Dec. 10, 2021  

Advocacy in Action

GBA Supports Bill to Temporarily Hold CBLR Between 8% and 8.5%

This week GBA joined other state bankers associations in voicing support for a bill that would direct regulators to set the Community Bank Leverage Ratio between 8% and 8.5% from Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2024. The ratio has been at that level since agencies implemented the CARES Act provision to lower it. In a letter to bill sponsor Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kan.), we noted that community banks’ leverage ratios are under significant strain due to the banking industry’s role in the pandemic response and the origination of more than 4.2 million loans worth $318.5 billion under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. “H.R. 6145 provides a sensible, temporary solution without undue risk to the financial system or to the communities in which these [Community] banks operate,” the letter says. Read the letter here.


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Robert James II

Carver State Bank’s Robert James II Testifies to Congress

We were happy to see Georgia’s banking community represented this week during a U.S. House committee hearing about serving unbanked and underbanked households. Carver State Bank’s Robert James II testified Thursday during the event before the U.S. House Committee on Disparity & Fairness in Growth. James is also the Chairman of the National Bankers Association. The discussion examined how Congress can work with financial institutions and private sector stakeholders to expand access to banking services for underserved communities. The bipartisan discussion also centered on affordable access to regular checking and savings accounts for the unbanked and underbanked, with a focus on best practices and efforts by the federal government to enhance financial service options to historically marginalized populations. Watch the recording of the meeting here (James' testimony begins at about the 37-minute mark).


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Compelling Content, Capacity Crowd Highlight Credit Conference

Georgia’s top bank credit professionals were treated to a program that covered the full breadth of statewide and national credit-related issues at GBA’s Credit Conference in Atlanta last week. Attendance hit a 10-year high as the Credit Committee, led by its chair Philip Bernardi, Oconee State Bank, and Vice Chair Wade Johnson, Durden Banking Company, put together a program that checked all the boxes for essential information. Thursday’s pre-conference sessions included discussions about unique data sources to help make credit decisions by Blair Gatchel of Bond AI, and an in-depth look at the housing market from ViaSearch’s John Hunt. The timely economic development panel that started the main conference agenda focused on logistics and supply-chain updates from experts representing the state’s transportation sector. The Pendleton Group’s Amanda Shailendra moderated, with Craig Camuso, CSX, Ed Crowell of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, Seth Millican, Georgia Transportation Alliance, and Stacy Watson of the Georgia Ports participating. CRS Data’s Jason Pruitt provided an overview of real estate appraisals and valuation trends, Will Bentley of the Georgia Agribusiness Council gave an ag economy update, and Stewart Thigpen of Steve H. Powell and Company highlighted credit quality trends and exam trends throughout Georgia. Friday’s program kicked off with and advocacy and industry update from GBA’s Joe Brannen, which was followed by an extensive peer roundtable session in which a lot of good ideas and common challenges were shared. We also heard important cybersecurity and cyber insurance trends helpful to underwriting and credit monitoring from Allen Lumpkin of Sterling Seacrest Pritchard and Hunter Maskill of Insuretrust. The conference wrapped up with an encouraging economic outlook from GBA favorite Roger Tutterow of Kennesaw State. Exhibitors were Point to Point Environmental, CSRA Business Lending, Qualtik, S&P Global Market Intelligence, Summit Technology Group, Bankers Healthcare Group, and Quilo, by Strunk. Platinum sponsors were Bond AI and Steve H. Powell and Company. Gold sponsors were Wipfli, ServisFirst Correspondent Division, CSRA Business Lending, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Mauldin & Jenkins, CRS Data and Quilo, by Strunk. The Silver sponsor was Qualtik. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.



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GBARS Representatives at
Altamaha Bank & Trust

GBA Retirement Services Welcomes Two New Member Banks

GBA Retirement Services, Inc. is excited to welcome our two newest member banks to the GBA Master 401(k) Trust: Citizens Bank of Americus, Rick Whaley, president CEO, and Altamaha Bank & Trust, Vidalia, Brent Sammons, president and CEO. We have enjoyed meeting with employees at both banks this month as we prepare for them to join our program in 2022. We look forward to providing outstanding service for these plan participants in the years to come. Some of the advantages of being part of the GBA Master Trust include:

  • GBA’s dedicated staff support as a primary resource and oversight of service providers.

  • Unified Trust Company as an investment manager and discretionary Trustee.

  • Reduced fees with high-quality service providers.

  • Ongoing investment education and retirement planning sessions for employees.

  • Personalized Managed Account Solution geared to each participant’s needs through the Unified Plan at no additional cost for participants.


We would love to do a plan review and show you why all of our members are pleased with the service and performance provided by GBA Retirement Services. Contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information about how GBA Retirement Services can help design or improve your retirement plan.


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Advocacy in Action

Joe Brannen and Chris Pierce

Calhoun Rotary Gets Banking Update

We love visiting communities around the state to talk about banking. This week's travels took us to the Rotary Club of Calhoun to share an update about the industry. GBA's Joe Brannen was the guest speaker at the invitation of Chris Pierce, president and CEO, North Georgia National Bank. Brannen shared the latest banking statistics statewide, a look at the local banking landscape, the lengths to which banks and bankers went as financial first responders during the pandemic and some of the big-picture issues banks are working on as they strive to serve their communities. GBA often speaks to banker and business groups to share the story about banking beyond the headlines. Contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036, with questions.


Related: We've posted a new version of our Georgia Banking Update on our website with the latest stats and trends. Access the document here, or anytime on the Publications section of the GBA website.


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Omarova Withdraws from Comptroller Nomination

After several Democratic senators signaled opposition to her nomination and unanimous opposition from Republicans, Saule Omarova, President Biden’s nominee to be Comptroller of the Currency, Wednesday withdrew her name from consideration for the post. Throughout her career, Omarova  has advocated for a number of policy changes that would substantially transform the bank regulatory landscape, including reforms that would require community banks to “pass through” their deposits to the Federal Reserve and effectively make them utilities and end the dual banking system. President Biden has not announced a new nominee.


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2021 BankPAC Campaign Update

The 2021 BankPAC Campaign is coming to a close after a very successful campaign! If you have not contributed to this important effort for our industry, please do so now by accessing the BankPAC webpage for directions and suggested giving amounts. You can even make your personal FedPAC contribution online. The BankPAC Board of Directors is pleased with our progress and welcomes your participation. Thanks to the following banks whose eligible employees, officers and directors recently made a contribution to the GBA FedPAC.

  • Bank of America, Al McRae, Atlanta Market President

  • Cadence Bank, Spencer Strickland, East Georgia Regional President

  • Citizens Community Bank, Hahira

  • Colony Bank, Fitzgerald, Heath Fountain, President & CEO

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

With questions, please contact GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893.


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New FDIC Supervisory Appeals Office Opens

The FDIC’s new Office of Supervisory Appeals (Office) became fully operational this week and will begin to consider and decide appeals of material supervisory determinations. The new office will enhance the independence of the FDIC’s supervisory appeals process and further the FDIC’s goal of ensuring consistency and accountability in the examination process, the agency says. Read more here.


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Kick off 2022 Advocacy with Us at Legislative/Economic Forum

A big crowd is building for GBA’s Legislative and Economic Forum & Legislative Reception, Jan. 12. This is the premier in-person advocacy event on our calendar, so don’t miss this opportunity to set the table for a successful 2022 with your peers and elected officials. Guest experts confirmed so far are Jeffrey Dorfman, the State Fiscal Economist of Georgia and a professor of economics at The University of Georgia, and Georgia Department of Banking and Finance commissioner Kevin Hagler. Our agenda will also include political perspective and congressional representatives and additional special guests we’re working to confirm. Watch upcoming GBA e-bulletins for details. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Click here to register. While the block of rooms at the Hyatt has sold out, we’ve secured overflow rooms at The Loews Midtown ($279/night), a 10-minute drive from the Hyatt. Call 888-563-9763 to reserve a room. The cut-off date is Dec. 22, and rooms may sell out before that date. A special shout-out to event sponsors FHLB of Atlanta and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division. Click here for details and to reserve your sponsorship. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad. 


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GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks with Marketing, Branding, Social Media and More

Digital marketing channels such as email, social media, blogs, online display ads, search engine optimization, and search engine and mobile marketing are important for winning new business from today's bank customers. GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, or simply FMS, is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The bank brands and other projects that endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand campaign will accomplish goals, impact the bottom line, affect positive change and be memorable recognizable no matter where your customers are. The GBA has been proud to endorse FMS as a GBA Strategic Partner since 2007. For more information, please contact Sean Hockenbery of FMS at 615.591.2073.


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GBA Partner Webinar: Jump-Starting Your Mortgage Business with Promontory MortgagePath

Promontory MortgagePath is offering a complimentary on-demand webinar focused on helping you transform your mortgage business to meet evolving borrower expectations and market demands. During the webinar, panelists will discuss innovative strategies for maintaining a good product mix, and reducing origination costs. You don’t want to miss this chance to jump-start your bank’s mortgage business. For questions, please contact Promontory’s Promontory’s Jordan Higgins, 570.850.7655, Access the Webinar here.


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Free GBA Partner Webinar - How To Be the Amazon Prime of Checking – Dec. 16 @ 2 p.m.

The banking industry is experiencing a revenue recession due primarily to a continuing and forecasted net margin squeeze, declining overdraft revenue, and cannibalized debit interchange revenue (by alternative payment methods). Meanwhile, consumers have shown that they love to buy and pay for services on a subscription basis (like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Costco, and Spotify). Nearly every major industry dealing directly with consumers has adopted this pricing model, except the banking industry. Please join retail banking expert Dave DeFazio and GBA partner StrategyCorps on Dec. 16 as he reveals insights as to how your bank can profitably engage its customers or members with the personal services today’s consumers are demanding. Click here to register.


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New Seminars for 2022: IRA and Breaking in to Commercial Banking

  • New! The IRA Merry-Go-Round Seminar - Feb 8-9, Middle Georgia State University, Macon
    Patrice Konarik, Sunwest Training Corp, is back with an intensive 2-day seminar that will teach you all you need to know about IRAs, including the latest updates! Each participant will receive the latest 275-page, IRA Training and Reference Manual - “The Red Book.” For all the details and to register click here.


  • New! Breaking into Banking 101 Webinar - Feb. 23, Zoom Webinar (recording included w/ registration)
    Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning, teaches this course with a clear and thorough introduction to the key concepts, terminology, and processes involved in credit and lending. It doesn’t assume much prior knowledge of the topic, so it’s ideal for those in their first year in the industry. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of their job and how their specific role fits into the bank’s overall profitability goals. Get all the details and register here.

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Mark Your Calendars!

GBA 2022 Winter/Spring Conferences

Mark your calendars and save the date for the following 2022 winter and spring conferences!

  • Operations & Technology Conference - Wednesday, Feb. 23, through Friday, Feb. 25, at The DeSoto, Savannah. Registration now open!

  • HR Professionals Institute - Wednesday, March 23, through Friday, March 25, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

  • Marketing Conference - Thursday, March 24 through Friday, March 25, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

  • Bank Security Conference - Monday, April 11, through Wednesday, April 13, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

  • Rural Development & Lending Conference - Thursday, May 19, through Friday, May 20, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Join live or purchase a recording!

HMDA Update, Residential Construction Lending, Managing Complaints and More
Webinar Subscription Packages: If your institution attends at least five webinars per year, a webinar subscription package is a no-brainer! Click here for more info.

See our full calendar of webinars 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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Albany – AB&T

Our condolences to Matt Rushton, whose father, Herbert Nelson Rushton III, died Dec. 3. Read more here. Matt is a member of the GBA Agriculture Committee.


Albany – Flint Community Bank

Bank President Frank Griffin has been appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to the Georgia State Board of Education.


Atlanta - Cadence Bank

The bank announced this week that Mario Hilliard, first vice president and commercial lender, will join the bank’s Savannah market.


Macon - James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP

Attorney Donia Wanna has joined the firm’s General Litigation practice group. Read more here.


Regions Bank

The bank has completed its acquisition of Sabal Capital Partners, LLC, a diversified financial services firm that leverages an innovative, technology-driven origination and servicing platform to facilitate off-balance-sheet lending in the small balance commercial real estate market. Sabal Capital Partners will be integrated into Regions’ Real Estate Capital Markets division. Read more here.


Watkinsville – Oconee State Bank

Our condolences to Marisa Reynolds, whose mother died Dec. 3. Marissa is vice chair of GBA’s Operations and Technology Committee.


Atlanta - Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Kim Blythe has been named senior vice president of human resources for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Read more here.


Griffin Hilliard Wanna


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 Katina Prokos.

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