Oct. 2, 2020

Download from Executive Strategy Tri Conference

It was a homecoming of sorts this week for GBA member bank CEOs, Bank Counsel Members and Bank Accountant Section members as they were able to meet in person for their annual conferences. As it was the first executive-level association event since the onset of the pandemic, members welcomed the opportunity to responsibly gather in person to share insights, best practices, the latest industry trends and network. “Wow! What an energizing event! After months of Zoom calls, webinars and pre-recorded briefings, the in-person GBA Pres/CEO Conference was just what we as bankers needed to feel ‘normal’ again,” said Community Bankers Committee Chair Susan Moss, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla. “From socially-distanced networking to being in the same room as our inspiring speakers, I left the conference energized and ready to finish out this incredibly strange year!” Elaine Demarest of Demarest Strategy Group led off the general sessions Monday with a thorough overview of just where the industry stands statewide based on the latest performance metrics. She noted some positive trends including the opportunity for banks to grow market share, implored members to embrace technology changes, highlighted ways to get ahead of credit-quality challenges and pressed members to demand and deserve the best human talent available. GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower of Fenimore, Harrison, Ford & Kay led a CEO panel featuring Jim Walker, PrimeSouth Bank, Charles DeWitt, Tandem Bank, and Bill Easterlin, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company. They touched on lessons from the pandemic, shared PPP war stories, noted the pros and cons of remote working and how they’ve addressed diversity and social justice issues that have been at the forefront for employees and customers over the summer. Georgia Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler, and FDIC Deputy Regional Director John Henrie covered a variety of regulatory issues in a panel discussion led by GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen. Henrie and Hagler both expressed their gratitude and thanks for how strongly the banking industry stepped up to help customers and communities. They also indicated the intent to show ongoing flexibility – within reason – as banks continue to work with borrowers during the pandemic recovery. The bankers’ agenda Monday wrapped up with a technical tour de force for creative ways to manage cash flows and net interest margin by Brian Liebfried of Performance Trust Capital Partners. Bank Accountant Section Chair Ian Waller, Nichols, Cauley & Associates, facilitated a special hot-topics session for the accountants attending. They covered the latest info on accounting for loan modifications, PPP fee and forgiveness accounting, allowance strategies and more. Bank Counsel members participated in a session about emerging legal challenges, led by FHLB Atlanta General Counsel Reggie O’Shields, who chairs the Bank Counsel Section. His panel included Melinda Davis Lux of United Community Bank, section Vice Chair John Willis of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, and Doroteya Wozniak and Corrie Hall of James Bates Brannan Groover. Tuesday’s program kicked off with an economic update from FHN Financial’s Chris Low, during which he forecast that into 2021, economic recovery will hinge on vaccine availability. Still, strong growth is likely with low inflation. Political guru Derrick Dickey outlined how the outcomes of Georgia’s two hotly contested Senate races could have a significant impact on the national scene, and predicted high overall voter turnout. The Bank Counsel section attendees also had a special session Tuesday led by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Bill Custer, focusing on a number of current and recent cases affecting banks. The conference concluded with an inspiring session full of practical leadership advice from Chick-fil-A’s Andre Kennebrew. He focused on the concept of leading with care at all levels, noting that those who can help their teammates find meaning and purpose in their work can foster a culture in which care for their people is a business advantage. Here are some quotes from others attending:


“It was refreshing to get out of the bank to attend the CEO Conference in-person. The GBA did an excellent job putting together a relevant agenda that included economic and regulatory updates, as well as strategies for us to be more successful for our shareholders, customers, and employees. Being able to network face-to-face; albeit, with masks on much of the time, was equally beneficial and enjoyable.” – Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust, Athens


“In these uncertain times, it was great to see everyone in person and catch up with old friends as well as welcoming some new faces. The conference was well run and I found it very informative to hear from our bankers across the state as to their varying experiences in navigating issues with customers and employees related to the pandemic.” – David Ghegan, partner, Troutman Pepper


“It was empowering to attend the CEO/President Conference.  It allowed me to gain knowledge from the highly talented speakers that motivate and support the highest leaders of our organizations. It also felt great to see our network of bankers in person. It’s been too long!” – Jenny Wofford, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton



Thanks to our sponsors: EBS, Elliott Davis, FHLB of Atlanta, McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co., and ServisFirst Bank. And thanks also to Demarest Strategy Group for the gift card giveaways.


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Georgia Bankers Democracy Days

Help Get out the Vote – Tools You can Use

We’ve all seen the polls about how this year’s elections are going to be extremely close and we want to do our part in making sure as many people vote as possible. In addition to the Presidential election and competitive U.S. Senate and House races, in Georgia, there are 87 contested state House seats; 29 state Senate contests; thousands of city, county and additional statewide elected posts; and many bankers hold or are running for elective office. To that end, we ask that your bank participate in Georgia Bankers Democracy Days. We have some tools to help you encourage your staff and customers to vote. The resources are: 

  • A sample employee newsletter article or e-mail about the key dates and your company’s participation

  • A flyer you can post in your offices or hand out to customers with key dates and resources

  • A business-card-sized reminder to vote you can print and pass out in the days before the election.

  • A news release announcing your participation in the campaign

  • A list of possible Tweets or Facebook posts for social media – don’t forget the #GABankersVote hashtag

  • Specialty logos

  • A flyer with quotations about voting from prominent Americans. 

Sign up for GBA Democracy Days 2020 now…


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‘Banks Never Ask That’ Campaign Kicks Off

GBA and member banks are participating in a major anti-phishing campaign that started Thursday. The industry-wide campaign, #BanksNeverAskThat, includes short videos, animated GIFs and consumer tips on social media and in bank branches designed to highlight common phishing schemes. The campaign’s six short videos offer a humorous take on the kinds of questions banks would never ask and direct consumers to visit BanksNeverAskThat.com for more information, including a quiz, a list of phishing red flags, tips and FAQs. Your bank can still take part. Register here.


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GBA Member Profile

The Importance of Local Marketing and Small Businesses with Whitney Kilgo

Whitney Kilgo, marketing director for Morris Bank in Dublin, became interested in marketing as a teen at her first job in a local jewelry store. “At the time, it was my dream job and where I began learning the fundamentals of local marketing and grew a strong appreciation for small business owners,” she said. After starting her career in managing the customer experience for Warby Parker in Nashville, TN, Kilgo returned to her hometown of Dublin and reestablished relationships within the community before assuming her new role at Morris Bank. “As a third-generation banker, I feel a close connection to the industry and particularly to the bankers within our community,” Kilgo said. The Group 6 representative on GBA’s Marketing Committee shares her outlook for the future of banking in Georgia, how her parents impacted her professional accomplishments, being a newlywed in 2020 and more in her GBA member profile.


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Gov. Kemp Extends Public Health State of Emergency

As expected, Gov. Brian Kemp renewed the existing Public Health State of Emergency an additional 30 days and the order now extends through Nov. 9. The Governor also renewed his executive order outlining various restrictions to ensure a healthy Georgia. That order extends through Oct. 15. As in previous orders, banks and bankers, as designated as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, are exempt from most of the provisions except that social distancing and similar safety measures are mandated. Access State of Emergency here. Access Healthy Georgia here.


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NEW Hot Topic Webinar - Oct. 13, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Brands and Ballots: A Guide to Communications During Election Season and Beyond

The already tumultuous political climate of 2020 has set the stage for a highly divisive election – creating an environment where remaining politically neutral is more complicated for brands than ever before. The Brands and Ballots: A Guide to Communications During Election Season and Beyond webinar Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m. will help your bank navigate this environment. Featuring seasoned perspectives from experts at GBA Associate Member company Jackson Spalding, you’ll gain insights on:

  • How to assess your company’s potential exposure to political issues

  • How to avoid being entangled in a political, social media crisis

  • How to engage in discussions around political and social justice issues, particularly in an industry that traditionally has shied away from these conversations

Registration is $150. For GBA Member Marketing Officers, registration includes the option to participate in a virtual Marketing Peer Group Meeting the same day from 1:30-2:30 p.m. to discuss the content and share ideas and resources about additional bank marketing issues. Click here to register. With questions, email GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner.


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Welcome GBA’s Newest Associate Member

GBA’s Associate Membership program is designed for companies that want to do more business with banks as clients. This quarter, we are pleased to welcome Gainesville-based MPA Systems, Inc. MPA Systems helps banks operate seamlessly-through remodeling projects, branch expansion, new construction, and disaster recovery. Contact Mr. Darin Ruhl, druhl@mpasystems.com, to learn more about MPA, or visit www.mpasystems.com.


Today, over 200 Associate Members are taking advantage of business development opportunities and affordable access to the latest news and events in Georgia's banking industry, all for about $2 a day. These members also provide invaluable support to GBA’s activities and programs throughout the year through attendance, sponsorships, exhibits and shared expertise. Be sure to get to know them and thank them for their support of GBA. You can get information about any of GBA’s Associate Members by using the Associate Member search function on our website. For additional information, contact Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


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2020 BankPAC Campaign Update

The 2020 BankPAC campaign is going strong and making great progress toward the goals set for the StatePAC and FedPAC. If you and your bank have yet to contribute, please find the campaign materials on the BankPAC page of GBA’s website. We appreciate all of our contributors and want to thank this week’s banks and associate member for contributing to the GBA StatePAC:

  • Farmers and Merchants Bank, Sylvania, Hoke Reeves, President & CEO

  • First Chatham Bank, Savannah, Ken Farrell, CEO

  • Hyperion Bank, Atlanta, Charlie Crawford, Chairman & CEO

  • SouthState Bank, Stan Kryder, Regional President, Atlanta

  • Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, Doug Mims, Atlanta

And, thank you to the contributors to the GBA FedPAC who are eligible employees, officers and directors from the following banks:

  • Community Bank & Trust-West Georgia, LaGrange, Bill Stump, Chairman, President & CEO

  • First Chatham Bank, Savannah, Ken Farrell, CEO

  • First Port City Bank, Bainbridge, Scott Ewing, President & CEO

  • Hyperion Bank, Atlanta, Charlie Crawford, Chairman & CEO

  • Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville, Neil Stevens, President & CEO

  • Persons Banking Company, Perry, Keith Beckham, President

  • River City Bank, Rome, Jamie Tallent, President & CEO

  • SouthState Bank, Stan Kryder, Regional President, Atlanta

  • The First, Thomasville, John Everett, President & CEO

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

Thank you for your support of this important effort! With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Enjoy A Round of Golf and Support GBA State BankPAC - Oct. 21 in Forsyth! 

With the GBA State BankPAC* campaign in full swing, we’ve got a great way to show your support and enjoy a nice day on the golf course. Join us for the 2020 Leadership GBA’s Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic, Oct. 21 at the River Forest Club in Forsyth.  Invite your fellow bankers, directors, and legislators to join you for this great cause. It’s just $275 for a two-person/$175 per individual golfer. Or, pay $500 for a two-person team AND hole sponsorship. Click here to register. You can also show your support of the PAC through sponsorship, like these banks and associate members: CRSA Business Lending; EBS; FHLB of Atlanta; FNBB; Great Oaks Bank; Holmes Shaw Agency; MPA Systems; Point to Point Environmental; Pinnacle Bank; ServisFirst Bank; The Baker Group; and The Claxton Bank. Click here for the sponsorship form or contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level office such as the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor’s office and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  Contributions can be made from an individual, from bank funds if you are a state-chartered bank or from a national bank holding company if the contribution is made from funds other than those resulting from the operations of the national bank.


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Compliance Conference, Oct 21-23, Buford

NEW Live Streaming Option if You Can’t Make it in Person

Please join us, in-person or virtually for the GBA’s 2020 Compliance Conference. The agenda is packed and we thank the Compliance Committee for their hard work putting together such a strong agenda. We’ve set up a live-streaming option so those with travel restrictions, health concerns or other conflicts can tune in to the sessions. The conference will feature an inspiring leadership talk, sessions on risk assessments, national regulatory updates, hemp banking, advertising compliance, fraud-prevention during disasters, human trafficking awareness, BSA and CRA updates, and more. See the full agenda here and secure your spot by registering here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau. We’re working closely with the hotel to ensure a clean, comfortable environment. Hotel protocols infoGBA protocols info. Hope to see you in October! Contact GBA's Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034, for more information.


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Retirement Plan Insights Webinar Next Week

It’s not too late to sign up for our Retirement Plan Insights Webinar next week. GBA Retirement Services, in partnership with Unified Trust Company, has scheduled a series of three monthly informational webinars beginning next Tuesday, Oct. 6. These webinars are most beneficial for sponsors of retirement plans, including CEOs, Human Resources professionals and other Retirement Plan Committee members. More information on our first of the upcoming webinar series is below:

  • Retirement Plan Insights: What’s Trending? #fiduciary
    Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m.
    There are many interesting and important trends we are seeing in the retirement plan industry today. This webinar will provide you with an overview of industry trends so you can determine if you would like to incorporate some of these strategies in your company’s benefits program. Some of the topics we will review are: Plan Design, Financial Wellness, Potential Market Correction, and DOL Initiatives. Click here to register.

Please reach out to Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 with any questions. If your plan is not with GBA Retirement Services and you would like to learn more about our high-quality 401(k) program that includes a discretionary trustee, managed account solution for each participant, reduced fees, and added oversight with GBA Retirement Services as the Master Plan Sponsor, please also reach out. We would love to help you with a free plan comparison.   


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GBA Partner Webinar: Promontory MortgagePath

Mortgage Lending 2021: Transforming Your Cost Structure and Customer Experience, Oct. 8, 2-3pm

Is your bank’s residential mortgage lending strategy currently best described as “stay the course”? How adaptable is that strategy in an environment with rates hovering near historic lows and consumer demand for a digital experience growing rapidly in the wake of COVID-19? Join GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath for an upcoming webinar to learn how their GBA-endorsed solutions can help you seamlessly – and profitably – manage loan volume fluctuations while blending new technology, improving efficiency and creating scalability in managing your mortgage operations. Click here to register. For questions, please contact Promontory’s Paul Katz, pkatz@mortgagepath.com, 212.652.3511, or Sue Shaffer, suzanne.shaffer@mortgagepath.com, 901.283.3034.


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New webinar!

Advance IRA Training: Understanding the SECURE and CARES Acts of 2020

Join Patrice Konarik, Sunwest Training Corp., for a special one-day webinar on Understanding the SECURE and CARES Acts of 2020 from the convenience of your home or office on Oct. 27 (9 a.m.-4 p.m. EST). After a year of deliberations, the SECURE Act was signed into law under the Appropriations Act on Dec. 20, 2019. Most of the provisions went into effect 12 days later on Jan. 1, 2020. These are the most substantial changes we’ve had to IRAs in almost 15 years. On top of that, the CARES Act was passed three months later, further making rules and regulation changes to IRAs. Because of this, you may have to do some explaining to your customers on what the permanent changes are and what the temporary changes are due to the COVID-19 virus. In the IRA Advanced webinar, we will summarize the changes and then actually get into the nitty-gritty of new distribution regulations to owners and beneficiaries - what stays the same and what changes? How do we disclose all these changes to our customers? Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during the virtual training. View the full description here. Each paid participant will receive the latest 275-page 2020-2021 IRA Training and Reference Manual - “The Red Book” in an electronic format for printing for these virtual classes. Register here (only $250 through Oct. 19!) Questions? Email GBA’s Jenna Lynn Warner.


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Financial Risk Management Conference - Nov. 5-6

COVID-19 Impact on Banking

Join financial management pros from around the state for the 2020 GBA Financial Risk Management Conference Nov. 5-6 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. Chris Nichols, Chief Strategy Officer with CenterState Bank will talk to us about the COVID-19 Impact on Banking. Along with Chris, other sessions included will be an ALM panel, an investment panel, a regulatory panel and an economic update by Lindsey Piegza, Ph.D., chief economist, managing director, Stifel Nicolaus & Co.


See the hotel’s protocols for wellness and safety as well as GBA’s approach to health and wellness at in-person events. We'll set up sessions and activities to ensure as much social distancing as possible. Please help us plan by registering early if you plan to attend. Get full details and access registration here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau. Hope to see you in November!


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Credit Conference Agenda Sneak Peek

Registration is open for GBA’s 2020 Credit Conference, scheduled for Dec. 10-11 at the Atlanta Marriott Renaissance Waverly Hotel. Here is a sneak peek at the agenda. Laura Hope Whitaker, ESP executive director, will open the conference by sharing her story in a session titled, “Sometimes you choose your job, other times your job chooses you.” 

  • John Hunt, principal, MarketNsight, president, ViaSearch, housing market update; 

  • Cal Evans, Synovus, will give a Commercial Real Estate Year in Review and 2021 Forecast;

  • Jeffrey Harvey, director, Public Policy Department, Georgia Farm Bureau, on the ag environment; 

  • Mike AllenCadence Bank, about credit quality trends,

  • Roger Tutterow, Ph.D., Kennesaw State University, with an economic update.

We will also have a regulatory panel moderated by Mark Kanaly, partner, Alston & Bird. Joining the panel will be Michael Johnson, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, John Henrie, FDIC; Jason Sisack, OCC; and Kevin Hagler, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Banking & Finance. Click here to register. With questions, contact Alison Moreau. Thanks to the Credit Committee chaired by Stacy BrantleyMorris Bank, and with vice-chair Philip BernardiOconee State Bank, for planning the conference.


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Bank Trainers Virtual Summit - Fall 2020

Join us Tuesday, Oct. 27, for the Bank Trainers Virtual Summit when we put our focus on how to Supercharge Your Presentations. Topics covered include:

  • How to Present with Pizazz Online

  • Create and Deliver Award-Winning Presentations

  • Mind-blowing PowerPoint. No, Really!

Registration is only $295. To learn more and to register, click here.


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Fall Webinars: How to Lead, Loan Documentation, Excel and HMDA Sessions

We appreciate members choosing the programs we offer for your ongoing needs. Check out these upcoming virtual offerings. View the full calendar here for dates, times and more programs. With questions, email events@gabankers.com.


Save 10-30% with a webinar subscription package - details here!

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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:


Albany - Georgia Community Bank

Bank team member Melinda Posey in Reynolds recently volunteered at The House of Blessings, a local food pantry and resource center for those in need.

Additionally, bank team members Haley Prescott and Heidi Breeden volunteer every other Wednesday distributing food for the Feeding the Valley Food Bank, which partners with United Way to distribute food to under-served families in surrounding counties.

Atlanta - Bank of America

Two grants from Bank of America are providing support to Mercy Housing Southeast’s efforts to provide innovative affordable housing, as well as housing security for residents impacted by COVID-19. A grant in the amount of $50,000 provided the initial funding to assist residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. An additional $52,000, which is part of a larger $300,000 grant to Mercy Housing, Inc. will support Mercy Housing Southeast’s operations in the greater Atlanta region. Read more here. The bank is also partnering with the United Way of Greater Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber to provide 1 million masks to those who need it most. Since January, the bank has provided more than $3.7 million in philanthropic support to nonprofits in Metro Atlanta, including $1.1 million across 14 nonprofit organizations that are delivering critical support to the community to address food insecurity, support for first responders, housing assistance, and access to childcare resources. Of that amount, $500,000 was provided to Grady Health System to expand critically needed treatment and testing capacity to support the growing patient numbers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.


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Atlanta - Atlantic Capital Bank

The company was named the No. 9 Best Place to Work in the large company category of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual list.


Atlanta - Cadence Bank

Yvonne Davis has been promoted to regional president of East Georgia.


Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

Matt Owens has joined the bank as a vice president and commercial lender concentrating on the market south of I-20. Read more here.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Andy Harmel has joined the bank as a mortgage loan originator.


Gainesville - Peach State Bank & Trust

Rhonda Dellinger has joined the bank staff as a mortgage originator in its Mortgage Division. Read more here.


Greenville, S.C. - United Community Bank

Brian Goff has joined the bank as Director of Portfolio Management. Read more here.


Macon - Persons Banking Company, Inc.

The Federal Reserve Board on Tuesday announced the termination of the enforcement action dated Oct. 14, 2010.


Moultrie - Colony Bank

Cole Posey has joined the bank as a vice president and commercial banker for the Moultrie market. Read more here.


Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia

Treamon Andrews has joined the bank team as vice president and senior credit analyst.


Atlanta - ADDO Worldwide

The company was named the No. 1 Best Place to Work in the small company category of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual list.


Atlanta - Fiserv

The company was named the No. 10 Best Place to Work in the extra-large company category of the of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s annual list.


Atlanta - Stackfolio

Chief Revenue Officer Omar Esposito was named one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle's 2020 class of 40 Under Forty honorees. Read more here.


Macon - McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co.

Our sympathies to Marjorie Huckabee Carter, her family and friends on the death of her father Leo Bennette Huckabee, III this week in Highlands, NC. Read more here. 


Atlanta - GBA Insurance Trust

Our sympathies to GBA Insurance Trust President and CEO Dan Thomason and COBRA Administrator Lindsey Hawkins as well as their family and friends on the death of Dan’s father and Lindsey's grandfather, Gary D. Thomason, last week in Stone Mountain. Read more here.












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 Katina Prokos.

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