Sept. 4, 2020

Sweet Seventh Straight Top State for Business Ranking

Georgia has been named the “Top State for Doing Business” for the seventh year in a row by Area Development magazine. The executive publication’s annual poll of nearly fifty leading site consulting firms from across the U.S. weighs 13 different factors to make this determination. In addition to Top State, Georgia earned a No. 1 ranking in the category of cooperative and responsive state government. Georgia ranked No. 1 in 10 of 13 categories rated by the magazine. The state placed in the top five in the other three categories, including access to capital and project funding. Read more details here.


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GBA Member Profile

Community Service an Integral Part of Banking Career with Kristin Hanlon

Kristin Hanlon, vice president, credit administration at OneSouth Bank in Macon, started her career as an accountant but found herself wanting to become a banker as a service occupation with the ability to move businesses forward. “Through our careers as community bankers, we are able to serve others through helping our customers achieve their dreams, but also by engaging in a long record of giving back to our communities through charitable and community service,” Hanlon said. The love of giving back and serving her community applies to life outside of the bank, too, as she was recently elected to the Bibb County Board of Education. “It almost seems like an adjunct of my banking career. Community schools bind communities together, and a community is only as strong as its public school system,” she said. Hanlon talks about her early work experiences as a cashier at Winn-Dixie, the strong work ethic her parents instilled in her and more in her GBA member profile.


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Plan Now for Georgia Banking and Compliance Schools, May 2-7

There will definitely be a 2021 session of the Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School. That’s the clear message coming out of meetings of the volunteer bankers serving on the Georgia Banking School Board and GBA Compliance School Board in the past two weeks. The sessions will be May 2-7 in Athens. We’re doing some minor tweaks to curriculum that students are sure to enjoy, and we’re making some contingency plans for modified in-person sessions or a quality virtual experience in the event the pandemic persists into next May. So, with budget season upon us, here are some action items to consider:

  • CEO action - Identify emerging talent and allocate budget so you can have a representative at each school

  • HR officer action - Take a look at specific development plans to identify candidates

  • Alumni action - Recruit your teammates or colleagues at other banks by sharing how the programs helped your career

  • Banker action - Enroll early, you will be able to adjust registration if necessary based on public health restrictions or program changes.

Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here

GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here


Banking School Board meeting
virtual participants

Banking School Board meeting
in-person participants


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Resources for Rural and Agriculture Lenders, Support Program for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Coming

The USDA this week published a handy resource outlining all of the COVID-19 resources it has available. It’s in a matrix form with links to details about each. There’s also a helpful cumulative summary of federal assistance for rural borrowers and lenders, which includes links to detailed information. In other agribusiness news, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce today released a report outlining the plan to address the threat posed by increased foreign imports to American producers of seasonal and perishable fruits and vegetables. Blueberries, strawberries and bell peppers are among the crops specifically mentioned that are threatened by significant imports. Read details here.


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Deadline to Secure ELT Service for Motor-Vehicle Liens is Oct. 1

The Georgia Department of Revenue asked us to remind lenders that lienholders—including “buy-here-pay-here dealers”—must register with an ELT service provider and obtain an ELT number before securing any liens on or after Oct. 1. For car purchases made on or after Oct. 1, the dealer will not be able to apply for the title unless the lender to be listed as a lienholder is registered with an approved vendor. The ELT number must be provided on the title application prepared and submitted through the Georgia Electronic Title and Registration (ETR) system by the motor vehicle dealer or, if the dealer is eligible to so file, submitted to the local county tag office. Read more details here.


Related: GBA’s endorsed provider of DOR-approved ELT services is DDI Technology. The company provides ELT services to 147 banks in Georgia. Contact DDI’s Todd Phillips, 803.808.4937.


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GBA's Advocacy Team

GBA’s Advocacy Team Honored

State legislators and government relations professionals have again recognized GBA as being among the top business and trade associations in the James Magazine annual Top Lobbyists issue. “GBA’s recognition is a testament to the credibility, reliability and effectiveness of GBA’s team -- Elizabeth Chandler, Joe Brannen and Steve Bridges. They listen to our members, identify ways to help and issues to challenge, and have a strong working relationship with those serving in the state’s executive, legislative and judicial branches of government,” said GBA Chairman Spence Mullis, Morris Bank, Dublin. Brannen was recognized among the top individual lobbyists, and Brannen and Chandler are members of the magazine’s lobbyist hall of fame.


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Ad Highlights Georgia Banking’s COVID Response

GBA targeted an advocacy message to legislators and government relations pros in the September/October issue of James Magazine. The ad details how Georgia banks have responded to the unprecedented public health crisis by being ahead of the curve in helping Georgia families and businesses. See the full ad here.


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Unique Opportunity for All Members - Sept. 21-24

Virtual Advocacy “Fly-In” Features Detailed Policy Briefings

Please join your colleagues from across the state and the southeast for ABA’s Virtual Washington Fly-In, Sept. 21-24. During this virtual forum, you’ll hear from ABA policy experts and senior officials from the FDIC, OCC, Federal Reserve, and the CFPB on the key issues facing our industry. “This is everyone’s chance to experience the deep-dive policy briefings we get each year during our annual Washington visit in May,” says GBA Chairman Spence Mullis, Morris Bank, Dublin. “Sign up for this so we’ll have a big Georgia crowd.” Regardless of whether you are an ABA member, everyone is welcome. Get details about each day’s agenda and register here. We will share additional information to those registered before the briefings. With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.372.7893.


Related: Submit questions or issues you’d like to hear addressed in advanced by taking part in the Banker Priority Feedback Survey in preparation for the briefings.


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Mixed Regional Economic News

Residential real estate strengthened and labor markets improved modestly, but tourism and hospitality activity remained soft in the Southeast through late August, said the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book out this week. Manufacturing activity accelerated somewhat, and banks reported slower loan growth and higher reserves. Ag conditions were described as generally weak. Read more here.


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2020 BankPAC Campaign Rolls into September

The momentum in the 2020 BankPAC Campaign continued this past week. CEOs should have received the 2020 BankPAC Campaign materials which are also easily accessed on the BankPAC page of GBA’s website. We appreciate contributors and want to thank this week’s banks contributing to the GBA StatePAC: 

  • First Bank of Pike, Molena, John Barker, president and CEO

  • Flint Community Bank, Albany, Scott Tomlinson, president and CEO

  • Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Jackson McConnell, CEO

  • Wells Fargo, Chad Gregory, regional president - South Metro Atlanta / West Georgia.

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

  • AB&T, Albany, Luke Flatt, president and CEO

  • American Pride Bank, Macon, John Hall, president and CEO

  • Ameris Bank, Atlanta, Palmer Proctor, CEO

  • First Port City Bank, Bainbridge, Scott Ewing, president and CEO

  • Flint Community Bank, Albany, Scott Tomlinson, president and CEO

  • Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Jackson McConnell, CEO

  • Piedmont Bank, Peachtree Corners, Monty Watson, chairman and CEO

  • The Citizens Bank of Americus, Rick Whaley, president and CEO

  • The Peoples Bank, Eatonton, Ken Barber, CEO

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FHLBank Atlanta 2020 Election of Directors

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta is conducting an election to fill two member directorships, one independent directorship, and one public interest independent directorship on its board of directors. Eligible institutions in North Carolina and Virginia will vote to fill the member directorship in their respective state, and eligible institutions across the Bank’s footprint will vote to fill the independent directorship and the public interest independent directorship. All elected directors will serve four-year terms that begin on Jan. 1, 2021. The FHLBank Atlanta board of directors has nominated the following individual for the independent directorship:

  • Edwina L. Payne, senior vice president, Technology Strategy and Enterprise Portfolio, for McKesson Corporation in Alpharetta, GA

The FHLBank Atlanta board of directors has also nominated the following individual for the public interest independent directorship:

  • Kim D. Saunders, director, president and chief executive officer of the National Bankers Association in Washington, D.C.

Your institution’s vote is important and the bank encourages you to participate in the election. An independent director nominee must receive at least 20 percent of the votes eligible to be cast to be elected. The deadline for the bank to receive completed ballots is
5 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, Sept. 23. If you have any questions about the 2020 director election, contact Tina Carew, Associate General Counsel, at 404.888.8549 or


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Compliance Conference, Oct 21-23, Buford

Hemp Banking Update among Compelling Sessions

Set for a new location (beautiful Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge, Buford), this year’s conference is packed with updates and information compliance professionals need during these unprecedented times. We are excited to have Oscar "Bo" Fears III, deputy commissioner of Consumer and Legal Affairs at Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, with us to talk about Banking Hemp. He will discuss the legal risks and other considerations in banking hemp growers, processors, and retailers. 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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Women in Banking Virtual Series

Early Bird Deadline Ends Friday - Sign Up Now to Save $50 Per Person!

OK, Georgia female bankers, we now have more than 200 people signed up for the Women in Banking Virtual Series: Conversations and Connections for Empowerment, our upcoming series of six live virtual sessions kicking off on Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. What are you waiting for? Gather your teammates and reserve your seat - and save $50 per registrant by signing up before midnight Friday night. Registration is per person, includes all six sessions and optional peer networking, and a discount is available when three or more register from your bank/company. And don’t forget, sessions will be available on-demand if you miss any along the way. We’re all looking for ways to really connect in these virtual times, so we’ve got time built in after each speaker presents for either Q&A with the speaker or peer networking with your colleagues from around the country.


New Feature - Connections App: Registrants will be able to interact with each other through the series connections app, which registrants will be able to download next week (we’ll send you an email). The app will not only feature important info like the attendee list, Zoom tips and speaker materials, it will create an avenue for you to connect with other attendees through the messaging feature and social wall. Plus, we’ll host some fun social wall competitions during the series, so you’ll want to check the app regularly to engage and for a chance to win a prize. Contact Kathy Friestad with questions.


Register Here


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Hurry - prices increase Sept. 8 and seats are limited!
Loan Documentation Seminar in Macon - Sept. 16

Our in-person seminar designed to help your bank prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is coming up Sept. 16 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. There are limited seats remaining, so register now for this popular offering. A faculty member of the Georgia Banking School with more than 35 years of industry experience, Mike Allen of Cadence Bank will address a range of documentation topics including real estate specifics and residential construction lending. Commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists alike will benefit from this seminar. Click here to register. With questions, contact Jenna Lynn Warner.


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GBA Member Exclusive Webinar, Sept. 17, 11 a.m.

Georgia-Specific Spending Trends Tracked in Special Report

Our friends at GBA Associate Member Fiserv have put together a special edition of their SpendTrend® Report for GBA Members. The Fiserv team will share current data on consumer spending in Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiserv has seen a wide-ranging impact on consumer spending behavior in Georgia, with the trajectory of spending trends hinting at significant shifts in banking and payments activity. Fiserv’s Glenn Fodor, SVP Data & Analytics, will explore each sector to help you understand and assess the economic impact of this unprecedented situation on your customers and your bank. Register here at no cost.


Related: Visit Fiserv’s Virtual Trade Show booth here to learn more about the company and enter to win an Amazon Gift Card!


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Virtual Trade Show Extended through 2020, Still Chances to Connect with Associate Members and Win

Earlier this summer, GBA launched a virtual trade show to coincide with the first ever Hometown Edition of our Annual Meeting, and we are extending the trade show through the remainder of 2020. If you haven’t had a chance to visit our virtual trade show, you can do that here. If you have any questions, please contact Director of GBA Member Services Bo Brannen at Of course, no trade show, even a virtual one, would be complete without some fun giveaways. Thanks to the virtual exhibitor below who gave away a fun prize earlier this summer. There are still some great prizes up for grabs, so don’t miss out on your chance to connect and win. Visit the trade show today!


Virtual Exhibitor



Ron Mitchell

Susan Moss

Planters and Citizens Bank

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GBA Tri-Conferences

Catch This Update on Dinner Reservations, Room Block, and Sunday Night Event!

Our numbers for the in-person President/CEO, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant Conferences continue to grow, and we’re getting excited about welcoming you Sept. 27-29 at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee. Check out the now-finalized detailed agendas for all three conferences. If you’re new to the Tri-Conferences, note that attendees from all three conferences may attend the General Sessions; in addition, there are sessions exclusively for Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant attendees. In last week’s bulletin we shared steps we’re taking in partnership with the Ritz to make you safe; click here for a newly updated Commitment to Cleanliness information from the Ritz. When thinking about dinner plans for Monday night, the free night during the Tri-Conferences, be sure to heed restaurant hours and reservations requirements in effect at most Ritz outlets, as noted in the document. Make your plans early if you plan to eat on-site. If you haven’t registered yet, please note that the GBA room block is now full. We recommend you go ahead and register for the conference, and email GBA’s Kathy Friestad to be put on the room waitlist. GBA is in touch daily with the Ritz, and with inventory constantly changing, we hope to accommodate everyone. Lastly, several of you have emailed asking just how we’re planning to handle the Sunday Welcome Dinner. We’re working with the hotel on those plans now, and will be sending an email to all registrants early next week explaining just what you can expect from that opening event. Spoiler alert! We’re looking forward to an indoor/outdoor dining experience in The Pavilion, with a plated meal and space to socialize after dinner on the Flagstone Patio. Also, to reserve your spot for Monday afternoon golf outing ($153) or sporting clays shooting at Old Hudson Plantation ($270), email Kathy Friestad. Thank you to our event sponsors: EBSFHLB of AtlantaMcNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co., LLC; and ServisFirst Bank.


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Use GBA’s Holiday Closing Decals in 2021, Place Your Orders Early!

With the way things have been going in 2020, it’s actually kind of nice sometimes to look ahead and think about 2021! Keeping that in mind, you can make plans now to use GBA’s Holiday Closing Decals in your branches next year. We’ve recently connected with the banks on our standing order list to confirm each order. If you need to check the quantity or status on your bank’s order or if you want to place a new order, contact Bo Brannen,, 404.420.2014. For more than 25 years, the GBA has been the preferred source for banks to purchase top-quality, thoughtfully designed window and door decals that provide a professional appearance and communicate the 10 holiday closings recognized by the Federal Reserve Bank in accordance with FDIC rules. The decals can brighten up your bank's front door or teller window with a variety of holiday-themed scenes. GBA Holiday Closing Decals feature:

  • A unique decal for each holiday

  • Large 6"x 9" size to maximize visibility

  • No messy adhesive for easy removal and reapplication

  • All-weather durability

  • An extra, blank decal for unplanned closings like inclement weather.

Prices are $35 per set: 1-5 sets; $32 per set: 6-10 sets, $30 per set: over 10 sets.


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Financial Risk Management Conference (Nov. 5-6)

Session Spotlight: Investment Panel

Registration is open for the GBA 2020 Financial Risk Management Conference, Nov. 5-6 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. The committee is putting the final touches on the agenda, so watch upcoming GBA e-Bulletins for more details. Here's one of the sessions in store:


Session Spotlight: Investment Panel

A trio of investment pros from some of the leading firms serving banks nationwide will share insight, analysis and best practices for solidifying your bank’s investment portfolio and strategies.


Moderator: Holt Redding, VP, Controller, South Coast Bank

Howard Benz, Head of Fixed Income Portfolio Strategies, Raymond James

Tom Fitzgerald, SVP-Director Fixed Income Strategy & Research, CenterState Bank NA

Ryan Hayhurst, Managing Director, The Baker Group


We're working closely with the hotel to ensure a clean, comfortable environment. See the hotel’s protocols, 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. Register now. With questions, contact Alison Moreau. Hope to see you in November!


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Early September Webinars: Audit Reporting, Garnishment Update, TRID 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 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.

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:


Dublin - Morris Bank

The bank donated the proceeds from its annual Shamrock Your Ride event to the Dublin Laurens Habitat for Humanity to support the construction of its newest home.

Savannah - Coastal States Bank

The bank donated $5,000 to the Greenbriar Children’s Center through the bank’s Community Commitment’s COVID-19 Grant Funding, which was established to help organizations affected by COVID-19.


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Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Karlene Gordon has been named the bank's Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Read more here.


Greenville, S.C. - United Community Bank

David Kershaw has joined the bank as vice president, legal counsel. Read more here.


Houston, TX - Cadence Bank

Myra Caldwell has joined the bank as its first Chief Diversity Officer. Read more here.


Milledgeville - Century Bank & Trust

Amber English was recently promoted to Loan Operations Officer.


Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia

The bank is celebrating 15 years serving the community. Read more here.


Summerville - Southeast First National Bank

Our condolences to the family, friends and banking colleague of Jerrell McCool, who died unexpectedly this week at the age of 79. He retired in 2006 after working 47 years in area banks and served as president of four banks in Adairsville, Cedartown and Summerville, but returned to work at the bank as the credit review supervisor and business development officer. Read more from Barry Hurley, CEO.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Haley Reed has been promoted to Vice President, Financial Center Manager. Read more here. Tara Dorsey has joined the bank as Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer. Read more here. The bank has also begun construction on its new corporate headquarters in downtown Watkinsville, to be completed in 2021.


Danbury, CN - Promontory MortgagePath LLC

Scott Turnquest has joined the company as Chief Technology Officer. Read more here.





Caldwell English



Reed Dorsey Oconee State Bank Turnquest



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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