September 19, 2014
Judge Throws Out FDIC Suit Against N.C. Bank Directors and Officers
A U.S. district judge had some pointed words about the FDIC’s strategy to pursue claims of gross negligence and breach of fiduciary duty against former directors and officers in granting a summary judgment motion Sept. 10 in favor of bank defendants in an FDIC lawsuit. The case involved FDIC’s claims against the CEO and former officers and directors of Cooperative Bank, Wilmington, NC, which was closed in June 2009. “In sum, the FDIC claims that defendants were not only more prescient than the nation's most trusted bank regulators and economists, but that they disregarded their own foresight of the coming crisis in favor of making risky loans. Such an assertion is wholly implausible,” said U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle in his ruling. His decision states that the North Carolina business judgment rule precludes the court from getting involved in determining whether the decisions of the officers were good or bad calls if there’s no evidence of fraud, self-dealing or “any other unconscionable conduct that might constitute bad faith.” GBA Associate Member SNL Financial has a thorough article summarizing the case and likely implications, which includes mention of the recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling about the business judgment rule, linked with free access here. With questions for SNL Financial, contact Julie Jones, 434.951.4419.
Banks with extremely high capital levels shouldn’t have to do the costly, time consuming and complex calculations to prove their capital adequacy required by Basel III guidelines. That’s the position of GBA and a coalition of state bankers associations and the ABA, which is outlined in a proposal sent this week by the groups to Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg and Comptroller of the Currency Tom Curry. The proposal would exempt from the calculation requirements banks that have a common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 14 percent, measured by the Basel III definition of capital and the Basel I measures of assets that banks have been applying for many years. “It just doesn’t make sense for banks that have more than twice the regulatory capital minimum to go through the administrative hurdles to do complex evaluations, measurements and calculations that don’t provide any extra safety and soundness benefit or customer service,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO, who is on the task force working on the proposal. Here’s a link to the letter. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.
These can’t-miss conferences will be Oct.12-14 at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at a reduced rate of $169 per night for single or double occupancy. With questions, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010. Be sure and register today!
This Georgia Banker Wants to See You at The Annual Compliance Conference Next Week.
GBA's Compliance Conference is less than a week away and is sure to be a hit. With over a hundred bankers from all over the state already registered, we're expecting a big crowd of bankers at the conference. There is still time to sign up if you've been on the fence. We recently asked members of our Compliance Committee to share what they value about the GBA Compliance Conference, and got a ton of good feedback:
“The annual GBA Compliance Conference is a great opportunity to not only learn about the current hot topics in the industry, but also a way to network with other compliance professionals that are dealing with the same challenges. The roundtable sessions, which are one of my favorites, allow attendees to discuss the topics that are causing them the most concern and receive feedback from their peers on how they are handling similar issues. This year’s conference has many great speakers that will be addressing the current regulatory environment and equipping attendees with the knowledge on how to build better compliance programs within their institutions. Last year’s conference was one of the best conferences to date and I look for this year’s conference to be just as good. No matter your level of expertise as a compliance professional; this conference always provides a wonderful learning opportunity, as well as a venue to share ideas to make all of us in the profession better at what we do.” - Thomas Williams, GBA Compliance Committee Chair and SVP/Senior Compliance Manager, United Bank, Griffin
The Compliance Conference is Sept. 24-26 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. You may choose to register for the full conference, day 1 only (compliance risk management), or days 2 and 3 only (loans). Click here for more agenda details, hotel information and online registration. Contact Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024, with questions.
Regulations Piling Up, Hurting Credit, Jobs and Incomes, says Banker
Fifty-eight percent of banks have canceled or delayed a new product because of regulatory burden, and 44 percent have ended an existing product or service, said ABA Chairman Jeff Plagge during testimony to the Senate Banking Committee this week. The hearing, which we mentioned last week, featured bankers, regulators and consumer groups discussing the state of community banks. The reduction in current or new products “means less credit in our communities. Less credit means, fewer jobs, lower income for workers and less economic growth,” Plagge said in his testimony. Here’s a link to the full text.
There’s a new advocacy tool available to all GBA members that makes it easier than ever to tell our U.S. Senators and Representatives about issues bankers care about most. Available now to all bankers is a new Twitter map advocacy tool from ABA. The tool has ready-to-send messages about key issues that are easy to target and send to your specific member of Congress. Topics include regulatory burden, data security, the Farm Credit System and credit unions. It is available through Amplify, ABA’s free advocacy platform on which all bankers can create an account. “It only takes three clicks and no typing to send a message once you’ve logged in to your Amplify account, so this is a rapid-fire tool for members,” said Elizabeth Chandler, GBA’s SVP-Government Relations. You can tweet from the map using your personal Twitter account or from your bank’s feed as a business constituent. Here’s a direct link to the map.
Is 401(k) testing limiting what your bank officers can contribute to your 401(k) Plan? Plans that guarantee a 100 percent match up to 4 percent of compensation or a 3 percent 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 percent 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 2015 must decide by early November in order to allow time for the required amendments and participant notices. Now is a great time to make final decisions about your plan design for 2015. 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, ongoing investment education for participants, flexibility and performance of investments, and added oversight by having Reliance Trust Company as a 3(38) 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 or Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002 for more information on safe harbor plans or for assistance in doing a periodic review and comparison of your retirement plan. To see what our members are saying about our services, Click here to Watch our video.
Register Now for the Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic – Oct. 1
There’s still time to register for Leadership GBA’s thirteenth annual Georgia BankPAC Classic scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 1, at The Club at River Forest in Forsyth. Put together a team or two of bankers, directors, community leaders or even customers to share a round and talk about important banking issues. This two person scramble tournament is sure to be a fun and challenging event for everyone. Registration is $150 per person, $250 per team or $450 for a team and hole sponsorship ($100 savings!). The proceeds will be donated to the GBA StatePAC. To register, click here. Please call GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010 with questions about the tournament.
Great news to report this week! The GBA FedPAC has reached 70% of its goal while the GBA StatePAC has reached 67% - marking incredible progress in the last two weeks. Here’s a look at your GBA Group’s progress. As a reminder, the GBA StatePAC accepts contributions from a state bank or the holding company of a national bank while the GBA FedPAC accepts personal contributions from bank officers, directors and eligible employees. GBA Associate Members and Bank Counsel Members are also encouraged to contribute to the StatePAC. Here are the contribution forms for each PAC with suggested giving amounts for your use. See how your group has done so far this year. With questions, please contact Elizabeth Chandler at 404.420.2027. Thanks to those that have already made their contributions including these companies that contributed to the GBA StatePAC:
And to these officers, directors and eligible employees of the following banks for their individual contributions to the GBA FedPAC:
Georgia Peanut Bank Week is Just One Month Away
Banks across Georgia will be celebrating Georgia Peanut Bank Week, Oct. 18-25. During this time, banks in communities across the state are saluting peanut farmers’ contributions to the state and local economy during this weeklong event. The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with the Georgia Bankers Association, promotes Georgia’s official state crop by sponsoring Georgia Peanut Bank Week annually. Access resources from the Georgia Peanut Commission to help your bank participate...
In a landmark case, the courts and IRS have re-defined the "once-per-12-month" rule. Banks must know about this so their customers can avoid huge IRS tax and penalty pitfalls. At this seminar you will learn to separate fact from fiction for the more technical areas of IRAs. Too many times so-called experts post things on the internet that are vague or fabricated about retirement account rules and regulations. IRAs are a specialized area requiring expertise. Come and learn from one of the most respected IRA experts in the country, Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp., at GBA's seminar Sept. 25. The seminar will be at The Brickyard Golf Club in Macon. Please click here to register for the seminar. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
Examiners have a renewed interest in fair lending compliance, particularly for HMDA-reporting community banks. Banks are expected to implement fair lending compliance activities, including monitoring of lending policies, procedures and practices, loan personnel training, and second reviews of denied applications. Steve Moore, president of Bank Compliance Services, will provide an in-depth look at fair lending, including a detailed description of "side-by-side loan file analysis," common loan practices with potential fair lending effects, and other components of an effective fair lending program. GBA's Fair Lending seminar is scheduled for Sept. 30 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. If you're a compliance officer, compliance auditor or a loan officer, you can't afford to miss this one! To register, click here. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
Designed for Information Security Officers, Compliance Officers and network administrators, this seminar will highlight all the information you need to be a successful professional in this role. You will get a better understanding of the regulatory requirements and expectations, and we will define the internal roles and responsibilities including coordination with NetAdmin, reporting to the board of directors, leading the IT steering committee and the ISO's role in audits and examinations. Helpful checklists and white papers will be included. Registration is $225 for members and will be held at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. For more information or to register, click here. For personal assistance contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2015.
The FDIC Atlanta Region is pleased to announce the third installment of its Consumer Protection Workshop seminar series. This workshop is an interactive one-and-a-half-day event designed to provide information on current topics of interest and enhance knowledge of consumer protection laws and regulations. FDIC presenters and participants will include regional and local managers, regional specialists and compliance examiners. GBA and CBA are partnering with the FDIC Atlanta Regional Office to offer this informative workshop. This workshop is Oct. 29 and 30 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. See more info and download a registration flyer here. Contact Danielle Driggers, 404.420.2002, with questions.
GBA’s 2014 Financial Risk Management Conference is Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 4-5 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. GBA’s Asset/Liability Committee, host of the annual conference, has secured an excellent line-up of topics and speakers. Here is a snapshot: Keith Cureton, Global Compliance & Ethics at UPS, will discuss “Enterprise Risk Management”; Walt Moeling and Mark Kanaly will provide their annual “Regulatory Update”; Lilly Straith, Director of Revenue Enhancement Solutions with Fiserv, will discuss “Strategic Income Opportunities.” Highly sought after Chris Low, chief economist for FTN Financial, and Bloomberg’s “most accurate forecaster of Treasury note yields” in 2012, will provide an “Economic Update.” An expert panel, moderated by Stephen Weber, Ameris Bank, Moultrie, will discuss “Managing the Bond Portfolio under Threat of Rising Interest Rates.” The conference will close with the “Latest from the FASB for Banks: Recently Issued Standards and Major Projects,” presented by Sydney K. Garmong, Partner, Crowe Horwath, LLP, Washington, D.C. Click here to see details and for registration and hotel information.
Customer Onboarding, Construction Lending, Supervisor Skills Highlight September Webinars
A GBA Webinar is a great way to quickly get the training you need right from the comfort of your office. Here is a sample of upcoming offerings. Check the GBA-U Calendar of Events for any webinars you are interested in at www.gabankers.com.
Webinars are live and allow time for questions and answers. The $255 registration price gives you access to one web site "seat," one telephone site license and all handout materials. If you can't attend the webinar, you may buy the audio CD, handout materials and a password to see the session online. With questions, please contact GBA's Danielle Driggers at 404.420.2002.
Ag Lending, Law and Banking, Principles of Banking among October Courses
Below are the ABA Facilitated Online Training Courses coming up in October. These courses have weekly assignments as well as midterm and final exams. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access. Classes with an asterisk require Microsoft Excel Software. Please register two weeks in advance to secure a seat in the class. Employees of GBA member banks may register at the member rate. For more information, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.
As a trusted provider of elder abuse prevention programs in our nation's senior care facilities, people rely on GBA Strategic Partner the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation as a resource for information on a wide range of issues both inside and outside of a traditional long-term care setting. Their knowledge of the older American population and their challenges led them to produce the "Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Video Toolkit" which now gives your bank the ability to educate your family, your friends, those in your social organizations and your community at large on how to look for signs of elder financial abuse and how to prevent it. The toolkit includes:
The presentation is easy:
For more information about the Senior Housing Crime Prevention Foundation or ordering the Preventing Elder Financial Abuse Toolkit visit www.SHCPFoundation.org or call 877.232.0859.
Because it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one, focusing on customer retention is more than just a good idea - it's an imperative. As part of your customer retention efforts, don't overlook the amazing power of appreciation.Telling customers you appreciate their patronage boosts loyalty. But, combine a "thank you" with $1,000 in Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance coverage, and you could see your annual attrition drop significantly among participating customers. Affinion's Customer Appreciation program has been increasing customer retention among its clients for two decades. Endorsed by the American Bankers Association and the Georgia Bankers Association, the Affinion program provides a no-cost, no-risk opportunity to express your appreciation and earn ongoing fee income. Contact Bethany Armstrong for more information at 615.794.2356.
The Georgia Bankers Association offers free job posting resources for our member banks. These listings can be viewed online or through our print publication, the GBA Bulletin, mailed every other week. Resume postings are also available. For more information, please contact Kenyetta Parks at 404.420.2035.
GBA Members Have Been Hard at Work in Their Communities
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 Bo Brannen and David Oliver, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:
Atlanta - GBA and Members Meet the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Challenge
Congrats to the GBA staff team for completing the 2014 Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk and Fitness Challenge in downtown Atlanta last week. Participating from GBA were Kenyetta Parks, John Runnion, Edie Lindsay, Joe Brannen, Bo Brannen and Gino Lassiter. Produced by U.S. Olympian and running expert Jeff Galloway, the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program is a unique workplace-organized fitness promotion that culminates in a downtown Corporate 5K Run/Walk and Company Picnic. It annually attracts around attract 16,000+ participants from more than 400 Georgia companies as well as hundreds of individual participants. A portion of proceeds benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Back on My Feet and the Atlanta Braves Foundation. There were GBA member and Associate Member staff participating as well. SunTrust and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta were on hand and a big congratulations to Private Bank of Buckhead’s president and CEO Charlie Crawford who took the award for fastest CEO in the entire event!
Cartersville – Century Bank of Georgia
The bank is sponsoring a movie night out for families featuring Disney Planes on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Nathan Dean Sports Complex in Rockmart.
Columbus – Synovus
The bank is a proud supporter of Georgia Pre-K Week scheduled Oct. 6-10. The weeklong, statewide celebration brings together a diverse group of leaders and places them in Pre-K classrooms in all 159 counties. Georgia’s nationally recognized Pre-K program showcases how early education is making a difference for our children in our state.
Griffin – United Bank
The bank is proud to be a sponsor for Promise Place’s Run the Ridge 10k and 5k on Oct. 11 in Meansville. Promise Place works to prevent domestic violence through awareness programs, educational training and providing safe environments for the victims and their families, utilizing legal advocacy, emergency shelters and transitional housing.
Marietta – Highland Commercial Bank
The bank and Iron Mountain Document Destruction, Inc. will host a free, secure document shred day on Saturday, October 4, 2014. The event will be held at the bank’s Marietta office – 3411 Ernest Barrett Parkway, Marietta, GA 30064.
Peachtree City – The Bank of Georgia
The bank recently hosted a well-attended business networking breakfast at its main branch. See photos from the event here…
Statewide – Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), South State Bank and PNC Bank
South State Bank and PNC Bank recently made donations of $10,000 each, to help support Associate Member, ACE’s Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurs (WISE) initiative. The contribution will help ACE provide access to capital and business advisory services for our targeted populations of women, minorities, and low-income entrepreneurs.
Your company can sponsor this GBA content to help promote how GBA members provide extensive support for communities around the state. Contact David Oliver for information.
Here are some alternative definitions we ran across this week we thought were kind of funny. Have a good weekend, everyone.
If you have some business-appropriate humor you’d like us to consider sharing, send it to David Oliver and Bo Brannen.
Athens – First American Bank & Trust
Elbert N. “Bert” Whitmire, III has joined the bank’s Board of Directors and the Board of its holding company, First American Bancorp.
Atlanta – SunTrust Bank
Blairsville - United Community Bank
J. Frayne Bentley has joined the bank as SBA Business Development Officer. Adam Hart has joined the bank as Vice President, Regional Sales Manager. Padraic Robertson has joined the bank as the Savannah market manager. Sarah Arcanti joins the bank as a Loan Processor. Greg Wood has joined the bank as a Senior Mortgage Underwriter. Jodi Lewis,has joined the bank as Mortgage Loan Originator Assistant.
Cuthbert – First National Bank of Randolph County
Our sympathies to President and CEO Charlie Curry whose mother, Martha Brooks, recently passed away. On a happier note, Curry's stepfather, Ennis Brooks, celebrated his 100th birthday last week.
Doraville - First Intercontinental Bank
The bank has completed a $6 million common stock offering and repaid its TARP obligations.
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 Bo Brannen.