Oct. 23, 2020  


Edwards Elected, Installed as ABA Chairman

This was an exciting week for Past GBA Chairman and United Bank CEO Jim Edwards, as he officially took the helm as Chairman of the American Bankers Association for 2020-2021. Edwards was elected and installed during the ABA Annual Convention on Tuesday. “Banks are essential to the communities they serve, and I’m honored to have this opportunity to represent our industry during such a critical time. Banks of all sizes continue to be a source of strength for the economy as they help their customers navigate the pandemic, and I’m looking forward to working with my peers across the country to make sure America’s banks can continue to support the economy,” Edwards said in addressing the membership. “Jim is exactly the right kind of leader for these times, and we’re mighty proud to have a Georgia Banker in this important national role,” said Joe Brannen, GBA President and CEO. Check out the profile video about Jim that features his co-workers and a host of industry leaders, and take a few minutes to watch his short speech to members here.


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BankPAC Golf Tournament Scores Big

A beautiful day and a beautiful course greeted a big crew of members and guests who took part in this year’s BankPAC Golf Classic Wednesday in Forsyth. We’re still tallying all the contributions, but when the final count is in the event will have raised a nice purse for the GBA StatePAC. "I’m so grateful to the membership and our generous sponsors for turning out in force to support this signature annual advocacy event for GBA. Georgia’s bankers know and understand just how important it is for our industry to have a voice with elected officials, and our StatePAC supports candidates who want to work with the industry as we serve Georgia’s families and businesses,” said Leadership GBA Chair Danny Minick, The Citizens Bank of Americus. The tournament winning team was Daniel Stanford and Daniel Payne, SunMark Community Bank, edging out the second-place team of Jarrod Prickett and Meyur Vashi, First American Bank & Trust Company. Third-place honors went to the team of Walker Jordan, Bank of Monticello, and Joel Foster, Raymond James. The big hitter of the day was Jarrod Prickett, First American Bank and Trust Company, who took the longest-drive prize. The closest-to-the-hole winner was Will Godwin, South State Bank, and the putting contest champion was Casey Washburn, Exchange Bank, Milledgeville. Washburn was the last contestant, he and holed the long putt on the very last shot of the contest for the win. See the full list of sponsors here. The next big event sponsored by Leadership GBA is a Sporting Clay Shoot Feb. 11 at Old Hudson Plantation, Sparta. Proceeds will also benefit Georgia State BankPAC. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.



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2020 BankPAC Campaign Update – Have You Contributed?

Continued progress was made this week on the 2020 GBA BankPAC Campaign enabling our team to further communicate the banking industry’s message in this critical election season. If you and your bank have yet to contribute, please find the campaign materials on the BankPAC page of GBA’s website. And, check out the progress of your GBA group here. We appreciate all of our contributors and want to thank the contributors to the GBA FedPAC who are eligible employees, officers and directors from the following banks:

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

  • Citizens Community Bank, Hahira, Glenn Copeland, CEO.

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


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Scenes from GBA’s Compliance Conference

Member Compliance pros are still learning lots at the GBA Compliance Conference that’s in session until mid-day Friday at the Legacy Lodge, Lake Lanier Islands. Here are some scenes from the conference. Look for a summary of the program and more snapshots next week.



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Upward Trend in Banked GA Households Continues

In the latest FDIC report, about 93% of Georgia households had some form of bank or credit union account, up from 89% in 2017 and 88% in 2015. “This is an encouraging trend as financial inclusiveness is something Georgia’s banks work hard on,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. “A relationship with a bank for a family or business is the cornerstone of financial stability and access to credit.” Here’s a look at detailed Georgia results. Nationally, the trend was also positive, with just below 95 percent of all households considered banked, a record number, and up from 93% in 2017. Read more details here from FDIC.


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Pushing for Fix on EIDL Advances/PPP Issue

GBA and others continue to press the Administration and Congress for a fix of the problem that’s arisen because EIDL Advances are treated as a loan as opposed to a grant, as intended, if the recipient is also a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) participant. A good letter from major national trade associations this week to the House and Senate leadership simply explains the problem and includes proposed solutions. “Lenders we represent are seeing firsthand the spreading awareness, shock and resentment among borrowers who believe they were deceived about the nature of the EIDL Advance. We do not believe it was the intent of Congress to effectively trap one million vulnerable small businesses with unexpected debt,” the letter says, in framing the issue. The full letter is worth a read, here.


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Slight Improvement in Regional Economy

A better labor market, growing retail sales and solid residential real estate demand and prices were highlights for the Southeast during the recent months, according to the Federal Reserve Beige Book out this week. Economic conditions remained below pre-COVID-19 levels, however. Read more details here.


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Check out the Value, Stability and Rewards of GBAIT

For more than 55 years the GBA Insurance Trust has been providing affordable, quality healthcare programs for GBA member banks. More than 17,000 participants are now covered by GBAIT-offered plans at 86% all Georgia-based banks. Check out these amazing facts about The Benefits of Trust.


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Please Welcome New GBA Bank Counsel Section Member Marcus Benning

We’re excited this week to introduce our Bulletin readers to the newest member of GBA’s Bank Counsel Section, Marcus Benning, associate attorney at Kitchens Kelley Gaynes, P.C., in Atlanta. Benning practices in the SBA Commercial Lending and Real Estate groups at KKG. Our thanks to Kate Stradtman, senior vice president, Cornerstone Bank, for sponsoring Bennings’ membership. You can find Benning’s contact info below. Please take a moment to drop him a welcome note when you have time to get to know him better.


Marcus Benning, Esq.

Kitchens Kelley Gaynes, P.C.



As a reminder, the GBA Bank Counsel Section was established for two purposes:

  • To identify the banking-related educational needs of attorneys representing GBA members

  • To help GBA provide networking opportunities for the large group of attorneys representing GBA members.

The Section is governed by the Bank Counsel Board of Directors, chaired this year by Reggie O’ShieldsFHLB Atlanta. See all current GBA Bank Counsel Section Members here. Please contact GBA's Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014, with questions.


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Women in Banking Series - Session 3 on Nov. 2 - “How to Help & Serve Your Customers in a Virtual World NOW & Seamlessly Transition Back to Business as Usual LATER”

Right now, your customers need you more than ever. But, what your customers want and expect from you now is radically different through this challenging time. You must differentiate yourself and your organization on the experience that your customers have, rather than simply the products and services you offer. And, when the storm has passed, how do you seamlessly and QUICKLY transition back to your everyday business practices? What will this difficult experience have taught us that makes us better, smarter, and more effective? And most importantly, how can you leverage new insights and changes to cement the bond with your customers for increased sales and loyalty? Join us on Nov. 2 for Session 3 of our Women in Banking Virtual Series, as speaker Kelly McDonald addresses -- and answers -- these challenging questions for challenging times. McDonald, a marketing and advertising specialist, is considered one of the nation’s top experts in consumer trends, generational differences and leveraging the customer experience. She is founder of McDonald Marketing, which has twice been named one of the Top Ad Agencies in the U.S. by Advertising Age magazine and ranked as one of the fastest-growing independently-owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.


Register now: Access the remaining four live sessions and a recording of our first two sessions. A big thank-you to our series sponsors - click here to see the complete list, along with info on all upcoming sessions. Contact Kathy Friestad with questions.


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Fall Webinars: Commercial Lending, Teller Skills, and Excel Training

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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Claxton - The Claxton Bank

Troy Poulin has been promoted to Vice President of Operations and Technology, Michelle Pollard has been promoted to Accounting Manager and ISO, and Tyler Gordon has been promoted Compliance Manager.


Cleveland - United Community Bank

Donald Harris has been promoted to City President of White County. Read more here.


Gainesville - United Community Bank

Mitch Ralston has been promoted to Commercial Lending Division Manager within the bank’s Hall County team. Read more here.


Rome - River City Bank

Andrew Williams has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Strategy. Read more here.


Suwanee - Quantum National Bank

John Bramblett has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Tami Stein has been promoted to Chief Credit Officer, and Tyler Phillips has been promoted to Chief Deposit Officer.


Atlanta - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE)

Candy Moore has joined the company’s board of directors. Moore is a Senior Vice President and Southeast Community Development Manager for Wells Fargo. Read more here.


Baton Rouge, LA - Graduate School of Banking at LSU

Dr. Mike Highfield has returned to GSBLSU as Vice President for Curriculum, following a brief absence from the school. Having worked with the school since 2011, Dr. Highfield will be an integral part of the planning for the 2021 session. John Naughton, who joined GSBLSU in 2019, has been named Interim Executive Director.









Williams Bramblett





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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