May 7, 2021  

PPP Funds Exhausted, Other Timely Update Topics

SBA announced Tuesday that funding for PPP loans has been exhausted and it closed access to the application portal for any new loans. SBA reserved about $6 billion in funding for applications awaiting a funding decision, and there was about $8 billion in congressionally mandated funding for PPP loans made by designated “community financial institutions,” defined for bankers’ purposes as Minority Depository  Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions. We’ve been connecting members to one of the 12 eligible Georgia member institutions we know is continuing to accept applications.


PPP Stats Update: Through May 2, total PPP loans to Georgia small businesses since the program’s inception last year is 491,397 for a total of $23.9 billion. Average loan size is $48,806. The number of new loans in the previous five weeks remained high, ranging from 24,076 to 42,265 in any given week.


Other updates we shared in direct emails with CEOs, committee members and key contacts included information about a Covid-19 related funeral reimbursement program with funds available through the American Rescue Plan. This may be beneficial for members and their customers. The program is through FEMA, and here’s a fact sheet we shared. We also shared a procedural notice with guidance related to PPP loan sales, details about the grants available to restaurants, and details about an introductory briefing Joe Brannen had with U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff.


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Bankers Busy in Athens at Schools

We’re so happy to have member bankers on campus this week in Athens at our Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School – Year 1. In all, we’ve got four groups working toward strengthening their career skills; first-, second- and third-year Banking School classes and the group of compliance officers. Look for details, recognition of star students and more photos next week. It’s never too early to start planning to attend next year’s sessions. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau for details on how to enroll yourself or a key team member.



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Georgia Banks Receive $36,228 in Distributions from American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd.

$91.3 million has been declared in total distributions since 1991


American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd., the reinsurer for the directors and officers (D&O), bond and cyber insurance program co-endorsed by American Bankers Association (ABA) and Georgia Bankers Association (GBA), declared a $2.5 million distribution to be shared by qualified ABA member banks insured through ABA Insurance Services, a member of Great American Insurance Group. This is the 31st consecutive year that the industry’s leading professional liability and bond insurance provider has declared distributions to eligible ABA member banks, bringing the total to $91.3 million since the program’s inception. Banks that purchase their directors and officers, bond, cyber and related insurance from this program and are current ABA members are eligible to receive a distribution. “This is a testament to the hard-working team at ABA Insurance Services that continues to focus on providing high-quality service to our bank clients during the pandemic,” said Gary Hemmer, chairman of American Bankers Mutual Insurance Ltd. and chairman of the board of First National Bank of Waterloo in Waterloo, IL.”


For more information about the policies offered by ABA Insurance Services, a GBA Strategic Partner, contact Patricia Williams,, 410.960.6878. Policies are available to any GBA member bank.


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GBA-Endorsed Agency PointeNorth Insurance Can Partner with Your Local Agent for the Best Coverage

GBA is proud to endorse PointeNorth Insurance Group as its preferred full-service, independent insurance agency, providing one of the broadest collections of personal and business-related insurance solutions in the Southeast. Additionally, PointeNorth serves as the primary broker for the GBA-endorsed ABA Insurance Program. To learn more, please contact PointeNorth’s Paul Halloran,, 770.858.7554.


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Rural Development and Lending Conference

AgTech Session Sure to Intrigue

An expert from the University of Georgia who specializes in technical trends for agribusinesses will be among the keynote speakers at GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference May 20-21 at the King and Prince, St. Simons. We’ll also get an overall ag economy update, learn about the cotton crop and overall crop insurance outlooks and hear from Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black. Get all the details and register here.


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Lenders and Retail Bankers: Last chance to register!

GBA Webinar – RECHARGE: Relationships, Referrals & Results

This workshop on May 12 will concentrate on how to recharge our teams in the post-COVID world and get back into the mindset of adding value to our existing clients and bringing in new opportunities to the bank. Deepening relationships leads to better opportunities, referrals and results. Speaker: Jennifer Finkelstein Hall, MatchKey ConsultingFor all the details and to register, click here.


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How to Get National Recognition for your Community Efforts

Members may submit entries to a national awards program to highlight their efforts to support their hometowns. The ABA Foundation’s Community Commitment Awards are open to banks of all sizes and charters. There are eight categories for recognition: Affordable Housing, Community and Economic Development, Financial Education, Economic Inclusion, Protecting Older Americans, Supporting Military Families, Volunteerism and the George Bailey Award for non-CEO employees. Entries are due by July 1. A webinar about the program is available May 25 at 2 p.m. Get details and enter here.


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See the Latest Results from GBA Partner Abrigo's Annual Business Lending Survey

While the pandemic and related events have created unique challenges for banks, they have also led to new opportunities and innovative thinking. GBA partner Abrigo recently surveyed nearly 250 bankers involved in lending and credit risk at banks across the country. The survey covered underwriting, risk rating, pricing, tracking, ticklers, and more – aiming to give respondents a better understanding of how they stack up to industry peers. While community banks recognize the value of digital transformation, the results gleaned from the survey show that there is room for improvement for more efficiency, automation and reduction in manual processes. Highlights among the findings include:

  • 46 percent of respondents report their banks need at least five weeks to close a commercial loan. That figure includes 16 percent of banks requiring eight weeks or more.

  • Repetitious data entry, up to five or six times per data point, was cited as the biggest obstacle in commercial lending by 35 percent of respondents.

  • 33 percent said gathering documents efficiently and consistently is another impediment to the commercial lending process.

  • Asked about the biggest challenge related to ticklers, the documents required for every loan file, 65 percent cited tracking and following up on missing items.

  • Only 17 percent of respondents said their bank uses automation for ticklers.

Click here to see an infographic detailing more of the initial findings. If you are interested in the complete data set and results, please Abrigo's Laura Wahl,, 919.906.5649.


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Fraud Alert

Email Compromise Scam in Pickens County

Community Bank of Pickens County wants members to be alert to a scam against one of its customers in the event fraudulent transactions are being attempted. An email takeover attack resulted in the issuance of fraudulent check. Members are asked to be on the lookout for an official check, #57313, drawn on Community Bank of Pickens County, Jasper, GA, payable to Glenda Bell Smith at an address in North Carolina. The bank and customer have notified appropriate law enforcement. Contact Kathy Westbrook at the bank with questions or information,


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Updates for GBA Annual Meeting

It’s hard to believe that May is upon us and our Annual Meeting is just six weeks away. We have a few updates for registrants and those waitlisted for a room or to register.


First, for confirmed registrants with hotel rooms: This week we sent information to you about dinner and other amenity reservations and optional activities. Check your email box for details from Kathy Friestad.


For those registered and waitlisted for a room: While we have accommodated a few people due to cancellations, we still have a lengthy waitlist for a hotel room. If you are not able to attend due to unavailability of a hotel room, you will receive a full refund of your registration fee. We appreciate your patience and flexibility.


For those waitlisted for meeting registration: While we wish we could offer more encouraging news to those waitlisted to register, we can only continue to work our rooms waitlist as the meeting time draws near.


Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Thanks to these Associate Members who are showing their support:


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New location, Athens, GA!

The BSA Experience Returns: Only 30 spots available!

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.


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In-Person, Single-Day Programs

Summer Seminars: ISO and New-Account

  • Information Security Officer Seminar – May 19
    Speaker: Tom Hinkel of Safe Systems
    Sponsored by Safe Systems
    Learn more here. 


  • New-Account Documentation and Compliance Seminar – June 16
    Speaker: Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting
    Learn more here.

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Join live or purchase a recording!

Debt Collection, Fair Lending, Remote Deposit Capture, Coaching 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

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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 - Truist

Truist Financial Corporation this week announced the closing of a $22 million investment in Atlanta’s Mercy Care, a federally qualified health center and Atlanta’s only healthcare for the homeless program. According to Mercy Care, 77 percent of its patients are uninsured and 64 percent live below the poverty line. Learn more here. Additionally, Truist Financial extended an eight-year partnership with a nonprofit that offers financial coaching mainly to underbanked consumers with a $20-million investment over the next four years. The bank will work with Operation Hope on a financial counseling program in 1,000 Truist branches and also award a grant to Operation Hope's
1 Million Black Businesses program. Learn more here.

Atlanta - U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank is providing a three-year, $450,000 investment in the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to empowering Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. Learn more here.

Dublin - Morris Bank

The Morris Bank Leadership Advisory Council (LAC) class of 2020-2021 held a graduation session for the 22 students completing this year’s course and awarded four students with academic scholarships. After a leadership session with Dublin-Laurens Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Heath Taylor, students were treated to a graduation lunch at Saltwater Fishery where the following students were awarded scholarships based on participation, work ethic, and engagement throughout the course:

  • Vaibhav Mishra - $2,000 Scholarship

  • Ava Geyer - $1,000 Scholarship

  • Hannah McDaniel - Emerging Leader Award, $500 Scholarship

  • Keaton Brown - Emerging Leader Award, $500 Scholarship

Read more here.


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Columbus - Synovus

Sharon Goodwine has been appointed as executive vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO), effective May 17. Read more here.


Douglas - Pineland Bank

Shelia Butler has joined the bank as a lender.


Greenville, S.C. - United Community Bank

The bank has once again been ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Consumer Banking in the Southeast according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study. Read more here.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

Our condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Ramsey Way, who died last week following an extended illness. Way, the brother of GBA SVP Elizabeth Chandler, was a director of the bank and a member of GBA’s Bank Counsel Section. Funeral services were held Monday. More...


Savannah - First Chatham Bank

Carla Senst has been promoted to banking officer and branch manager at the Richmond Hill Branch. Chris Starling has been promoted to senior vice president and retail banking manager. Crystal Cross has been promoted to treasury management specialist.


Smyrna - Fifth Third Bank

The bank opened a new location Monday, featuring the bank's latest NextGen design catered toward digital banking. The bank, located at 4520 S. Cobb Drive, celebrated the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and other city officials. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Anna Mullis recently assumed the banks Internal Audit duties and has been promoted to vice president - compliance and audit. Pam Lewallen has been promoted to vice president - finance. Joelle Yarbrough has been promoted to staff accountant. Read more here.



Goodwine United Community Bank Way Senst


Starling Cross Fifth Third Bank


Mullis Lewallen Yarbrough


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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