Oct. 8, 2021  

Advocacy in Action

GBA Teams up with Georgia Chamber to Oppose IRS Reporting

We continue our efforts to educate Georgia consumers and businesses about the bad policy proposal for banks to report to the IRS transactions in accounts with $600 or more. This week we issued a joint press release with the Georgia Chamber to statewide media about the issue. Working with the Chamber was an opportunity to emphasize that the issue is about much more than bank regulatory burden: the proposal would pretty much intrude on the privacy of every Georgian with a job or business. “This wrongheaded proposal violates the privacy of almost every American in the name of catching wealthy tax cheats. Consumers, small business owners and families should rightly be concerned that their personal financial information will be turned over to the IRS with no assurance their data will be protected from cyber criminals or restricted to this one idea. This costly and intrusive proposal is loaded with harmful potential, and we urge all Georgia citizens to join us in opposing it,” said GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen in the release. “This blatant overreach by government would place an incredible burden on our state's banking institutions and the small businesses that make up 99% of Georgia’s business community. It undermines the privacy of everyday Georgians and simply outweighs any hypothetical, unproven gains,” said Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. Here's one example from Albany about the coverage it generated. Gov. Brian Kemp also weighed in, responding to the joint release by saying, "This ridiculous power grab by the Biden Administration is only their latest attempt to hurt businesses and undermine the constitutional rights of hardworking Georgians. There is absolutely no reason for the federal government to have the ability to monitor nearly every checking account in the country. This is a reckless invasion of privacy and a gut punch to community banks, small businesses, and large banking institutions alike." We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Georgia Chamber and other organizations on issues like these when the issues go beyond the scope of the banking industry, specifically. Read the release here.


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Key Georgia Women Bankers Recognized

Several high-ranking women bankers in Georgia were recognized as industry leaders this week by American Banker. Synovus Financial’s Liz Wolverton and Ketherine Weislogel were profiled in the newspaper’s Most Powerful Women to Watch feature, and Kim Kirk of Queensborough National Bank & Trust was recognized as a standout in the Community Banking arena. Wolverton is Synovus’ Chief Strategy and Customer Experience Officer (profile) and Weislogel (profile) is the Head of Treasury and Payment Solutions. Kirk is Chief Operations Officer for Queensborough, and she’s fresh off a term as Chair of the GBA Operations and Technology Committee in 2020-2021. Women leaders working in other states at a number of other GBA member banks were also recognized, including those from Bank of America, Fifth Third Bancorp., JPMorgan Chase, PNC Bank, Regions Financial, Truist Financial, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.


Wolverton Weislogel Kirk


Related: GBA’s Women in Banking virtual series kicked off this week with Chick-fil-A’s Elizabeth Dixon. The three-part series continues with sessions Nov. 2 and Dec. 1, and if you register you get access to a recording of Dixon’s session. Participants can also network with bankers from around Georgia and North Carolina Bankers Association (NCBA) members during the post-session networking segment, as we’re partnering with the NCBA on the series. Get more details and register here.




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45th Georgia Peanut Bank Week Starts Monday

A number of our members will be celebrating and promoting Georgia peanuts next week. It’s the 45th edition of Georgia Peanut Bank Week co-sponsored by GBA and the Georgia Peanut Commission. GBA members' participation to support one of our top crops is yet another example of how banks play a key role in our community, state and national economies.


For this year's Georgia Peanut Bank Week, our friends at the Georgia Peanut Commission are offering print and digital resources available for you. The official poster, recipe card, peanut fact sheet, press release template, and children's activity sheets can be found on the Bank Week page of GPC’s website here. The social media guide and graphics are available by clicking the links below. Please reach out to Bank Week Coordinator Jordan Lunsford, bankweek@gapeanuts.com, 229.386.3470 if you have any questions.


We were pleased to see some media coverage of this year’s Peanut Bank Week recently. Click here for the piece in The Albany Herald and here for the online publication AgFax.


If your bank is participating in Georgia Peanut Bank Week, please share photos and information about your efforts with Katina Prokos and David Oliver. We’ll share them in the GBA E-Bulletin and on our social media channels. And make sure to tag us in your posts so that we can share and interact with them! @georgiapeanuts, @GABankers #gapeanuts #georgiapeanutbankweek #georgiabanks


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GSBLSU Board of Trustees Meet

The Georgia Bankers Association is one of the original 15 co-sponsoring states for the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. The school is overseen by a Board of Trustees comprised of a banker from each state, school officers, and the state bankers association CEO. The Board met this week to finalize plans for the 2022 session set for May 23 – June 3 in Baton Rouge. Georgia’s Mike Allen with Cadence Bank is serving as school president and Ryan Earnest, First National Community Bank, Rome, is the Georgia appointed Trustee. They serve alongside GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen representing our state. Here’s a link to the 2022 brochure with registration and other details. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Cybersecurity, Loan Demand and Technology Cost headline Community Bank Concerns

The eighth-annual community bank survey by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ (CSBS) has been released and it has some good data from bankers about trends and issues important for planning. Some of the highlights that echo what we’ve been hearing from Georgia bankers are:

  • 52% of community banks described loan demand as a very important challenge, which is a change from last year when liquidity was more highly rated

  • 81% rated cybersecurity a very important risk, more than double the rating for any other risk.

  • 47% identified technology cost a very important challenge, while two years ago it was rated one of the least important

  • Credit risk is lower than during the height of the pandemic

  • The pandemic created beneficial operational changes in efficiency and customer engagement

  • 70% said prospects for long-term lending were improved by closer customer relationships.

Read the full report here.


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Resources for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

We’re supporting many member and national advocacy efforts to help folks keep their information and data safe. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and here are some resources to help your local efforts:

  • #BanksNeverAskThat – Any GBA member can use these resources for social media and web-based channels. It includes clever, customer-friendly quizzes, videos and other anti-phishing education messages.

  • CISA Resources – A full suite of info, toolkits, presentations and more anyone can use from the Cybersecurity & Information Security Agency

  • StaySafeOnline – Resources, graphics, logos, articles and more from the National Cybersecurity Alliance.

Check our GBA social media channels for messages we send and those from member banks we amplify. LinkedIn page; Twitter: @GABankers; Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaBankersAssociation; Instagram: @georgia_bankers_association.


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Wellview Recognized as 2021 Well-Being Trailblazer

Others are taking note of the success our partners at Wellview are having engaging Georgia bankers in their own proactive care through the GBA Insurance Trust. In a competition hosted by WELCOA and Archetype Solutions Group to identify the nation’s most innovative worksite well-being companies, Wellview was recognized as a 2021 Well-Being Trailblazer. The GBA Insurance Trust was a founding partner of Wellview and thousands of Georgia bankers have engaged in the free services. So far in 2021, the top three risks identified among our participants are blood pressure, weight and stress, and Georgia bankers are doing something about that. For example, those accessing mental health counseling services are averaging around five sessions. And those engaged in our weight-loss initiative have lost on average 10 pounds each, 916 pounds total for our group just this year. That’s translating into better health, and we see that in lower claims costs for those participating. In fact, claims costs are down 13% compared to what was being spent prior to their engaging. Wellview offers a unique combination of technology and human experiences to make sure that care is both easy to access and the highest quality possible. Wellview co-founder and CEO James Story did an interesting interview with Dr. Scott Cawood, CEO of WorldatWork, discussing how Wellview engages members in proactive care and here’s a link to that interview if you want to take a look. To learn more about how your bank can engage more actively or as an individual, if you’re covered by the GBA Insurance Trust and want to know more, contact GBA Insurance Trust’s Lindsey Hawkins, 404.420.2022.


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Great Eighth Straight Top State for Business Ranking

At a grand-opening event in Columbia County for Amazon’s new robotics facility, Governor Kemp announced that Georgia has been named the “Top State for Doing Business” for the eighth year in a row by Area Development magazine. The executive publication’s annual poll of about 50 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 five other categories, including overall cost of doing business, cooperative and responsive state government, competitive labor environment, workforce development programs, and available real estate. Read more details here.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: Is a bank required to notify customers of a deposited check being returned?


Answer: Yes, Regulation CC, § 229.33(h), requires providing notice to a customer of a check being returned by midnight of the banking day following the banking day on which the bank receives notice of the check either being returned or nonpayment. A notice provided in accordance with this section may also satisfy the exception hold notice requirements, if the bank will place an exception hold on the basis of the nonpayment notification and otherwise meets the exception hold notice requirements.


Notification to customer: If the depositary bank receives a returned check, notice of nonpayment, or notice of recovery under §229.35(b), it shall send or give notice to its customer of the facts by midnight of the banking day following the banking day on which it received the returned check, notice of nonpayment, or notice of recovery, or within a longer reasonable time.


Read more here.


Read more timely compliance news from GBA partner Compliance Alliance here.


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Coming up Nov. 4-5, Atlanta

Chris Nichols to Cover Commercial Loan Pricing at FRM Conference

The CFO is among the most influential people determining a bank’s profitability. At GBA’s Financial Risk Management Conference Nov. 4-5, 2021, at the Omni Hotel at the Battery Atlanta, Chris Nichols, director of capital markets for SouthState Bank, N.A., will highlight the tools, methodologies and tactics that CFOs need to know to help guide their bank to increase franchise value in total relationship profitability with an emphasis on the lending function. Get all the details and register here. The hotel room block is filling up, so don’t delay to make your reservations! Click here for hotel info. There are still sponsorship and exhibit opportunities, as well – click here for details. Sponsors this year are Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors, FHLB of Atlanta, Fifth Third Securities, FNBB (First National Bankers Bank), PFM Asset Management LLC, Raymond James, The Baker Group, ServisFirst Bank, SouthState Bank Correspondent Division, and Truist Securities. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Your Bank’s Discover Debit Card will be Customers’ First Choice When They Pull Out Their Wallet

A robust debit card portfolio can help you generate more revenue right now. Has your bank’s debit card program been on autopilot for too long? VISA and MasterCard will likely fight to keep your business, but Discover Debit wants to invest in your bank, your customers and your community. By implementing Discover’s debit card program, you will realize an immediate impact on your interchange income and expense. Discover® Debit is the only program that delivers superior economics, simplified rules, fee transparency and unmatched program flexibility. To find out more, contact Jim Lumadue, jimlumadue@pulsenetwork.com, 716.743.0118.


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Credit Conference - Dec. 2-3, Atlanta

Thigpen to Cover Credit in a Post-Covid Environment

At GBA’s Credit Conference Dec. 2-3, 2021, at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta, Stewart Thigpen, CPA, director and financial institution specialist for Steve H. Powell & Company, will provide an asset quality update on Georgia banks. Additional topics include a discussion of current commercial lending activities and challenges in the post-Covid environment, recent regulatory trends and hot topics, and a summary of thoughts to consider relative to credit and lending as we move forward into 2022. Get all the details and register here. Remember, GBA Associate Members are eligible to sponsor and host exhibit booths at this event. A big shout out to the following companies for their support: CRS Data, CSRA Business Lending, Mauldin & Jenkins, Point to Point Environmental, Qualtik, ServisFirst Bank, Steve H. Powell & Company and Wipfli. With questions, please email GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Learn About the Advantages of Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) Programs from EBS

GBA Strategic Partner EBS specializes in the placement and service of Bank Owned Life Insurance (BOLI). Their programs use BOLI to finance existing employee benefits and informally fund new or existing nonqualified executive benefit plans. EBS offers implementation and plan design services as well as administrative services. If you have BOLI now and need or want to consider a new servicer, EBS can assist you with compliance and reports essential for your bank, board and regulators. Given the fiduciary responsibilities of bank management and board members, it is crucial that banks partner with experienced and qualified professionals to service their BOLI programs and Nonqualified Plans. EBS provides comprehensive service through a group of qualified professionals with specialized expertise in insurance and public accounting. Each client is assigned a specific service team with extensive back office support. The professional designations held by members of the organization include CPA, JD, CLU, MSFS, MBA, CFP, ChFC and others. Under the guidance of EBS, billions of dollars of BOLI face amount have been placed with the highest-rated carriers offering institutional pricing. Their informal funding solutions are built on sound economic foundations and are conservatively structured from a tax perspective. As an added benefit to GBA members, EBS will provide a complimentary, customized BOLI Assessment Report and Carrier Due Diligence Review Report. Contact Jim Foyt at 877.242.9751.


EBS, a bank consulting company, does not engage in the practice of law or accounting. Any questions concerning legal, tax or accounting advice should be referred to your appropriate counsel or advisors.


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The DeSoto

Registration now open!

2022 Operations and Technology Conference - Feb. 23-25, Savannah

GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference will be Feb. 23-25, 2022, at The DeSoto hotel in Savannah. The GBA Operations and Technology Committee has almost finalized the agenda. Sessions will include: 

  • Cryptocurrency and Emerging Technology

  • Payments

  • Cybersecurity

  • Best Practices

  • Operational Assessments

  • Vendor Management.

Registration is $650 for an attendee or exhibitor representative; $700 for an exhibitor booth; and various levels of sponsorship. Associate members are eligible to sponsor, exhibit or both sponsor and exhibit. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Director Education Series a Handy Resource

We’ve got a good suite of director training resources from our online learning partner OnCourse Learning. The Directors Education Series™ is a subscription-based Library of audio, video and Power Point training courses focused on the role and expectations of the Bank Director's conduct, duties and liabilities. They’re perfect for ongoing sessions during board meetings. The library has more than 60 courses available, with new courses added each month. One annual subscription provides your financial institution access to our entire course library, and it includes access and tracking for each board member. Get all the details here, including access to a free trial.


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November Brings Lending Training

In-person and virtual courses



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Enroll Now for 2022 Georgia Banking School, May 1-6

Online enrollment is open for the 2022 session of the Georgia Banking School, which will be May 1-6 in at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. For more than 50 years, the school has developed generations of Georgia bank leaders who shape the industry in our state. It offers everything you want and expect from an investment in banker education, specifically preparing the next generation of bank leaders, building the pool of management-level talent in your bank, and connecting students to the most knowledgeable industry experts and a community of fellow bankers. The Georgia Banking School Board, led by Darron Burnette of Synovus Bank, has been hard at work reviewing the curriculum and planning next year’s session. So, with budget season approaching, 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 with no penalty until April 1.

Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here.


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Join live or purchase a recording!

ACH Audits, Marketing Compliance, Strategic Planning and More

Save 10-30% with a subscription package - details here!

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:


Atlanta - Georgia Banking Company

Bank team members Wanda Weegar and Mallory Maunder recently joined Jamie Hamilton, executive director at Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett, Inc., to donate furniture to schools.

Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Decatur County Schools' Foundation, Inc. Chairman Scott Ewing, president and CEO, First Port City Bank, and Vice-Chair Theresa Hall presented a $1,500 grant to the Decatur County Band Program on behalf of the foundation. Both the Bainbridge High School (BHS) band and the middle school band will benefit from this grant. Pictured with the presenters is assistant band director Will Parker, who wrote the grant request, along with BHS band director James Sewell and members of the middle and high school bands.


Johns Creek - American Commerce Bank

Bank team members participated in this year's Alpharetta Mayor’s Corporate Challenge 5K race, which benefited local and international charities supported by Alpharetta Rotary.


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Atlanta - Colony Bank

Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Buddy Bennett was recently interviewed by Georgia CEO about the bank’s expansion in Atlanta and recent acquisition of SouthCrest Bank. See the video here.


Cumming - Georgia Primary Bank

The bank hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 28 at its new North Metro Financial Center located at 6080 Bethelview Road in Cumming. The bank hosted a grand opening celebration Sept. 27 through Oct. 1 at the same location. Pictured from left to right are Credit Analyst Rachel Alexander, President and CEO David Coxon, Market President Jennifer Clifton, Bank Director Michael Miller and Loan Administration Specialist Sevil Avci. Read more here.


Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County

Lori Davis has joined the bank’s loan department as a senior vice president/commercial lender.


Macon - Planters First Bank

Summer Sweat has joined the bank team as a solutions center CSR and in its Macon banking center.


Statesboro - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Kacee Cox has been promoted to a mortgage lender in the bank’s Statesboro branch.



Bennett Georgia Primary Bank Davis Sweat Cox



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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