May 28, 2021  

State’s Banks Post Strong First Quarter

Earnings for the 156 banks headquartered in Georgia sure looked a lot better in this year’s first quarter than they did a year ago. The state’s banks earned $715.1 million in the first three months of this year, an increase of $863.6 million compared to the first quarter of 2020 when earnings were affected significantly by reserves being set aside because of the pandemic. The 149 Georgia-based banks FDIC classifies as Community Banks also showed earnings improvement, with net income up 50.3%. Loans, deposits and total assets reflected ongoing economic recovery, and credit quality remained strong. “Georgia’s banks and bankers worked hand in hand with customers and their communities as financial first responders in the past year, and the performance of the state’s banks reflect that,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO in a news release to statewide media. “The economy is showing resilience and momentum, and with deposits growing steadily and credit quality strong, there’s lots of capacity for banks to make loans to fuel additional business growth and meet family borrowing needs.” Below are some specific highlights of the latest data. GBA’s analysis includes comparative performance of only the banks classified by FDIC as Georgia-based banks at the end of the first quarter 2021. There are an additional 45 FDIC-insured banks operating in Georgia whose performance numbers are reported in the state in which they’re chartered.



Georgia Banks


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Georgia Banks


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All Institutions-National


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Number of institutions reporting




Total employees (full-time equivalent)




Total assets




Total deposits




Total loans and leases




Net income




Noncurrent loans to loans




% of profitable institutions




% of institutions with earnings gains




Net interest margin




Return on assets (ROA)




Return on Equity (ROE)





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How Georgia Outperforms National Trends

We scanned the FDIC’s national Quarterly Banking Profile for some comparisons with the results from Georgia’s banks. Like in Georgia, nationwide industry profits were significantly higher in first quarter than for the first three months a year ago, but the 315.3% increase was less than the 581.3% jump for Georgia’s banks. Our state’s banks also bucked the national trend in lending. Nationally, loan balances declined 1.2% while in Georgia loans increased by 9.2%. Also of note, the national net interest margin average declined to 2.56%, an all-time low. The trend of declining margin also affected Georgia banks, but the statewide average of 3.24% is well above the national benchmark. Georgia bank ROA and ROE also exceeded national averages. Access the full FDIC report here.


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Lots of Smiles at Rural Development and Lending Conference

It was nice see everyone’s smiles as our Rural Development and Lending Conference made its in-person return last Thursday and Friday. It was a productive two days for Georgia bankers serving rural markets and agribusiness customers. Thursday’s agenda focused on economic and commodity product trends and outlooks, and Friday’s agenda was forward looking with updates on ag technology, funding sources and the latest on Georgia’s ports. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black closed the conference with an optimistic outlook for the state’s number-one industry. Truist Bank’s Adam Smith chaired this year’s Agriculture Committee, which planned the program, and Nic Worthy, Colony Bank, was vice chair. Congrats to Adam, Nic and the entire committee for putting on such a strong conference. Thanks also to Joe Durham of J. Durham and Associates, Mark Faas of Point to Point Environmental and Joe Lanier of South Auction, who did double duty in supporting the event as sponsors and exhibitors. Rebecca Daniels and Chris Fonzi of Logic Environmental also supported the conference as exhibitors. Check out the photos on the conference Facebook album.



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Climate Risk Order, PPP Updates and More Highlight Key Updates

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

  • PPP Update: 41,044 Georgia borrowers received loans totaling $740,455,604 last week for an average loan size of $18,040.


  • Climate Risk Order: A summary fact sheet and a copy of President Biden’s Climate Risk Executive Order was provided.


  • Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Payments: Details were shared from the USDA outlining how the agency will be handling forgiveness of Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans made directly to socially disadvantaged farmers.


  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund Portal Closed: SBA says it received more than 303,000 applications requesting a total of $69 billion in relief funds. The current authorization for the program is $28.6 billion. The restaurant associations are asking Congress for more funding.

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


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Member Profile

The Surprising Source of ‘RegTech Diva’ Pam Perdue's Nickname

Pamela (Pam) Perdue, senior vice president, Chief Compliance Officer at Heritage Southeast Bank in McDonough, always had a knack for enterprising responsibly. As a child, she would copy jokes out of the latest Readers’ Digest, type them on construction paper and sell them to her neighbors as Pam’s Jokespaper. “Even then, I was a ‘compliant’ little entrepreneur, because I cited my source as the Digest,” Perdue said. While working at a stock brokerage early in her career, Perdue saw firsthand how irresponsible business practices can affect scores of people both working for and doing business with a company. This bitter experience inspired her to join the traditional banking industry and pursue a career in regulatory compliance, although she almost became a professional opera singer. “And this, not my demanding nature, is behind my nickname as ‘RegTech Diva,’” she said. A member of the GBA Compliance School Board of Directors, Perdue shares about her years of experience with the GBA school, ideas for the banking industry’s continued longevity and more surprising anecdotes in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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Survey on Branch Access, Mask Policies and Other Pandemic Protections

With Covid-19 case counts way down, Gov. Kemp recently removing most restrictions and CDC mask guidance relaxed for vaccinated people, we did a check in with members about how they’ve adjusted operations. The main takeaway from the responses is that things are mostly back to “business as usual” when it comes to branch access and personal interactions. More than a third of member banks responded to the survey, and about 90% reported full branch access is available. Most customer meetings are being held in whichever setting or format the customer is most comfortable, and about 64% have removed strict mask requirements for all customers. About 46% no longer have strict mask requirements for all employees, but there’s quite a bit of variation related to vaccination status and other situational considerations. Most are not requiring employees to be vaccinated or to provide proof of vaccination. Access full results here.


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Register for a live membership demo and receive a free 48-hr trial!

Compliance Alliance Offers Compliance Toolkits for Every Bank Department

GBA Strategic Partner Compliance Alliance is a subscription-based regulatory and consumer compliance advisory service with tools, hotlines and document reviews. Learn more about their unlimited, all-inclusive membership for services that can benefit all areas of a bank, from the board room to the front line. Call 833.683.0701 or email


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Attention New and Aspiring Lenders: Back by popular demand!

GBA Webinar: Breaking into Banking 101 – June 23

Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. This webinar is a clear and thorough introduction to the key concepts, terminology, and processes involved in credit and lending. It doesn’t assume much prior knowledge of the topic, so it’s ideal for those in their first year in the industry. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of their job and how their specific role fits into the bank’s overall profitability goals. Speaker: Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning. For all the details and to register, click here.


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New location, Athens, GA!

The BSA Experience Returns: Hurry spots are filling up fast!

We’re teaming up with Terri Sands of Secura Risk Management to present the third annual BSA Experience! This year’s program was designed to provide the most pressing topics for BSA officers and support teams such as regulatory expectations, emerging trends that impact your daily BSA, increased fraud and changes to the BSA laws and regulation such as the updated FinCEN guidance on Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. This year, 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 here.


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Tips on Search Engine Optimization

According to Google's Keyword Planner, there are between 100,000 and 1,000,000 searches of 'banks near me' every month. That’s just one illustration of why a good Search Engine Optimization strategy is important. GBA Associate Member Atiba has put together an infographic with some helpful tips for banks looking to rise to the top of those searches. Click here for the infographic. With questions, contact Atiba’s Toby Myers, 615-353-1921 ext. 263.


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GBA Associate Member Banker’s Healthcare Group

How Community Banks Can Prepare for CECL Changes

The FASB’s new credit loss model is one of the most significant accounting changes in recent history. Read this article from RMSG/Bankers Healthcare Group for information on upcoming changes and helpful planning tips. This resource shares a variety of best practices about how you can prepare and comply.


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National Homeownership Month Resource

If You Build It, They Will Come: Adding or Expanding Mortgage Operations to Attract New Customers

Banks’ interest in residential lending has been reignited, and advances in digital mortgage technology have made mortgage lending more manageable for community banks. What steps do you need to consider when adding or expanding mortgage lending operations? Join GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath on June 2, at 2 p.m. to learn more about the way to profitably offer competitive mortgage loans. Click here to register. With questions, please contact Diane Capers,, 314.593.5015.


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In-Person Seminar

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

Managing risk is the #1 priority for all financial institutions, and it all starts at the new account desk. If a criminal cannot get in, they cannot steal from your organization and community. Well-trained new account personnel and universal bankers who recognize and stop attempted dishonest activity are the first line of defense in protecting a financial institution from fraudsters. Unfortunately, new account personnel are often trained "on the job," which can result in an environment of potential vulnerability and unnecessary losses for the financial institution. Additionally, with constant new regulations, the need for ongoing compliance training is paramount to maintain diligence and update processes and procedures.


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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Join live or purchase a recording!

June Webinar All-Access Pass

Gain access to a month’s worth of live webinars for just $795! June is a perfect time to explore the variety and depth of topics you can choose from to complement your compliance training program. We offer webinars for all financial institution professionals from the front line to the board room. Click here to learn about the June All Access Pass!


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:


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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:


Dublin - Morris Bank

The Morris Bank Community Foundation awarded a grant of $15,000 to the Museum of Aviation Foundation in Warner Robins to fund the rubberized surface for a new inclusive playground on their campus.


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Albany - AB&T

The shareholders of Community Capital Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary AB&T, elected five new directors this week at the company’s annual meeting. The new directors are Jack Posey, operations manager of ACC Foods Distributors Inc.; City of Albany Facilities Director Don Gray; Alex Willson, owner and COO of Sunnyland Farms; Dougherty Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Victoria Darrisaw; and Phoebe Health Systems President and CEO Scott Steiner. They will be formally installed at the bank’s monthly board meeting. Read more here.


Americus - The Citizens Bank of Americus

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of bank director Jimmie Buchanan, who died on Tuesday. A former member of the GBA Board of Directors and chair of GBA's Agriculture Committee, Buchanan was the longtime president of Bank of Commerce and later First Atlanta in Americus before retiring in the late 1980s. "Jimmie was on the Board that hired me when I joined GBA in 1980 and has always been an incredible supporter of the association. He and Joyce were fixtures at GBA events throughout his career and they had legions of friends throughout the state," said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. More about Jimmie's life...


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Corporate Executive Vice President and CFO Nicole Stokes was recently recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as part of its CFO of the Year feature. Read the article here about Stokes.


Atlanta - Atlantic Capital Bank

CFO Patrick Oakes was recently recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as part of its CFO of the Year feature. Read the article here about Oakes.


Calhoun - North Georgia National Bank

The bank held its Customer/Community Appreciation Day at its main office on May 21. The event was a cookout with grilled hot dogs and fresh lemonade provided by Country Cabin Sweet and Treats.


Dublin - Citizens Bank of Laurens County

The bank hosted a reception Thursday for June Moore, Senior Vice President, who is retiring after 61 years in banking. "I've known June my entire career and appreciate president Jeff Cannon inviting me to attend the reception. It was my pleasure to present June with a plaque representing the recognition our members adopted at our annual meeting last year honoring her years of service to the industry," said GBA president and CEO, Joe Brannen. Click here to see a nice story WMAZ-TV in Macon ran about June's retirement.


Griffin - United Bank

David Edwards has joined the bank as Executive Vice President and Director of Strategic Projects. Read more here.


Hawkinsville - SunMark Community Bank

Greg Curbow has joined the bank as its commercial and construction loan officer. Read more here.


Richmond Hill - Great Oaks Bank

The bank celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Richmond Hill this week. GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen was on hand and had the pleasure of making a few remarks about Mike Odom, bank CEO and his team members who are active with GBA. Brannen and Odom are shown in the picture below flanking past GBA Chairman Jimmy Burnsed, for whom a conference room in the new facility was named in recognition of his mentorship to several bank officers as well as his service to the industry and the community. Read more here.


Sandersville - The Geo. D. Warthen Bank

The bank is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Read more here about the oldest bank in Georgia’s storied past.


Washington - F&M Bank

Debbie Burton is celebrating 40 years of service with the bank. Since starting at F&M Bank in 1981, Burton has worked in almost every area of the bank. Shown with Debbie in the photo below is bank president and GBA Board member Ed Pope.


Waycross - WB&T Bankshares

Bank team member Linda James is celebrating 33 years with the bank this month.



Oakes Moore Edwards Curbow Stokes



Great Oaks Bank The Geo. D. Warthen Bank Burton James


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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