension Gets House Nod; Other Updates

The U.S. House has voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program until May 31 for lenders to submit loan applications and until June 30 for SBA to complete application processing. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA14) was one of three no votes. The Senate must approve the legislation, and it will be considered under its unanimous consent procedures soon. The latest stats from SBA shows PPP Round 2 lending through March 14 has reached $181.4 billion, with 2,739,834 borrowers having received loan approvals. Some other highlights:

  • Georgia ranks 6th in the nation in total loans and 10th in total loan amount

  • The average Georgia loan is $48,603 compared to $66,229 for borrowers nationally.

  • 101,438 Georgia borrowers have been approved for loans totaling more than $4.9 billion.

In other PPP-related news we shared with CEOs and key contacts this week by email, SBA will be reviewing duplicate PPP disbursements to borrowers and will take action to recover improper payments. This comes on the heels of an SBA OIG report detailing how the agency’s controls weren’t always adequate to detect and stop the processing of duplicate loans. As a result, lenders made more than one PPP loan disbursement to 4,260 borrowers with the same tax ID number and borrowers with the same business name and address. Read the report here. Other topics we communicated about included revised FAQs for the full program and for calculating first- and second-draw loan amounts, national PPP stats and information about errors on NAICS codes.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Aid Funds to Georgia Will Boost Deposits

In addition to direct Economic Impact Payments to citizens, the American Recovery Act has several provisions that will route billions of dollars to Georgia state and local governments and schools. Georgia’s share of the various aid packages for states, cities, towns, counties and tribal governments is $12.6 billion and includes $3.8 billion specifically for county, city and charter schools. We’ve shared details about how the funds are allocated with member CEOs and committee members. Banks serving as depositories for these entities will want to talk to customers about making sure they’re appropriately collateralized. We’ve worked hard over the years to give our members lots of options to accept those deposits and comply with the collateralization requirement that best fits your situation. The only exception is that banks having assets over $50 billion are required to participate in Secure Deposit Program. The alternatives for all other banks are described below:

  • Direct pledge: 110% of total for EACH depositor’s account, less FDIC insured amount

  • Single Bank Pool (Georgia State Pledging Pool): 110% of total of ALL depositors’ accounts, less FDIC insured amount

  • Multi-bank Pool (Secure Deposit Program): 25% - 110% of ALL depositors’ accounts, less FDIC insured amount (replaces Direct and Single Bank Pool)

  • Deposit Placement Program: Deposits are less than FDIC insured amount (may be used in conjunction will other collateralization methods)

Our staff expert on all of this is Sherry Scruggs. She is our Public Deposit Collateral Pool Manager for the contract we have with the Office of the State Treasurer to manage the two pledging pools. Give her a call at 404.420.2029 or email her with questions. With questions about deposit placement programs, contact either of our two Associate Members about their service: IntraFi Network, Danny Capitel, 770.630.6796 or Reich & Tang, Roger Maude, 212.830.5200.


Back to top of E-Bulletin


The Importance of Being a Self-Starter with Troy Poulin

Troy Poulin, vice president of operations and technology for The Claxton Bank, majored in finance at the University of Georgia, but slowly realized finance wasn’t for him as a career, so he found a way to bridge the gap between his education and his passion. “Everyone I work with is always surprised to learn that I have no formal IT training. While I went to school for finance, IT has always been a passion of mine, and I’ve been able to pick up everything I know over the years through reading stuff online and tinkering,” Poulin said. The Group 1 representative on GBA’s Marketing Committee got his first experience of working life as a middle schooler installing low-voltage networking cable for a local company. “Walking around in attics on hot summer days in South Georgia was great motivation for me to stay in school,” Poulin said. He also shares about the mentor who helped him acclimate to the banking industry, his optimism on future partnerships between banks and fintechs and more in his GBA Member Profile.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Pushback Needed on Proposal to De-designate MSAs

Six Georgia MSAs would be affected if the Office of Management and Budget moves ahead with a proposal to de-designate U.S. cities with populations between 50,000-100,000 as metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). Albany, Brunswick, Dalton, Hinesville, Rome and Valdosta would be among 144 cities de-designated. MSAs are used by federal agencies to analyze labor market conditions, spending patterns, and unemployment. The designation is also used by many federal agencies to determine which areas of the country are eligible for federal funding for such programs as the Community Development Block Grant Program and infrastructure funding under transportation bills. Losing an MSA designation would be a blow to these MSAs’ existing economic opportunities. The Georgia Chamber and local chambers along with national organizations are coordinating campaigns to oppose the move. GBA supports these opposition campaigns as they fit with one of GBA’s strategic priorities to ensure all of Georgia equally shares in economic opportunities. The deadline to comment is Saturday, March 20. Helpful materials for your bank to speak up against the proposal were sent to CEOs and committee members this week.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Time to Get Involved! Volunteer or Nominate a Fellow Banker to Serve

GBA is looking for bankers and associate members to volunteer their time and talent on our committees/boards for the upcoming GBA program year, which begins July 1. Serving is one of the most rewarding and valuable ways to give back to your professional association, and the networking benefits are long-lasting and personally rewarding. The time commitment for most committees and boards is very manageable. Take a look at all the opportunities by clicking here. You can also access the volunteer/nomination form through that link. The volunteer deadline is March 31 and committee assignments will be made prior to July 1 for the upcoming program year. Questions? Contact GBA’s David Oliver. Also, we’ll be glad to connect you to a current committee/Board member who can answer your questions. 


Back to top of E-Bulletin


FDIC’s Henrie Covers Key Issues

During call Monday with state banking association leaders including GBA’s Joe Brannen, FDIC’s Atlanta Regional Director John Henrie covered a number of topics of importance to bankers. Henrie said FDIC will remain in a remote work environment which includes virtual exams through June 27, 2021, but that date could change. He also talked about FDIC’s new Chief Innovation Officer, the agency’s recent final rule on supervisory guidance, a proposed interagency Q&A about private flood insurance, compliance exams, cybersecurity and business continuity, and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We shared details of each topic with CEOs and committee members in an email earlier this week.



     Back to top of E-Bulletin


A Georgia Feel at National Advocacy Summit

United Bank CEO and ABA Chairman Jim Edwards played a prominent role this week during the ABA’s Virtual Washington Summit. The annual meeting showcases key bankers, elected and regulatory officials discussing their positions on critical banking issues. On Tuesday, Edwards moderated a panel of his peers: A. Scott Anderson, president and CEO, Zions Bank; Kenneth Kelly, chairman and CEO, First Independence Bank; and Patricia Weigel, president and CEO, Norway Savings Bank. The panel covered perspectives on the state of the banking sector, the industry's response to the pandemic and policy actions that can boost the recovery. In his Chairman’s address Wednesday, Edwards made it a priority to note the extraordinary efforts made by bankers as well as state and national trade associations in the past year, and he ended with a look forward. “As we exit the pandemic I’m optimistic about the future,” he said. “And I’m also optimistic about the role banks and bankers across the country will continue to play in helping our communities recover.” The policymakers participating had some candid and insightful remarks during their appearances. Guests included Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams. and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania). Access videos of their sessions here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Survey to Track Bank Efforts for Protecting Older Americans

Members are encouraged to participate in the ABA Foundation’s Older Americans Benchmarking Survey coming up this spring. The survey is used to identify and provide advocacy about significant steps banks take to educate their older customers, train staff to identify elder fraud and respond to fraudulent activity. All responses will be kept confidential, and survey results will be aggregated. Get details and sign up here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

CEOs, Finance/Ops Leaders Participate in Roundtables

It was a busy week for high-level peer connections as GBA’s spring President/CEO and Finance/Operations Roundtable meetings kicked off. Two President/CEO Roundtables met this week and one Finance and Operations Roundtable met. The remaining groups will meet during the next four weeks. These peer groups are professionally facilitated by Elaine Demarest, president of Demarest Strategy Group, Hilton Head, SC. GBA staff assists Elaine in preparing meeting materials but does not attend the meetings. With questions and information about how to participate, please contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad at 404.420.2024.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Five Challenges Banks Can Solve in 2021 with SNL Banker

GBA is proud to promote SNL Banker, an offering from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as our recommended solution for financial performance management. The SNL Banker tool empowers banks to use internal, customer data as one of their most valuable assets. It also helps banks address the following problems:

  • Your bank has plenty of data to work with, but the time it takes to create reports makes it hard for management to quickly make business decisions

  • Your bank is only using the native capabilities of your core for reporting. That’s not what they were designed to do

  • You still have distinct silos between departments and it’s hard for management to prioritize business decisions

  • Your bank is worried about staying relevant with customers who have increasing options for financial services

  • Your bank is concerned about customers who have become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic and have loan commitments.

Discounts for SNL Banker are available for GBA members through our partnership with S&P Global. To schedule a demo of SNL Banker, click here or contact Amy Garner,, 770.687.6369.


Back to top of E-Bulletin


Marketing Virtual Conference Rolls On

Next Up: Ideas for Strong Customer & Community Connections

Member marketing pros may still sign up to participate in our Marketing Six Pack Virtual Conference. Next up on Tuesday, March, 23, at 10 a.m. is an interactive discussion titled “Creative Ideas for Digital Networking and Community Outreach,” with Sara Persing of the Gwinnett Chamber. Persing has presented recently to an international audience of her peers about this and has community outreach experience in multiple Georgia markets. At $295, the remaining five sessions are a great value. All of the remaining sessions will all be recorded and available if you can’t tune in for the live sessions. Get details and register here.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Conference Corner

Secure Your Spot at These Premium Events

We’ve got several valuable professional skills conferences coming up. Take a look at the latest about each:

  • HR Connect: Virtual HR Institute – March 24-25
    There’s still time to register for this signature HR event. Our virtual agenda is chock full of speakers that will re-charge and refresh your HR tool kit. We’ve got a thorough legal update session planned, as well as sessions about culture and community, employee communication and training, retirement planning, leading remote teams and working from home and a little HR-self help for the HR pros. Get details and register here.


  • Security Conference – In-Person April 14-16, The King and Prince, St. Simons

The conference opens the afternoon of April 14 with an in-depth session updating key roles and responsibilities of a Security Officer, and the agenda also includes FBI Special Agent Glenn Kessler speaking about PPP and employment aid fraud. GBA’s Bank Security Conference is the top local event coming up for bank security pros to help them sharpen their skills. Other sessions will cover PPP/employment fraud, business e-mail compromise, sex-trafficking awareness and prevention, roles and responsibilities updates, peer networking and more. Get all the details and register here.


  • Rural Development and Lending Conference – In-Person May 20-21, The King and Prince, St. Simons

This year’s agenda includes Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, an economic outlook, a commodity outlook, a crop insurance update, ag. tech and precision ag trends, regulatory updates and peer networking. Registration is now open – click here for all the details.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

GBA Annual Meeting

Optional Activities Registration Opens

We’ve got a few important Annual Meeting updates to share with you. First, registration for optional afternoon activities will open this weekend. Attendees can enjoy an Islands Historical Tour, a cruise on Sea Island’s new yacht Explorer, a golf outing, two golf schools, a clay shoot interactive practice and tournament, and a fishing excursion. Our annual Spouse Program (included in spouse registration) will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Georgian Room Kitchen and Cloister Wine Cellar. Activities are available to registered attendees and registered spouses at an additional cost. Children of registered attendees may participate when registered for the meeting as a “Dependent – Activity Only” (no registration fee). Check the annual meeting website for activity descriptions, schedule and to sign up.


Please bookmark the annual meeting website to stay up to date on all news related to the annual meeting. If you haven’t registered and booked your room, don’t delay. We’ve got a big crowd, and note that Saturday night, June 19, is sold out in our block and at the resort (contact Kathy Friestad to be waitlisted for Saturday night). We’ve got a few exhibit spaces left and sponsorship opportunities are available.


Thank you to these associate members who are showing their support through sponsorship: CRS Data; D. A. Davidson & Co.; Elliott Davis; Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford; FHLB of Atlanta; FNBB; Haberfeld; Jack Henry; Mauldin & Jenkins; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Company; Nichols Cauley Associates; Point to Point Environmental; Safe Systems; ServisFirst Bank; SouthState Bank; Truist Bank; United Bankers’ Bank; and Wipfli. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.



Back to top of E-Bulletin

GBA Endorses Asset Auction Services of Swainsboro-based South Auction

GBA is pleased to endorse the auction services offered by Swainsboro-based South Auction. South Auction has held auctions all over the country. In business for over 20 years, they have become a trusted resource for banks, attorneys and individuals in need of auction services. South Auction can work with your bank to find creative solutions for bank-owned assets, and they can be a resource for your clients who may need to sell assets quickly to protect their equity in real property. To learn more about South Auction, click here. Contact South Auction’s Joe Lanier with questions at or 478.455.1861.



Back to top of E-Bulletin



New In-Person Programs!

  • Loan Documentation Seminar – April 14

Speaker: Mike Allen of Cadence Bank 

Learn more here.


  • Information Security Officer Seminar – May 19

Speaker: Tom Hinkel of Safe Systems

Sponsored by Safe Systems
Learn more here.

Back to top of E-Bulletin

GBA Webinars

Can’t join live? Recordings are available for one week after each training.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

Join live or purchase a recording!

Upcoming March Webinars: BSA, Right of Rescission, Cross Selling and More

Do you have a 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


Back to top of E-Bulletin

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.


Back to top of E-Bulletin

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:


Cordele - Planters First Bank

The bank is participating in National Reading Month. Hawkinsville Banking Team members Tim Wynne, Bobbie Clemons, Lina Jones and Melanie Bush have all taken part in readings of selected children's books. Coordinator Maggie Bloodworth leads this Virtual Reading Event coordinated by the Pulaski County Family Connection. Each book reading video will be shared as part of a video library for the Pulaski County Head Start, PreK and Elementary School children.



Back to top of E-Bulletin



Albany - Flint Community Bank

Melissa Strother has joined the bank team as a marketing coordinator.


Atlanta - CenterState, N.A./South State Bank

On March 15, CenterState Correspondent Division changed its name to SouthState Correspondent Division. Here is a link to their new website:


Atlanta - Wells Fargo Bank

Darryl Harmon, president of Wells Fargo’s Southeast Region, will retire by the end of March. A former GBA Board member, Harmon led the bank’s efforts in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, with a career spanning 23 years with Wells Fargo.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Donna McRannolds has joined the bank as a loan processor.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

The bank was featured by 13WMAZ in a news story about the bank helping local businesses with PPP loans. Read more here.


Kennesaw - former Main Street Bank

Our sympathies to former GBA chairman Ed Milligan and his family in the death of his wife and our former first lady Linda Milligan. Ed and Linda were our first family in 2003-2004. Read more here.


Thomasville - Colony Bank

Jane McMillen has been named mortgage loan originator for the bank’s Thomasville market. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Kim Golden has been promoted to loan operations specialist manager. The bank was voted Best of Gwinnett in the banking category for the second consecutive year. Read more here.


Washington, D.C. - U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Senate Tuesday confirmed Isabel Guzman as administrator of the Small Business Administration. She has most recently served as the director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, and she was deputy chief of staff at the SBA during the Obama administration.



Strother SouthState Correspondent
Division logo








Oconee State




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.

Back to top of E-Bulletin