April 15, 2022 

Advocacy in Action

GBA, Industry Pushing Back on CFPB Attack on Fees

This week GBA signed on to a joint comment letter with 50 other state bankers associations and the ABA challenging the CFPB’s recent request for information on a variety of fees for financial products and services. “[T]he RFI makes clear that the bureau has already drawn a series of deeply flawed conclusions regarding the market for consumer financial services and the use of fees in the market,” the letter says. “An RFI that asks for ‘stories’ about fees that ‘you believed were covered by the baseline price’ or ‘unexpected’ or ‘seemed too high for the purported service,’ and closes by asking how the bureau should ‘address the escalation of excessive fees’ is not a search for the facts, but instead is a solution in search of a problem.” It also points out fact-based evidence that consumers understand disclosures banks provide based on regulations administered by CFPB, and a majority of consumers appreciate and value the services provided. Read the letter here.


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Security Conference Heavy on Intel and Resources

The take-home list of good ideas and intelligence for protecting bank employees, customers and assets was long for the big crowd of Georgia bank security professionals that came to the GBA Security Conference this week. “This was my first GBA conference, and I can’t say enough great things about it! It was so well organized with every detail accounted for. I was blown away by the quality of speakers who were brought in for this conference. There were so many great takeaways that I will be able to implement in our own shop,” said Jim Brown, Moultrie Bank & Trust (in organization). The event started with a workshop full of policy and procedure updates and resources presented by Morris Bank’s Pete Stuart, United Community Bank’s Jay Rajaee, Altamaha Bank & Trust’s Brian Frederick and Pinnacle Bank’s Jenn Whitmire. Attendees also were treated to a thorough review of ATM crime trends and prevention techniques by the FBI’s Torrence White and KR Olson, followed by a tech trends panel with Chris Lower, CBSi; Monica Gleerup, Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; and Travis Collins, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company. And, the latest elder fraud prevention and awareness techniques were covered by Larry Lawrence of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The conference’s closing day covered business email compromise with Secret Service agents Stephen Dougherty, Brian Truax and J. Craig Reno. How to handle customer information when dealing with law enforcement was covered by GBA Bank Counsel Section member Corrie Thrasher of Starfield and Smith, and Truist Bank’s Bill Galipeau delivered a full overview of how to build a successful internal fraud investigation program. We were also supported by a large group of exhibitors – see their information here. Congratulations to Security Committee Chair David Griffin of Colony Bank and the entire committee for a successful conference.



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Leader Updates

DOR Data Match, CD Volume, M&A Trends, Political Polls and More

Our series of regular email updates to CEOs, committee members and other key leaders continued this week. Topics included:

  • DOR Data Match – Details were shared about work underway asking the Department of Labor to adjust language in a Memorandum of Understanding it has distributed about complying with the new, required delinquent taxpayer data match program.


  • CD Volume – Data from S&P Global Market Intelligence shows how CD volume has shrunk nationally. CDs now represent 6.5% of total deposits, compared to 14.9% at year-end 2019, while borrowings have fallen to just 0.9% of total liabilities from 2.9% at year-end 2019.


  • M&A – We shared an overview provided by Associate Member Performance Trust about first-quarter M&A activity overall. Of the 42 first-quarter transactions, eight were in the southeast and two were here in Georgia.


  • Political Polls – Recent polling data from Nexstar Media shows Gov. Brian Kemp has an 11-point lead over his primary challenger, former Sen. David Perdue. In an imaginary general election matchup with the unchallenged Democrat nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams, Kemp bests Abrams 51% to 44% and Perdue leads Abrams 49% to 44%. In the U.S. Senate primary races, Sen. Raphael Warnock leads the challenger among 85% of those polled. On the Republican side, Herschel Walker polled at 57% compared to his closest challenger, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who is polling at 13%. In an imaginary general election matchup between Warnock and Walker, it’s Walker leading 49% to 45% for Warnock.


  • Cryptocurrency – We shared a resource from Bank Counsel Section Board member James Stevens of Troutman Pepper about the FDIC’s requirement for banks getting involved with cryptocurrency to notify the agency.

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


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GBA Member Profile

Creating Normalcy for Customers during the Pandemic with Ryan Bateman

Bank of Hazlehurst Assistant Vice President Ryan Bateman learned during the height of the pandemic how much normalcy can help ease the community at a time when people couldn’t dine at their favorite restaurant, watch a movie at the theater or do many other things they had grown accustomed to being able to do. “It made me proud to be a part of the Bank of Hazlehurst when I watched our team make sure we provided services to the community as safely as possible. Maybe someone had to use the drive through to get a new debit card or make an appointment to be able to speak to a loan officer. Through the pandemic, we made sure that we were able to serve our community like so many other banks did across the state,” Bateman said. The Group 8 representative on the GBA Agriculture Committee shares about his first job at a Honda ATV and motorcycle dealership, the wisdom of trusting your gut, his process for cutting his own hair and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20

Timber, Peanuts and Crop Insurance Sessions to Shine

Popular and important sessions about key Georgia crops and risk management for customers are set for this year’s Rural Development and Lending Conference. Georgia has 22 million acres of commercially available, private timberland, more than any other state and ranks as a top harvester and exporter of forest products, so our timely timber update from Marshall Thomas of F&W Forestry in Albany will be helpful for bankers serving timber interests. We’ll also get a good overview of the peanut crop forecast from USDA’s Marshall Lamb, and Plenn Hunnicut of South Georgia Crop Insurance will touch on the key risk management programs and strategies for farmers. GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference is May 19-20 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Other sessions are an ag economy briefing, a technology update and how Georgia’s ports support the state’s agriculture economy. Get more details and register here.


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Eight GBA Members Recognized as Top-100 Performers in 2021 by S&P Global

According to analysis out this week from GBA partner S&P Global Market Intelligence, eight GBA members cracked the company’s lists of 100 best performing banks in 2021. Congratulations to the following GBA members and their leadership.


Best Performing U.S. Community Banks under $3B in assets:

#3 - First IC Bank, Don Kim, president and CEO, Doraville

#15 - Embassy National Bank, Nitin Shah, chairman and CEO, Lawrenceville

#57 - Quantum National Bank, Bryan Cohen, CEO, Suwanee

#99 - PromiseOne Bank, James Cho, interim president and CEO, Duluth

Best Performing Community Banks of 2021 $3B-$10B in assets:

#4 - Metro City Bank, Farid Tan, president and CEO, Doraville

Best Performing US Public Banks:

#25 - United Community Bank, Lynn Harton, chairman, president and CEO, Greenville, SC

#38 - Ameris Bank, Palmer Proctor, CEO, Atlanta

#42 - Synovus Bank, Kevin Blair, president and CEO, Columbus

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Annual Meeting Session Highlight: CEO Panel Discussion

One of the most highly-rated and anticipated sessions of our annual meetings is our CEO panel discussion. We’re excited to announce our lineup for this year’s CEO conversation. Rhodes McLanahan, president & CEO of First American Bank & Trust and chairman-elect of the GBA Board of Directors, will moderate. Joining McLanahan will be Lucie Beeley, CEO/COO and chairman of the Board of Directors of Georgia Community Bank; Bartow Morgan, president & CEO of Georgia Banking Company; and Philip Williams, president & CEO of The Claxton Bank. Don’t miss the opportunity to listen and learn from these professionals as they discuss top-of-mind issues and share their experiences, which you can use to lead and excel at your financial institution. Click here to see the detailed annual meeting agenda and to register. Thank you to these fabulous associate members who are supporting the event through sponsorship: 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.



Beeley Morgan Williams


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Data Flowing in for Compensation Survey

Join the many member banks that have begun providing data for the 2022 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey. Data collection began April 1 and continues through May 27. 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. Contact GBA’s David Oliver at doliver@gabankers.com or Pearl Meyer’s Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com to participate.


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Focus and Sleep Tips from GBAIT Partner Wellview

Check out these new health resources from GBA Insurance Trust’s partner in health, Wellview

  • Are you having a hard time focusing lately? Wellview has put together four tips for staying focused, including embracing break time and setting focus cues. Click here to learn more.


  • Are you losing sleep? Between work obligations and family life, it can be challenging to make sleep a priority. But you don’t have to completely change your lifestyle to get the recommended 7-9 hours every night! These tips can provide both short and long-term solutions to help you snooze better tonight.

Looking for one-on-one support? Schedule with a Wellview Health Advisor at my.wellviewhealth.com for guidance and support for anything on your mind! GBA Insurance Trust provides health insurance and wellness plans for 182 member companies and more than 18,000 members and their families. Contact Lee Monroe and Jayn Lawson for information.


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Register Today for Women in Banking Conference

Registration is open for GBA’s Women in Banking Conference coming up Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to meet, learn, share and network with other women who happen to be bankers from across our state. Click here to access the conference website and get details about registration, hotel reservations and the conference agenda. The Women in Banking Committee is finalizing the agenda, and we’ll share more about that in upcoming bulletins. Speaking of the Women in Banking Committee, we have several slots open on the committee for the upcoming GBA term (starts July 1). If you are interested in joining this outstanding group of accomplished professionals, or would like to nominate someone, complete this volunteer/nomination form and submit to Kathy Friestad at GBA. Those interested must have attended the conference, or plan to attend this year to be eligible. Thank you to our conference sponsors: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co; Abram Armored; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; Starfield Smith, PC, Attorneys at Law; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors. Questions about the conference or the committee? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: How often does a bank have to update its BSA risk assessment? Is it still 12 to 18 months?


Answer: It used to be 12-18 months in prior versions of the FFIEC Manual. However, you can see here: https://bsaaml.ffiec.gov/manual/BSAAMLRiskAssessment/01, that this was revised in the current version to reflect that "there is no requirement to update the BSA/AML risk assessment on a continuous or specified periodic basis."


Click here to read more and visit www.compliancealliance.com for more helpful Q&A resources.



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Important Update for GBA Members Shopping with GBA partner Office Depot

Members enrolled in GBA’s purchasing program with Office Depot’s Business Solutions Division please take note: beginning in May 2022, you will see a brand shift to ODP Business Solutions™. With the launch of this new brand, you will automatically be routed to Office Depot’s new and improved website www.odpbusiness.com (going live soon), where you will be able to place orders and take advantage of all valuable B2B services with your registered account. Future communications from ODP Business Solutions will come from new email addresses and will include a new logo on all billing materials. These changes should not cause any interruptions to your service, but please visit their Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the new brand launch, including new billing and invoicing information, new website, etc. With questions, please contact Office Depot’s Talitha Searcy at talitha.searcy@officedepot.com, 512.651.2579.


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New FDIC Resources for Financial Capability Month

The FDIC has added a new suite of 14 self-paced online games to its Money Smart curriculum. April is National Financial Capability Month, and this is one of many financial literacy resources GBA supports for member banks and consumers. Find out more about all of the programs and resources for bankers on our Financial Literacy section of the GBA website.


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Bananas, Baking Soda, and Bank Marketing

By Neal Reynolds, president, BankMarketingCenter.com

What do bananas and baking soda have to do with bank marketing? I thought you would never ask. A good bank marketer can take a product that many people think of one way and sell it in many different ways. So, let’s go back to my question above and we’ll start with the bananas. Click here to read more from Reynolds’ latest blog post and visit www.bankmarketingcenter.com for more great marketing ideas.


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Lending and Info Security Seminars Coming up

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

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


  • Info Security: 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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Coaching, BSA/AML & OFAC, Marijuana, ACH Origination and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

See the full slate of upcoming webinars here.


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American Mortgage Conference April 25-27

GBA is proud to be among the state bankers associations co-presenting The American Mortgage Conference this year. The conference, April 25-27 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, brings together leading experts in the financial services industry, mortgage practitioners of every kind, policy makers and investors to discuss important issues in the mortgage field and to analyze what progress is being made in Washington. Our colleagues at the North Carolina Bankers Association organize the event each year, which has become the go-to gathering for mortgage professionals nationwide. Get details and register here.


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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:


Atlanta - Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo and Operation HOPE, Inc., a national non-profit creating financial empowerment for underserved communities, recently announced plans to introduce HOPE Inside centers in 20 markets that will serve as many as 150 Wells Fargo branches and their surrounding communities across the country by the end of 2023. The new HOPE Inside centers will feature Operation HOPE financial coaches who will help empower community members to achieve their financial goals through financial education workshops and free one-on-one coaching. Starting in April, the first HOPE Inside centers will be launched in the Atlanta, Houston and Oakland markets. By the end of 2022, HOPE Inside centers will be expanded to Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, N.J., Camden, N.J., Phoenix and Gallup, N.M. Read more here.



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Atlanta - BankSouth

Travis Whiddon has joined the bank as commercial relationship manager.


Cairo - United National Bank

Jane Trulock, executive vice president and chief financial officer of United National Bank, will celebrate her 50th anniversary of service on April 17. Read more here.


Greenville, SC - United Community Bank

The bank recently ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Consumer Banking in the Southeast according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, marking the eighth out of the last nine years that the bank has received this recognition and the third consecutive year. Read more here.


Lawrenceville - Embassy National Bank

Steven Smith has been named president of the bank.


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company

Merritt Garrett has been named At Work Banking and Financial Literacy Program Coordinator of the bank’s rural region. Read more here.


Atlanta - Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

Sam Mahler has joined the bank as vice president, director of government and industry relations.



Whiddon Trulock Smith Garrett Mahler



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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