Oct. 9, 2020



Day and Wolverton Recognized for Leadership

Two member bankers have gotten significant recognition for leadership in the past couple weeks.


Citizens Trust Bank President and CEO Cynthia Day is recognized by Atlantan Magazine in the current edition as one of Atlanta’s top 25 most influential people. The article notes that under her leadership, the bank continues its legacy of economic equality and empowering its clients. “Day practices what Citizens Trust Bank Preaches - she’s involved with Aaron’s Inc. where she chairs the Audit Committee, the National Bankers Association and the Georgia Bankers Association,” the article says. Day is a past GBA Board Member. Read more here.


For the second year, Synovus Financial’s Liz Wolverton has been named to American Banker’s list of Most Powerful Women to Watch in Banking. Wolverton is the company’s chief strategy and customer experience officer. “Wolverton’s responsibilities are vast, as she oversees corporate strategy, marketing, digital initiatives, customer experience, and diversity and inclusion efforts at the $54 billion-asset Synovus. In March, she was tasked with leading an efficiency effort called Synovus Forward aimed at cost savings, revenue enhancements and improved customer experience with a target to produce $100 million in pretax income over three years,” the profile about her says. Read more here.


Related: GBA’s Women in Banking six-part virtual series continues Nov. 2 with a session about serving customers in a digital world. Register for the series to get access to the four remaining session and recording of the two prior sessions here.


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PPP Updates

Forgiveness Payments Coming, Modification Notice Requirements Clarified

There are a couple of breaking updates related to the Paycheck Protection Program. SBA informed lenders in a letter Tuesday that forgiveness decisions and remittances have begun. And, on Wednesday we heard from member bankers who got those notices and payments were being received. The SBA and Treasury Department also updated PPP FAQs to address borrower payment deferrals allowed by the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020. SBA and Treasury said the 10-month deferral of interest and fees allowed applies to all loans and that lenders should immediately notify borrowers of the change. They also noted that “SBA does not require a formal modification to the promissory note,” and that “a modification of a promissory note to reflect the required statutory deferral period under the Flexibility Act will have no effect on the SBA’s guarantee of a PPP loan.” We also continue to get clarification on SBA’s guidance out last Friday on borrower and lender expectations in change of control events. Rob Klingler with GBA associate member Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has been blogging about that. One specific area where Klingler has seen confusion is whether the procedural notice requires a buyer to assume all of the PPP borrower's obligations in an asset sale transaction and he answers that question in his most recent post. Access the FAQs here  Access Klingler’s Blog Post here.


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Brands and Ballots Webinar Oct. 13

How to Engage in Discussions around Political and Social Justice Issues

Member CEOs as well as executive and marketing teams will want to take part in a special GBA webinar next week presented by Associate Member Jackson Spalding. Banks, like many other companies, are faced with challenges about how to engage in political and social justice conversations, particularly since our industry has traditionally shied away from these conversations. Jackson Spalding’s Brian Brodrick, a bank board member and Watkinsville City Council member, will lead a panel discussion with experts from his firm, which represents some well-known brands like The Coca-Cola Company, Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Delta Air Lines and Primrose Schools. The webinar is Oct. 13 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Marketing officers, we’ve set up a peer group meeting for you as part of the package, which will be from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The webinar is $150 but there is no additional charge for the peer group meeting. Details and registration access here.


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Security Committee Checks In

It’s certainly been an unusual eight months in the lives of bank security officers, and GBA’s volunteer committee of security pros gathered virtually Wednesday to share best practices and market conditions, and to begin planning the 2021 Bank Security Conference. Led by Security Committee Chair Jennifer Whitmire, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, committee members reported in on how their banks and customers have adjusted to doing business during the pandemic. Many of the issues centered on strategies for ensuring safety and security of employees, lobby-opening status, the challenges of customers wearing masks for security protocols, how security officers have also been called on to take the lead on personal protective equipment sourcing and managing customer interactions. Other more “normal” activities also have taken priority for some banks such as coordinating security for new branches as well as preventing and investigating fraud. The 2021 Bank Security Conference will be April 15-16 at the King and Price Hotel, St. Simons. Go ahead and pencil it in on your calendar, and look for registration details and an agenda soon. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.217.1804


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Appeal Petition Granted in Case to Protect Rights of Acquirers of Bank Assets from FDIC

The 11th Circuit of Appeals has granted Renasant Bank’s petition to appeal a ruling by a federal district court that would limit protection of buyers of assets of banks in receivership from defenses based on facts not reflected in the records of the closed bank. In July, GBA joined the American Bankers Association in filing an amicus curiae brief with the court supporting the bank’s position. The underlying case involves Renasant’s acquisition of the assets of Crescent Bank. Renasant sought to apply the funds to a deposit account that had been pledged to secure a loan made to a borrower that had defaulted. The buyer of the original borrower’s assets in bankruptcy brought suit to disallow Renasant from applying the funds based on the fact that the borrower did not have proper authority to obtain the loan based upon its corporate documents. There was nothing in the file of the bank in receivership that would indicate this lack of authority, leaving the acquiring bank no way to ascertain that there was an issue with the loan. The district court ruled that the so-called D’Oench doctrine protecting buyers of assets does not extend to these circumstances. Here’s a link to the ruling granting the appeal.


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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 elected office. To that end, we ask that your bank participate in Georgia Bankers Democracy Days. We have some tools to help you encourage your team 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 flier 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 flier with quotations about voting from prominent Americans.

Sign up for GBA Democracy Days 2020 now…


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44th-Annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week Begins Next Week

Georgia's banking community and peanut production industry will join forces next week for the 44th annual celebration of all things peanut -- Georgia Peanut Bank Week. From Oct. 12-16, banks across the state will offer a tribute to Georgia’s 4,500 peanut farm families and the sustainability they provide to our state and local economies. The 2020 theme, “Georgia Peanuts. The Superfood to Bank On!” will showcase the affordability and nutritional power of the peanut. Participating banks have activities planned that include recipe contests, social media campaigns and peanut-farmer appreciation campaigns. If your bank is participating, please send Katina Prokos and David Oliver photos and details of activities so we can share them with others.


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‘Banks Never Ask That’ Campaign Off and Running

GBA and member banks are participating in a new major anti-phishing campaign. The industrywide 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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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. And, check out the progress of your GBA Group here. We appreciate all of our contributors and want to thank this week’s banks contributing to the GBA StatePAC:

  • Tandem Bank, Tucker, Charles DeWitt, President & CEO

  • The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro, Milton Gray, President & CEO

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

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

  • Tandem Bank, Tucker, Charles DeWitt, President & CEO

  • The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro, Milton Gray, President & CEO

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

  • Georgia Bankers Association, Joe Brannen, President & CEO

  • GBA Insurance Trust, Dan Thomason, President & CEO

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


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GBA State BankPAC Golf Classic - Sign Up Before Oct. 14 Deadline!

The GBA State BankPAC Golf Classic just two weeks away on Oct. 21, so be sure to sign up to play or sponsor the event by the Oct. 14 registration deadline. Invite your fellow bankers, directors, and legislators to join you for a relaxing afternoon on the golf course in support of GBA’s State BankPAC*. 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. A huge shout-out to these banks and associate members who are sponsoring the event: The Baker Group; Bank of Monticello; CASHTRANS; CenterState Bank; The Citizens Bank of Americus; The Claxton Bank; CSRA Business LendingEBSFHLB of AtlantaFirst National Bank; FNBBGreat Oaks BankHolmes Shaw Agency; Mauldin & Jenkins; MPA SystemsPoint to Point EnvironmentalPinnacle Bank; Securitas Financial ServicesServisFirst BankUnited Bank; and WIPFLIClick 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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New webinar!

Advanced 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. Learn more about this timely webinar covering all the changes here.



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Red Flags for COVID-19 Related Fraud - What You Need to Know from Abrigo

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, cases of related fraud continue to grow. Bad actors are poised and ready to use disasters, such as a pandemic, to steal money and/or personal information. As with many fraud trends, it is important to train front line staff in the red flags of COVID-19 fraud, as they have the most opportunity to interact with customers/members. GBA partner Abrigo recently shared a helpful blog post covering some key takeaways about combating COVID-related fraud. Jump to a section below to read more.

Related: Many of our member banks are still considering Abrigo’s Paycheck Protection Program forgiveness program. Even if we get relief on some segment of loans with a simplified forgiveness process, the platform gives the bank an automated system to replace the manual work being done now. With questions, contact Laura Wahl, 919.906.5649.


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Unbeatable Paper Offer from GBA Partner Office Depot - $22.48 per Case

We have a tremendous offer on a pallet of paper for GBA Members! This is an impossible-to-beat price for 40 cases of Office Depot® Xerographic Copy Paper, that works out to be around $22.48 per case. Please see details for ordering below. The offer is good through Oct. 24, 2020 (limit 4 pallets). If you have any questions, please contact GBA’s dedicated Office Depot rep Isaac Mares, isaac.mares@officedepot.com, 855.337.6811 x12878.


Office Depot® Xerographic Copy Paper, Letter Size

(8 1/2" x 11"), 92 (U.S.) Brightness

20 Lb, Ream Of 500 Sheets, 10 Reams Per Case

Pallet Of 40 Cases

At Checkout Enter Item #4929300345



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401(k) Testing Relief through Safe Harbor Design - Time to Review for 2021!

Is 401(k) testing limiting what your bank officers can contribute to your 401(k) Plan? Plans that guarantee a 100% match up to 4% of compensation or a 3% non-elective contribution (similar to a profit sharing contribution) can be exempt from ADP/ACP discrimination testing and even exempt from top-heavy testing depending on different factors. Employees must become immediately 100% vested in all safe harbor contributions. In addition, there is another safe harbor design that ends up with a 3.5% maximum annual match for participants, but has automatic enrollment features built in. The Master 401(k) Plan offered under GBA Retirement Services, Inc., is already set up to accommodate traditional and automatic enrollment safe harbor plans. Anyone electing safe harbor options for 2021 must decide by the end of October to allow time for the required amendments and participant notices. Now is a great time to make final decisions about your plan design for 2021. Benefits of the 401(k) plans offered through GBA Retirement Services include: competitive fees due to size of Master Trust, customized service from GBA staff, personalized managed account solution available for all participants, flexibility and performance of investments, and added oversight by having Unified Trust Company as a Discretionary Trustee of each Plan in the Trust. Let us help you review your current plan and compare to what GBA Retirement Services can do for you! Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information on safe harbor plans or for assistance in doing a periodic review and comparison of your retirement plan.


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Fall Webinars: How to Lead, Tax Return Analysis, and Excel

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:


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

The bank launched its 11th-annual Helping Fight Hunger initiative this October. Throughout the month of October, anyone can drop off nonperishable food items at designated collection boxes at Ameris Bank locations during business hours. All collected goods will then be donated to a local food bank. Read more here.

Newington - Bank of Newington

The bank sponsored the inaugural Pull for Kids Sporting Clays Tournament on Sept. 26.

Atlanta - U.S. Bancorp

The bank is hosting an event on Oct. 9 in Morrow to donate a vehicle to a veteran in need. Read more here.


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Albany - Colony Bank

Laurie Senn has joined the bank as senior vice president, director of loan operations.


Cairo - Former Cairo Banking Company and Former Citizens Bank

Our sympathy to his wife, Joy, the children, former banking colleagues and friends of Edgar Smith, who died this week. Read more here.


Dublin - Citizens Bank of Laurens County

The bank recently welcomed its 2021 Student Advisory Council, which is made up of seniors from Dublin High School, East Laurens High School, Trinity Christian School, and West Laurens High School.


Dublin - Community Bank of Dublin-Laurens County

Our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Bank President Chuck Harwell. Read more here.


Fernandina Beach, FL - Pineland Bank

On Aug. 5, Susan Sturges and Blair Jude helped another employee who had collapsed and was unresponsive. The ladies remained calm, called 911 and immediately started CPR. The employee who collapsed plans to return to work in the very near future.


Jonesboro - Heritage Southeast Bank

Ray Crook has joined the bank as vice president and Senior Credit Officer.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

Donna Wall has been promoted to lending officer/branch manager at the bank’s Lake Sinclair branch.


Newington - Bank of Newington

The bank recently celebrated bank director Mary Wilma Wells’ 97th birthday. She is pictured below with (from left): President/Co-CEO Tripp Sheppard, directors Margo Metts and Lynn Sheppard, and Chairman/CEO Harry Sheppard.


Peachtree Corners/Hiram - Piedmont Bank/WestSide Bank

Piedmont Bancorp, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Piedmont Bank, announced Tuesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire WestSide Bank. The deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both institutions and remains subject to WestSide shareholder approval and customary regulatory approvals. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Human Resources Assistant Candice Meeler was recently awarded the Golden Cupola for third quarter 2020. Golden Cupolas are awarded once each quarter to a bank team member who is nominated by their fellow teammates for maintaining a standard of excellence. OSB team members were also recently on-site at the bank’s new Corporate Headquarters location for the pouring of its foundation. Additionally, Mike Fulton, SVP Market Executive, has been selected to serve on the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for a two-year term (2021-2022).





Citizens Bank of Laurens County


Sturges and Jude




Meeler (right)


Oconee State Bank



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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