Nov. 19, 2021  

Happy Thanksgiving from the Georgia Bankers Association

As each year brings new twists and turns, what remains constant at GBA is how much we have to be thankful for. Here’s a list of just a few of the many things for which we’re grateful, starting with our members: 

  • Members: Thousands of bankers, Strategic Partners, Associate Members, Bank Counsel Section members and Bank Accountant Section members serve their communities and clients, and through GBA they work together for the common good of the industry.


  • GBA teammates: The GBA staff is truly a family, and we are blessed with a caring and talented team.


  • Our industry, state and country: Yes, that's three in one, but they're all related. We are blessed to work for an industry that has given so much to our state, our country and our fellow Americans.

Here’s to another year of giving thanks for all of the blessings our membership, team and industry have experienced. Thanks for your ongoing support, and we are wishing you a happy and festive Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Our next Bulletin will be Dec. 3, but we'll dash out a brief E-Bulletin if there is breaking news that warrants immediate attention before then.


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Chairman’s Message

Situational Awareness – Capitalizing on the Goodwill Emerging from the Pandemic

The banking industry is experiencing a moment of goodwill and high trust from consumers and policymakers coming off the pandemic. A priority for GBA Chairman Luke Flatt, chairman, president and CEO of AB&T, Albany, during his term leading the Association is to help bankers to seize the opportunity to further strengthen business and community leadership initiatives. Read his essay with some provocative ideas here.


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Omarova at the hearing

Omarova Confirmation Hearing Held

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee held a hearing Thursday to consider President Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, Professor Saule Omarova. The controversial nominee defended various writings and public statements she had made as coming from the lens of an academic legal scholar. However, those views led to GBA opposing her nomination, which we passed along to Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who serve on the committee. We’ve made clear that our opposition – widely shared by the industry – is rooted in her writings and public statements that support essentially upending banking as we know it. During the hearing, Sen. Ossoff asked Dr. Omarova about her views of digital currency, specifically fiat currency backed by governments. We understand Sen. Warnock had a conflict with another hearing, so did not attend. At this point, no vote has been scheduled on the nominee.


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Georgia Banker Among Digital Bankers of the Year

A revamped website, turbocharged social media presence and a quick turnaround to develop an in-house PPP application portal are some of the accomplishments that led American Banker to name Heritage Bank’s Lincoln Parks one of its Digital Bankers of the Year. Parks joined the bank in 2015 and has steadily remade the bank’s marketing strategy. Read the profile about Parks here (subscription required).



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Action Alert – Nov. 21 Deadline

Chime in on Cost of Implementing CFPB’s Small Business Data Collection Rule

We are asking member banks to participate in the ABA’s survey of the costs of implementing the CFPB's proposed section 1071 rule (small business data collection). This survey collects information on both the one-time costs of preparing to collect and report the 1071 data, as well as the ongoing costs of collecting and reporting the data once the 1071 rule is in effect. Responses will be used in a comment letter about the impacts on banks as well as small businesses. More data is critical, as CFPB’s cost estimates were based on a survey on only 100 respondents. All financial data will be confidential. Here’s a sample of the survey so you can collect your answers. For your official submission, use the link below to actually complete the survey. Please designate a survey coordinator for your bank so your bank provides only one response. Link to access and complete the survey. Please respond by Monday, Nov. 22.


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Credit Unions

One-Click Advocacy Opportunity Opposing Expanded Membership Field

The National Credit Union Administration is preparing to finalize a rule that would greatly expand the field of membership requirement for common bond credit unions. We encourage members to take quick action to ask congress to hold an oversight hearing for NCUA in advance of the rule being finalized. Use this resource to file a one-click letter urging Congressional action.


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Donaldson, Wade, Oliver
and Slaton

New Personal Finance and Economics Course Open for Comment

The Georgia Department of Education is seeking public comment through Dec. 6 on its revised required high school course titled Personal Finance and Economics. Access details and comment here. This is the result of work we recently reported to you about that included member and GBA involvement. “These proposed changes to Georgia’s Personal Finance/Economics course are vitally important. In the past, financial literacy has been the minority of this course. If these proposed changes are approved, financial literacy will be the majority. I encourage all to review the changes and provide feedback to the Georgia Department of Education,” said Durden Banking Company’s Matt Donaldson, who was on the committee working to revise the course and is a member of the Georgia Board of Education representing the 12th Congressional District. Donaldson stressed that positive comments are as important as those with additional suggestions are concerns. Also serving on the committee informing the proposed revisions were State Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville), who works for River City Bank, Richard Slaton, senior vice president, Community Development Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and David Oliver, GBA Senior Vice President, Member Solutions.


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The Hyatt Regency
Atlanta Downtown

Register Now! Legislative and Economic Forum & Reception – Jan. 12

Registration is now open for the 2022 Legislative and Economic Forum & Reception, Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown. All member bankers, Associate Members and Bank Counsel Section members with management, finance, business development or government relations-related responsibilities or interests are invited and encouraged to attend. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m. followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Registration options include the Forum & Reception ($185), Forum Only ($75), and Reception Only ($145). To reserve a room in the GBA block at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown, click here or call 1.800.233.1234 and provide the group code G-GBA1. Nightly rate is $212++. The cut-off date is Dec. 22, and rooms may sell out before that date. New this year! Sponsorships are available for this event!  Click here for details and to reserve your sponsorship. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad. 


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Trends in SARs for Elder Fraud

Banks and other financial institutions filed 62,104 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in 2020, which is nearly 60 percent of all elder fraud related SARs. The reports represented $3.4 billion in in suspicious activities, says a CFPB data spotlight out this week. Most reports involved either suspicious money transfers or checking or savings account activity. The data show consistently elevated levels of elder-fraud-related SAR reporting since 2016. Read more data details here.


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Budget Resource: GBA Salary Survey

Are you in the process of budgeting for 2022?  Do you need more updated information to determine the budget for 2022 salary increases?  We can help! The 2021 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey is still available for purchase. This year's survey report represents:

  • 64 Georgia Institutions

  • 143 positions

  • Over 4,400 Georgia incumbents.

The participant cost is $595, and the non-participant cost is $1,375.  Please contact Rhonda Snyder at for additional purchase information. Also, for basic guidelines on using the survey report click here.


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Virtual ALM Panel Discussion

Bonus Resources for All Members

ALM Panel, Municipal Deposit Credit Risk Session Recordings

All GBA members may access two sessions from the Financial Risk Management Conference we had to move to a virtual channel. Conference attendees participated in the sessions this week and the virtual format allows us to provide the recordings as bonus resources for everyone. Here are the links:

  • Asset Liability Management Panel Discussion: Moderated by Truist Securities’ Joel Updegraff. Panelists are Chris Bond, Morris Bank; Matt Donaldson, Durden Banking Company; Jim McLemore, Oconee State Bank; Matt Reed, Georgia Community Bank; and Michael Spingler, Ameris Bank.


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The Westin Buckhead Atlanta

Credit Conference - Dec. 2-3, Atlanta

Agenda includes Economic and Regulatory Panels, Ag Update, Cybersecurity and More

GBA’s 2021 Credit Conference will be Dec. 2-3 at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta. Take a look at the detailed agenda here. Sessions will include:

  • The State of Georgia Housing Market

  • Economic Panel

  • Regulatory Panel

  • Ag Update

  • GBA Advocacy Update

  • Round Table Discussion

  • Cybersecurity

  • Economic Update

Associate members are eligible to sponsor, exhibit or both sponsor and exhibit. Get all the details and register here. Thank you to our sponsors already confirmed. Platinum sponsors are BOND.AI and Steve H. Powell & Company. Gold sponsors are: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; CRS Data; CSRA Business Lending; Mauldin and Jenkins; Quilo, by Strunk; ServisFirst Bank; and Wipfli. Silver sponsor is Qualtik. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Crime and Punishment

Macon Bank Robber Headed Back to the Clink

In May 2019, Wesley Sorrow robbed American Pride Bank in Macon just one week after being released from federal prison for a previous bank robbery conviction. Sorrow was convicted this week for the 2019 robbery and faces up to 20 years back in prison and a hefty fine. Read more here.


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New Seminar Added!

The IRA Merry-Go-Round Seminar – Feb 8-9

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.


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2022 Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Kit Available Now!

As your team plans your company’s marketing and event budget for 2022, there’s no better time to reserve your participation in GBA’s 2022 events valuable to your company. Click here to access the 2022 Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Kit.


Menu of 2022 GBA events open to sponsorships:

  • Annual Signature Events: Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference

  • Annual Professional Development Conferences: Compliance; Financial Risk Management; Credit; HR; Security; Operations/Technology; Rural Development & Lending; and Women in Banking

  • Annual Schools: Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School

  • Seminars: Various

  • Webinars: Various

See the last page of the kit for event dates or visit our home page at to access our 2022 event calendar.


Ready to sign up? Complete the response form in the kit and submit it to Kathy Friestad.


Have questions? Our professional development team will be happy to discuss your 2022 involvement strategy so that your company gets maximum benefit from this important investment. Email GBA’s Kathy Friestad to request a call or meeting.


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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!

Upcoming Webinars from National Experts

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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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:


Milledgeville - Century Bank & Trust

Bank team members recently presented a check to Relay for Life for the $13,690 that employees raised in 2021. Since 2003, bank employees have raised more than $195,000 for Relay for Life.


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Atlanta - Cadence Bank

The bank announced this week its business agreement with Atlanta-based Norman & Associates, one of the largest minority-owned luxury real estate brokerages in the United States. Through this strategic corporate alliance, Cadence Bank will become one of Norman & Associates’ preferred residential lenders, providing mortgage services to the firm’s real estate clients in Atlanta and Birmingham, AL. Pictured below are bank Executive Vice Chairman Paul Murphy, other senior bank leaders and Jeremy Norman, CEO of Norman & Associates.


Atlanta - Colony Bank

Commercial Lender Dexter Lummus was recently interviewed by Metro Atlanta CEO about commercial real estate financing. Watch the video here.


Bainbridge - First National Bank

Lee Northcutt and Barry Pollock have both been promoted to the position of executive vice president. Lorenda Smith has been promoted to senior vice president.


Eastman - Great Oaks Bank

Brooke Selph has been promoted to operations officer. Read more here.


Macon - James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP

Attorney Jackson Bush has joined the firm’s Real Estate practice group, focusing on all areas of real estate law, commercial real estate transactions and government-guaranteed lending. Read more here.


Columbus - Paragon Benefits

Our sympathies to Chief Operating Officer Nancy Dorris and her family on the death of her mother, Mickie Tennyson, this week. Mickie also worked with us at Paragon a number of years ago. Paragon Benefits is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GBA Insurance Trust



Cadence Bank Northcutt Pollock Smith Selph



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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