Sept. 18, 2020

Advocacy Opportunity

Speak up to Support PPP Forgiveness Standalone Bill

Congress seems to be at an impasse for now on a coronavirus relief bill, so we’re asking GBA members to engage with your member of Congress to support a standalone bill to streamline PPP forgiveness. There are bills in the House and Senate for consideration, H.R. 7777 and S.4117. The bipartisan bills would provide a streamlined forgiveness process for borrowers that received loans of $150,000 or less. Here’s an easy way to contact our Senators and your House member.


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GBA Insurance Trust Board Meets Next Week

We’re looking forward to the regular quarterly meeting next week of the GBA Insurance Trust Board of Directors. Led by Rick Whaley, Citizens Bank of Americus, these nine community bankers oversee the employee benefit program trusted by 86% of Georgia’s banks. Founded 55 years ago by bankers, for bankers, the Trust offers options that fit each bank’s needs. With more than 17,000 people insured, the Trust takes the individual bank risk off the table so you’re not being rated based on your own bank’s experience or risking funding your own bank’s claims. The rates are well below the market because the Trust has no profit motive. And with almost $65 million in reserves and other assets, in 2019, the Trust used 96 cents of every premium dollar for claims expense. That’s unheard of in the insurance marketplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous uncertainty in the economy and especially in the healthcare business. Fortunately for bankers, the GBA Insurance Trust was well-prepared and will continue to avoid wild swings in the market like we’ve seen with other insurance plans. There’s no better example than today when our history and your Trust continue to reward your participation.


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GBA Retirement Services Board Meets Next Week

We’re looking forward to the regular quarterly meeting next week of the GBA Retirement Services Board of Directors. Led by Chuck Copeland, First National Bank of Griffin, these nine community bankers oversee the employee retirement benefit program trusted by over one third of Georgia’s community banks. The 401(k) program was added to the Pension Trust in 1987 and has continued to see growth and evolvement over the years. The Board meets regularly with the discretionary trustee and investment manager of the Trust, Unified Trust Company, to review the investments we offer and ensure we offer a top-notch, high quality, low cost 401(k) option for plans of all sizes. Through this volatile year in the stock market, the conservative investment approach taken by Unified Trust has protected participants’ retirement accounts, particularly those near retirement. A managed account option is used by over 90% of the 3,000 participants in the Master Trust, ensuring that participants are well diversified and have proper guidance to succeed in retirement. With assets approaching $200 million, being a part of the GBA Master Trust allows smaller plans, including plans of banks, associate members and bank clients, to gain buying power for an effective 401(k) solution for participants.


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FDIC to Restore DIF, Issue Assessment Credits

There’s some good news out of the FDIC this week related to FDIC assessments. First off, FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams outlined a plan to restore the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) to its required 1.35% minimum. The plan would restore the fund from its 1.3% level on June 30 of this year within eight years, and it would keep the current assessment rates for all banks. “We project the reserve ratio would return to a level above 1.35% without any increase to the deposit insurance assessment rate schedule,” McWilliams said. She did, however, note that the FDIC will closely monitor the fund and may adjust the plan as needed. More details here. In related news, the FDIC elected to move ahead with assessment credits accrued by some banks with less than $10 billion in assets while recapitalizing the DIF from 2016-2018. Credits totaling $5.8 million will be paid to 190 banks by the end of September. Full details here.


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GBA Member Profile

How the Air Force and Gas Station Experience Relates to Banking with Rick Basinger

Rick Basinger, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Bank in Lavonia, used to wake up early with his grandfather in Washington, GA, to help out at his Amoco service station, which was a local hangout. “At that age I called it work, but I was probably more in the way,” Basinger said. “What I took from there was the ability to greet people, give a solid handshake and communicate.” After learning the value of respect and service to others, he later found himself drawn to a career in banking. An At Large member on GBA’s Board of Directors, Basinger discusses his time as an Air Force weapons mechanic, plans to share his expertise on GBA’s Board and growing together with his wife and children and more in his GBA member profile.


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Last Call for Virtual D.C. Fly-In Sept. 21-24

Any GBA members may make a last-minute registration to join their colleagues from across the state and the southeast for ABA’s Virtual Washington Fly-In, Sept. 21-24. Briefings are set with the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve, CFPB, SBA/Treasury and ABA on the key issues facing our industry. Because of Federal Reserve rules, access to that session is closed for now, but new registrants will be able to attend the sessions with the other agencies and ABA. Get details about each day’s agenda and register here. We will share additional information to those registered before the briefings. With questions, contact GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893.


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Inspiring Message from ABA Chair Laurie Stewart Kicked Off Women in Banking Series

More than 300 bankers and associate members in 15 different states gathered virtually Tuesday for the first of six sessions in the Women in Banking Virtual Series, a joint GBA and North Carolina Bankers Association program we opened up to bankers nationwide. In her message, “Try, Try Again,” ABA Chair Laurie Stewart, president & CEO of Sound Community Bank in Seattle, spoke of resilience and personal and professional genuineness, while stressing that although she, “is not special and not from privilege,” she engaged her passion and willingness to take risks to achieve her goals. Citing a favorite inspirational quote from Benjamin Franklin, “When you are finished changing, you are finished,” Stewart encouraged participants to act outside the box and with an entrepreneurial spirit to make things happen their lives. Stewart also touched on her dedication to bank-related advocacy and legislative issues and her ongoing efforts to create greater diversity in her bank and on her board. A huge shout-out to our series sponsors – click here to see the complete list. It was an excellent start to our series, and we hope you’ll join us for Session 2 on Oct. 1. Contact Kathy Friestad with questions. 


Next up in the series: Dr. Melissa Furman on Managing Leading and Coping During Uncertain Times, and special peer networking breakout sessions, on Oct. 1.


Register now: Access the remaining five live sessions and a recording of Stewart’s session. Recordings of all sessions are available.


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GBA Executive Strategy Tri-Conferences – We’re Ready!

With just a little over two weeks until the Executive Strategy Tri-Conferences (President/CEO, Bank Accountant, and Bank Counsel), Sept. 27-29 at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee, we’re putting the finishing touches on our planning. The three host committees - the Community Bankers, Bank Accountant Section, and the Bank Counsel Section Board, have put together an excellent program and we’ve got a great group of folks coming. Click here to see detailed conference agendas. Of course, the conference will look different due to COVID-19, and we are in close partnership with the hotel to ensure a clean, comfortable meeting environment (see the Ritz’s updated Commitment to Cleanliness document). Meetings will be in fully-expanded function space to allow for ample spacing between attendees at tables and in between tables. Masks are required by the Ritz and will be required of our attendees. Hand sanitizer will be readily available, and spacing-reminder floor stickers will be in place by the hotel. We will hold our Sunday Welcome Dinner in an indoor/outdoor environment and steps will be in place for safe venue ingress/egress, food and beverage service, and seating. Watch for an email early next week about reserving seats at a table for the dinner (6 max/table). We will count on attendees to make responsible choices about social distancing and face coverings when networking, out of respect for fellow attendees, their families and those not attending GBA events they’ll come in contact with when they return home. A sincere thank-you to our event sponsors: EBSElliott DavisFHLB AtlantaMcNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co., LLC; and ServisFirst Bank. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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HR Committee Huddles

Georgia bank HR pros have been juggling their fair share of different and unusual challenges in the past six months. The GBA Human Resources Committee met virtually this week to share intel about key issues, best practices and to begin planning for programs to help peer HR officers in the coming year. Big topics were keeping morale high, evaluating raises and salary adjustment plans to account for pandemic-related work, staffing flexibility for employees and families with school and healthcare needs, recruiting and onboarding when you can’t meet in person and a host of other items. Committee Chair Valerie Pendergast, Metro City Bank, Atlanta, led the meeting, with input from Vice Chair Tonia Brooks, Citizens Bank of the South, Sandersville. The committee also welcomed new members, Lisa Cosper, Georgia Community Bank, Albany, and Julia Shadwick, Pineland Bank, Alma. The committee developed an outline for the 2021 HR Professionals Institute, which will be March 24-26, at the King & Prince, St. Simons. Look for details about the program and registration information soon. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


Related Resource

Compensation Planning Season Calls for 2020 Banking Compensation Report

As those of you with compensation planning responsibilities head into budget season, make sure to have handy the 2020 Georgia Banking Compensation Report. Our survey summary provides the most detailed data on banking compensation and pay practices available today. The report also presents key policies and practices metrics covering salary administration, short-term and long-term incentive plan design, average turnover rates, mortgage originator compensation and plan design, and commercial loan officer compensation and plan design. With your report purchase, you receive the Georgia Banking Compensation Report, the National Banking Compensation Report and each report’s results in Excel. The survey participant price is $150, and the non-participant price is $595. We also offer a regional five-state South Atlantic Banking Survey, so please ask about bundle pricing. Email Rhonda Snyder at to purchase and receive the report.


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Marketing Committee Checks In, Plans Programs

Our brain trust of Georgia Bank marketing professionals gathered late last week by video conference to begin program planning for the next year. Led by committee Chair Lorenda Smith, First National Bank, Bainbridge, Marketing Committee members checked in on a variety of top-of-mind topics. Some of the more pressing issues included efforts to stay connected in the community when meetings and events are curtailed, similar concerns about limited client outreach and customer care, best practices for virtual meetings, the challenge of developing new products, services and campaigns and more. Andrea Griffin of First National Bank of Griffin is the committee vice chair, and the committee welcomed new members Whitney Miller, Morris Bank, Dublin; Brooks Mathis, Greater Community Bank, Rome; Haley Barnes, Commercial Banking Company, Valdosta; and Dan Duchnowski, Planters First Bank, Cordele. Preliminary plans are underway for a peer group meeting in the fall and an in-person conference in the spring. Stay tuned for details. With questions or program suggestions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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2020 BankPAC Campaign Has Successful Week!

The response to the 2020 BankPAC Campaign continues with a lot of enthusiasm from across the state! Campaign materials were mailed to all CEOs and are also easily accessed on the BankPAC page of GBA’s website. Much appreciation and thanks go to this week’s banks contributing to the GBA StatePAC:

  • Century Bank of Georgia, Cartersville, Rick Drews, CEO

  • Community Bank of Georgia, Baxley, Kelly Stone, President & CEO

  • First Peoples Bank, Pine Mountain, Charles Sweat, President & CEO

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

  • Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Jackson McConnell, CEO

  • Thomasville National Bank, Stephen Cheney, CEO

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

  • AB&T, Albany, Luke Flatt, Chairman, President & CEO

  • Ameris Bank, Palmer Proctor, President & CEO

  • Great Oaks Bank, Eastman, Mike Odom, CEO

  • The Piedmont Bank, Peachtree Corners, Monty Watson, Chairman & CEO

  • TC Federal Bank, Thomasville, Matt Brown, CEO

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


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Get Out on the Clubs for a Great Cause - BankPAC Golf Classic is Oct. 21 in Forsyth

There’s a hint of fall in the air, and that means we’re getting closer to Leadership GBA’s Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic. This annual fundraiser for the GBA StatePAC* will be on Oct. 21 at the River Forest Club in Forsyth. Invite your customers, directors, and legislators to spend a relaxing day with you and your banking colleagues. 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: CSRA 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, 404.420.2024.


* 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

The Key to Greater Efficiency and Effectiveness

We are living in one of the most difficult times in American History. There is a major pandemic, financial and social unrest and a politically divided country to name a few things. Along with those challenges, there are new and different problems to solve in your business, mounting financial pressures, competition for market share, changing government regulations, customer satisfaction demands and the challenge of maintain employee engagement. One of the most important things each of us can do is to grow our self-leadership. Andre’ Kennebrew, Principal Program Lead with Chick-fil-A’s Leadership Development Program, will discuss the importance of self-leadership including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, priority setting, developing your mindset, and character development among other things. In this presentation, Andre’ will discuss how Self-Leadership has impacted his life and career and how it can have an impact on you. We're working closely with the hotel to ensure a clean, comfortable environment with well-defined steps for keeping people healthy. We'll set up sessions and activities to ensure as much social distancing as possible, the hotel requires masks in public areas and we strongly encourage our members to wear masks as much as possible. See the full agenda here and secure your spot by registering here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau. Hope to see you in October!


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New offering!

GBA Webinar: 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. Eastern Time). 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 Jenna Lynn Warner.


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GBA Partner John M. Floyd & Associates

How to Achieve Optimal Revenue Results, Pandemic or Not

How will you ensure your overdraft solution contributes to service improvements and future growth? As the industry settles into a new normal—complete with unique operational challenges and service expectations—it’s more important than ever to implement tools and resources that can boost your performance results. Click here for some tips from Ron Jennings, Executive Vice President of National Sales & Alliances with GBA partner John M. Floyd & Associates (JMFA) to help you offer more value to your account holders and achieve your revenue goals. Learn more about JMFA here and visit their both in our Virtual Trade Show here.


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September Webinars: Call Reporting, TRID, Opening Trust Accounts and more!

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


Save 10-30% with a subscription packagedetails 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.



Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Keith Flynn has joined the bank as director of treasury services. Michael Coady has joined the bank as retail director. Read more here. Cameron Nixon has also joined the bank team as Augusta market president. Read more here.


Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

President and CEO Cynthia Day was selected by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of its 2020 Women Who Mean Business honorees.


Atlanta - Hyperion Bank

Kaileigh Conley has joined Hyperion Mortgage as a support specialist.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

The bank recently announced it had signed an agreement to sell its Thomaston branch located at 206 North Church Street to the bank holding company for SouthCrest Bank, N.A. Read more here.


Greenville, S.C. - United Community Bank

Chris Willman has joined the bank as senior vice president, commercial real estate relationship manager.


Pooler - Queensborough National Bank & Trust

The bank recently broke ground on its 27th staffed location, located at 1559 Pooler Parkway. Read more here.


Atlanta - Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

Chief Marketing Officer Sharon Cook was selected by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of its 2020 Women Who Mean Business honorees.


Washington, D.C. - Federal Reserve Bank

Trevor Reeve has been appointed as director of the Division of Monetary Affairs. Read more here.









Queensborough National
Bank & Trust




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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