April 1, 2022 

One More Day...

The Gold Dome has been filled with activity this week as legislators worked diligently to get their bills to the floor for votes. The Georgia General Assembly is expected to have a long day Friday and legislators will reconvene Monday for the final day of their 40-day session. If there are bills remaining from Friday’s approved calendars, those bills will be tabled at the close of that day’s session and may be brought up for a vote at the call of the presiding officer on Monday. Most of Monday’s closing session will be spent voting on final agreements between the two Chambers on bills previously passed by each Chamber but with differing language. Conference committees between the Chambers attempt to work out differences to bring a compromise bill back to the floor. In other cases, one Chamber simply recedes from their position, negating the need for a conference committee but requiring final votes in both Chambers. We historically see more bills pass on the final day than any other day of the session, and GBA’s advocacy team will be at the Capitol monitoring all the activity on bills of interest to the industry. With just one day remaining, we’ll wait to publish the Legislative Update until after Sine Die to give you a final accounting of what happened to all the bills we monitored during the two years of the 2021-2022 biennial.


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GBA Member Profile

Finishing the Rows with Nic Worthy

Nic Worthy’s first job was harvesting watermelons with a group of farmers on the Crisp/Pulaski County line. “There were many long, hot days, and you’d get to wondering if we were ever going to make it to the end of the rows,” said Worthy, Colony Bank market president in Rochelle. Reflecting on that time, Worthy believes this experience taught him many valuable lessons: how to meet your goal each day, how to accomplish tasks as a team and how to stay on task and get organized. “In my role today at Colony Bank, I continue to apply these work tactics. Without a good team, drive, determination, work ethic, timing, organization and pushing yourself above that comfort zone, you cannot come close to reaching goals and helping your customers with solutions to their financial needs. Finish the rows.” The chair of GBA’s Agriculture Committee also shares about his role as a banker in his community, pet peeves and the most useful advice he received in his career in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20

Ag Tech Trends Session Set

Bankers serving rural markets will want to hear from UGA’s Simerjeet Virk about the latest ag tech trends when he presents to the GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference coming up. This is among the many impactful sessions to help bankers who serve Georgia’s number-one industry during GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Other sessions include an ag economy update, crop and crop insurance insights, and how Georgia’s ports support the state’s agriculture economy. See program highlights here, and get more details and register here.


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Overdrafts and Fees Continue to be in Spotlight

Lawmakers and regulators continued their public criticism this week of bank overdraft programs and other types of fees. It is important members are in tune with this in the event they get questions from customers. Georgia Senator and Senate Banking Committee member Raphael Warnock, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who chairs the Banking Committee, and three other senators wrote six large banks last week asking that fees be significantly reduced or eliminated. Also related to overdrafts, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu published an op-ed in American Banker calling on banks to pursue what he termed as “pro-consumer” changes to their programs. And, on Tuesday, CFPB released a report about credit card fees in which Director Rohit Chopra was critical of late fees. Many banks have already adjusted and changed their overdraft policies, and the fees Chopra criticizes are in compliance with the current rules set by the CFPB. We continue to communicate also that there’s data showing how consumers value overdraft programs and feel fees are set at appropriate levels and are disclosed in a transparent manner.


Related: GBA Strategic Partner John M. Floyd and Associates can help your bank navigate the current overdraft environment. Contact Waid Thompson.


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Bank Merger Input Sought by FDIC

The FDIC made good on Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg’s pledge to focus on the bank merger process he made when he stepped in to the role in early February. This week the agency issued a request for information seeking public input. Of note, the request asked for input about mergers between an insured depository institution and a noninsured institution. Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.


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Brooks and Kennedy

HR Institute Checks All the Boxes

Member HR professionals gathered for their annual conference last week and soaked up an agenda full of practical information. The event kicked off with a look at how HR pros can supercharge their bank’s leadership development program in a session by Chris DiLorenzo of the James Paul Group. Then, recruiting expert Michael Goldberg of Hiring Transformed clued us in on how to use LinkedIn and other online channels to onboard talent. Day-two featured a joint session with Marketing pros featuring GBA’s Joe Brannen speaking about industry and advocacy trends, followed by an HR legal update by Jason Wilcox of Moore Clarke Duvall & Rodgers. The afternoon session was a deep dive into equity and inclusion related to customer service led by Tonya Parker of Wesleyan College. The institute wrapped up Friday with an extended peer roundtable session led by Lance Whitley of Colony Bank, and closing speaker Sarah Neely of Fizz, who spoke to a joint session with the Marketing members, discussing HR’s role in setting a culture that enhances a bank’s brand and word-of-mouth marketing. Committee Chair Tonya Brooks, Citizens Bank of the South, and Vice Chair Terry Kennedy hosted and led the committee’s efforts in building the program. Thanks to our exhibitors EmpowHR, Myron Blackmon, and Wellview, Bethany Bishop.


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Griffin leads the conference

Marketing Conference Highlights Brand, Creativity

Georgia’s bank marketing professionals gathered for an energizing conference last week. Our member attendees had interactive and engaging sessions throughout the event, and they got plenty of ideas to take back to their banks. Sessions included a look at how to market the bank as a top employer from expert Michael Goldberg, secrets of the top bank brands by Sean Hockenbery of GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, a look at successful travel club programs by David Bittner of The Cruise & Vacation Authority, and two peer resource and idea sharing sessions. The closing speaker, who spoke to the Marketing and HR groups, was Sarah Neely of Fizz, who talked about word-of-mouth marketing with examples of their work with Red Bull, Stuckey’s and other well-known brands, and how HR pros can contribute by establishing a culture in the bank that fits the brand. Thanks to the work by Committee Chair Andrea Griffin, First National Bank of Griffin, Vice Chair Anna Jones, Pinnacle Bank, Past Chair Lorenda Smith, First National Bank, and the committee to set the program. Also, thanks to Keri Reed of Onovative for exhibiting.


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Leader Updates

County Population Trends, Housing Affordability, Banker Health and Retirement Readiness

Our series of regular email updates to CEOs and other key leaders continued this week. In addition to news about overdrafts mentioned in a previous article, topics included:

  • County Population Stats: A look at national and Georgia population increases and declines. In Georgia, we’re seeing population growth in southeast and north Georgia, with losses in larger counties such as Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton. Maps in the linked PDF.


  • Housing Affordability: The Atlanta Federal Reserve published an article showing the increased cost of housing in the metro-Atlanta area and some of the factors behind that increase.


  • Banker Health: Stats from the GBA Insurance Trust indicated that overall Georgia Bankers are a healthy bunch: 75.5% of those we insure started 2021 healthy and ended the year in the healthy category.


  • Banker Retiree Readiness: 63% of bankers participating in GBA Insurance Trust 401k plans are on track to have enough in their investment account when they retire to produce annual income equal to 70% of their last year’s pay. The national average for similar groups for hitting that 70% level is only 25%.

If you’d like more information about any of those topics, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Fraud Alert

Fake Cashier’s Checks with The Piedmont Bank Name Circulating

Please be on the lookout for counterfeit cashier’s checks bearing The Piedmont Bank’s name. See the image for an example of the fraudulent checks. The bank’s legitimate cashier’s checks have three bank logos (The Piedmont Bank, Mountain Valley Community Bank and Westside Bank) on the check, and the the check is grey and black with no burgundy. Please contact Sterling Williams at the bank at sterling.williams@piedmont.bank or 678.638.4037 with questions or if someone tries to run one of these through your bank.


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Celebrate Your Bankers

50-Year Bankers to be Recognized at Annual Meeting

GBA looks forward to recognizing Georgia bankers who have devoted 50 years or more of service to the industry every year at our Annual Meeting and throughout the year with personal or virtual visits to hometown recognition ceremonies when possible. Help us add to the growing list we’re already compiling for recognition this year’s 2022 Annual Meeting at the Breakers. If you know or are someone who is hitting the milestone this year, please let us know! Please send an email to GBA’s Kathy Friestad with the following information:

  • Banker’s name and current title

  • Bank name

  • His/her years of service and brief work history

  • Photograph of banker nominated and the name of the nominating banker

  • Details about aany scheduled recognition events planned by your bank.

This information must be received by May 13. Please contact Kathy at 404.420.2024 with questions.


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Leadership Conference

Back by Popular Demand! Dr. Melissa Furman on Dealing with Burnout and Leading Now and into the Future

We’re thrilled that Dr. Melissa Furman will be back at this summer’s Leadership Conference, July 11-13, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. Furman, MS, DBA, founder and consultant at Career Potential, LLC, will lead a workshop on overcoming burnout and leading your team today and tomorrow. Furman notes that organizational leaders have been navigating uncertain times for two years now, with changes happening fast. It’s been exhausting! Now more than ever, leaders need strategies to effectively and successfully navigate the uncertainty while leading their teams confidently into the future. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from Dr. Furman and take this new knowledge back to your bank or company. Read more about Dr. Furman here. Click here to explore the conference website, register, see hotel information, or reserve your exhibit booth or sponsorship. Make your hotel plans soon, as this is a very popular conference and summertime is the busiest time for resort properties. A big thanks to our sponsors: Aubrey Thrasher, LLC; CRS Data; CSRA Business Lending; Elliott Davis; FHLB Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; Holmes-Shaw Agency; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Pearl Meyer & Partners, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; Qualtik; ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division; Steve H. Powell & Co.; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders, LLP, and Wipfli, LLP. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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All Systems Go for Compensation Survey

Data Collection begins April 1 for the 2022 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey. This Georgia-specific survey, conducted in partnership with Pearl Meyer, provides the most detailed data on banking compensation and pay practices available today. The survey will cover 280 different positions and include data about:

  • Base Salary

  • Short- and Long-Term Incentives

  • Total Cash/Target/Direct Compensation

  • Mortgage Originator Compensation

  • Commercial Loan Officer Compensation

  • Miscellaneous Human Resources Practices.

Participants get a significant discount on the final survey report. Attract, motivate, and retain the best talent with access to the metrics and insight you need to create a well-designed compensation program. Get more details here, and look for an email with more information in the coming week.


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Annual Meeting Session Highlight

Woodward on Washington: An Economic, Public Policy, and Political Outlook

We’re excited to welcome Joan Woodward as the opening speaker at the GBA Annual Meeting, June 13-15 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. Woodward is Executive Vice President of Public Policy for Travelers and President of The Travelers Institute. In her session, Woodward will share her economic outlook and update us on the most pressing public policy challenges facing the Biden Administration. COVID had driven interest rates to historic lows coupled with the highest inflation rates in 40 years – now the Fed is poised to raise rates several times this year. With the U.S. facing oil shocks and supply chain shortages – what will all of this mean for your business? Woodward will also speak to the upcoming mid-term elections and what it might mean for tax policy changes, financial services reform, and many other public policy issues. She is a member of the company’s Management Committee, Operating Committee, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Committee, and also serves on The Diversity Council, and the Travelers Foundation Board. Prior to this role, Woodward worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. for ten years. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Woodward worked on Capitol Hill for 12 years, as Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee working for Chairman Bill Roth, where she was instrumental in creating the Roth IRA. She also was the Chief Economist for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the U.S. House Budget Committee under Chairman John Kasich. You won’t want to miss this kick-off session! Click here to see the event website and register. Our room block at The Breakers is currently full, and we are actively working a waitlist. However, we encourage you to register as rooms should open up as plans change closer to time. We have opened a block of rooms at the nearby West Palm Beach Hilton for $199/night++. Click here to book online or call the hotel directly at 561-231-6000, Option 1, or
1-855-757-4985 and be sure to share the GBA Group Code ZGB to get our group rate. A hearty thanks to our sponsors: American Bankers Association; Aubrey Thrasher; Crowe; CRS Data; DA Davidson; DDI Technology; Discover Debit; EBS; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FHLBank Atlanta; FHN Financial; First National Bankers Bank; Holmes-Shaw Agency/PointeNorth; Jack Henry Banking; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co.; Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC; Primax; Profit Resources, Inc.; Qualtik; ServisFirst Bank; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; SouthState Bank; The Baker Group; Travelers; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders; Truist Securities; United Bankers Bank; Warren Averett CPAs & Advisors; and Wipfli. Click here for sponsorship info. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad. 


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Securing a Strong Retirement Act Passed by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the Securing a Strong Retirement Act as an important step towards the retirement legislation package, with a final vote of 414 to 5.


The bill expands access to workplace retirement plans and protected lifetime income products. If it is passed by the Senate, it will expand automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans by requiring plans to automatically enroll participants upon becoming eligible unless they opt out. The bill also enhances retirement plan start-up credits and increases the required minimum distribution age to 75. The legislation package also provides support to workers with student loans by allowing employers to match their loan repayments with retirement contributions. Many provisions in the legislation were developed in cooperation with the retirement industry.


The bipartisan legislation will deliver benefits to workers and retirees who have anxiety over having enough income in retirement. The U.S. Senate praised the House’s vote and is expected to approve the bill as well.


GBA Retirement Services will continue to monitor the legislation and will update our Trust members of any changes impacting their 401(k) Plans. Through our Managed Account Solution and quarterly retirement projections for each participant, participants in the GBA Master Trust have higher retirement projection success rates than industry averages. Approximately 65% of participants in the GBA Trust are projected to replace 70% of their income in retirement, while industry averages are around 25% to 30%. If you would like GBA Retirement Services to assist with your next plan review, we can provide a detailed fee and investment comparison of our 401(k) services to your current plan. Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information.


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Security Conference April 11-13

ATM Crimes, Business Email Compromise, Policy Overview Sessions

There’s still time for bank security officers to register for the GBA Security Conference coming up April 11-13 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. This year’s program is chock full of helpful content. Experts will be covering the latest in ATM crime trends, security technology updates, elder fraud protection, internal fraud prevention and investigation and preventing business compromise. See the full agenda here. Get more details and register for the conference here.


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GBA Partner Promontory MortgagePath

Building Your Franchise Value in 2022 with Mortgage Lending

Historically, community banks have held a smaller share of the mortgage market when compared to larger banks and independent lenders, leaving many wondering if the investment in mortgage lending will be worth the reward. At the same time, community banks are reluctant to hand over customers to a competitor — especially for what’s likely to be one of their largest financial transactions. Recently, GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath spent time on a deep dive analysis into mortgage industry trends and 2022 forecasts. We encourage you to take a look at their recorded session here. With questions, please contact Promontory’s Jordan Higgins, 570.850.7655, Jordan.higgins@mortgagepath.com.


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IntraFi® Assetpoint® Connects Buyers and Sellers of Bank Assets

IntraFi® Assetpoint® is a single point that connects buyers and sellers of bank assets locally, regionally, and nationally. IntraFi Assetpoint can help you build valuable connections by providing personal introductions to banks that have identified themselves as having complementary loan interests. Learn more about loan purchase programs below that can help you meet your balance sheet and profitability goals.

IntraFi Assetpoint is brought to you by IntraFi® Network. Please contact Danny Capitel, 703.292.3476, to learn more.


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In-Person Skill Building

Lending, Call Report, IT Security Seminars Coming Soon

Register now for these in-person seminars to help sharpen your skills

  • Lending Focus: Loan Documentation Seminar - April 27: Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, leads this one. Prevention of loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is the objective of this seminar.


  • Finance: GBA’s Call Report Seminar April 13 will walk participants through a detailed line-by-line review of the commonly completed Call Report schedules with helpful tips for reporting individual items. Michael Gordon and Kris Trainor of Mauldin & Jenkins are our experts.


  • Info Security Officer Secrets and Trends: At our Information Security Officer Seminar April 27, Safe Systems’ Tom Hinkel will explore exam expectations and how the pandemic changed the ISO function (sponsored by Safe Systems)

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Recruit, Retain and Develop the Best Bankers with GBA Career Solutions


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 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’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:


Dublin - Morris Bank

The bank recently presented a check for $2,893.60 to the Kid’s Cup community closet in Dublin. These funds were raised during the annual Shamrock Your Ride event, hosted by Morris Bank during this year’s St. Patrick’s festivities. Kid’s Cup is a local community closet in Dublin created to serve foster and kinship families, as well as biological families in crisis, by providing clothing, toys, books, toiletries, school supplies, and more completely free of charge. Read more here. Pictured from left: Roger Miller (Morris Bank), Nichole Padgett (Morris Bank), Tami Wavrick (Morris Bank), Pam Otts (Kid’s Cup), Janice Nazerian (Kid’s Cup), Noah Hester (Morris Bank).


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Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

Senior Vice President and Director of Guaranteed Government Lending Sherry Martin was selected as a member of the Buckhead Leadership Class of 2022. 


Blakely - OneSouth Bank

David Gilliam has been named vice president, Leesburg City president. Brandi Hayes has been named assistant vice president, loan operations manager.


Bremen - American Commerce Bank

Shelia Mauk has joined the bank as a teller.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

Pineview Branch President Joey Bloodworth retired on March 31 after 45 years at the bank. Read more here.


Eatonton - SunMark Community Bank

The bank recently announced a new loan production office at 1124 Lake Oconee Parkway in Eatonton. Jesse McMillen has joined the Eatonton team as a commercial lender, and Mike Rountree also joined the team as a business development specialist.


Molena - First Bank of Pike

Our sympathies to President and CEO John Barker, his family and co-workers on the death of John’s father and former president of the bank, Johnny Barker. “Johnny was the consummate community banker. I remember his telling me one time when he wasn’t taking out the trash, he was making loans. During his 50 year career in banking, he graduated from the Georgia Banking School and the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. Outside the bank he served many years on the Molena City Council and as mayor. I learned something new every time we visited. We’re fortunate he passed along to John his love for the industry and desire to give back as John currently serves as chair of our Community Bankers Committee and is on the GBA Board of Directors,” said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. More…


Atlanta - Affordable Equity Partners

Cory Burdette has joined the company as director.



Martin Gilliam Hayes Mauk



Bloodworth McMillen Rountree Burdette



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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