April 22, 2022 

Get out the Vote with Democracy Days

Georgia’s primary elections are just a little over a month away, and this is a big election year with all of Georgia’s state constitutional offices up for grabs, a U.S. Senate seat to be decided and competitive races for many U.S. House seats. We’re again doing our Georgia Bankers Democracy Days get-out-the-vote campaign. Sign up to participate and we’ll send you materials that include:

  • A sample employee newsletter article or e-mail about the key dates and your company’s participation

  • A flier you can post in your offices or hand out to customers with key dates and resources

  • A business-card-sized reminder to vote you can print and pass out in the days before the election.

  • A news release announcing your participation in the campaign

  • A list of possible Tweets or Facebook posts for social media – don’t forget the #GABankersVote hashtag

  • Specialty logos

  • A flier with quotations about voting from prominent Americans.

Sign up for Georgia Bankers Democracy Days Here.


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Leader Updates

Inflation, New Fed Nominee, NSF Resource, Invasive Species Alert

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

  • Inflation – We shared some insights from economists about inflation as well as the results of the latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Survey. Thirty-one percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem encountered in operating their business, an increase of 5 points from February.



  • NSF Resource – We shared, with permission, an ABA resource related to the regulatory focus on NSF fees. The analysis outlines the issue and provides suggestions to bankers for an approach.


  • Invasive Species Alert – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources requests that people in southeast Georgia, especially in the Toombs and Tattnall counties area, be on the lookout and report sightings of Tegu lizards, an invasive non-native species. The lizard, which can grow up to 4 feet long and weigh over 10 pounds, eats gopher tortoises, wild turkeys and ground-nesting birds. Report Tegu sightings through this link, by emailing gainvasives@dnr.ga.gov, or by calling 478.994.1438.

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


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Rural Banking in CFPB Spotlight

The CFPB this week issued a study about financial challenges for people in rural communities. It notes a general preference in these communities for physical bank branches even though many live more than 10 miles from an actual bank branch, more local usage of non-bank credit sources and a high prevalence of unpaid medical bills as issues. CFPB says it will do more outreach to better understand rural issues, including boosting awareness of its complaint tool to gather more information from rural areas. We’re digging in to the report for some more Georgia-specific analysis we’ll share soon.


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Related: Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20

How Our Ports Support Georgia’s Agribusiness Industry

Get the latest on just how critical Georgia’s ports are to a thriving agribusiness industry by attending our Rural Development and Lending Conference coming up. Stacy Watson of the Georgia Ports Authority will present the closing session at the conference. GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Other sessions an ag economy briefing, peanut, timber and other crop updates and a technology update. Get more details and register here.


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Last Call for Two In-Person Seminars

Info Security and Loan Doc. Seminars

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.


  • 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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Beige Book

Business Activity Expands

Business activity in the Southeast across all industries including energy expanded from mid-February through March, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book out this week. Sixth District banking conditions were categorized as stable, with consumer lending leading overall loan growth. Housing demand remained strong, with supply limitations suppressing sales. And, unstable global energy markets are affecting the region’s oil producers and refiners. Read more here.


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Resource from Associate Member Onovative

Six Strategies for Leveraging Your Financial Literacy Program

As a trusted community advisor, banks are a valuable resource to raise awareness and encourage financial action through financial literacy programs. Not only will financial literacy programs help your account holders make wise financial decisions and foster good-will but will also result in more profitable account holders. Check out six key strategies from Onovative to help you incorporate financial literacy topics into your overall marketing plan and drive results from your bank in this article.


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Leadership Conference – Join the Great Crowd Already Registered!

We’ve got a super crowd already signed up to attend our 2022 Leadership Conference, July 11-13, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, but there is still room for you and your family! Built for your bank or company’s emerging leaders, the event features educational sessions led by experienced bankers, industry experts and leadership professionals. Networking time is purposefully built in to the schedule to facilitate professional and personal relationships and family time. Families are encouraged to attend, and children may attend both evening events (additional fee). Exhibit space and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Click here to explore the conference website, register, see hotel information, or reserve your exhibit booth or sponsorship. A limited number of rooms are still available in the GBA block. A huge shout-out to our sponsors: Anthem, Aubrey Thrasher, LLC; CRS Data; CSRA Business Lending; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP, 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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Make Plans Now to Attend August Women in Banking Conference

Calling all Georgia women bankers and associate members! Be sure your late summer plans include GBA’s annual Women in Banking Conference, Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. We’re excited that almost 50 of you have registered and are looking forward to the opportunity to meet, learn, share and network with fellow women bankers from across our state. The conference agenda is taking shape, and will include an encore appearance from Travelers’ Joan Woodward, who will share her economic, public policy and political outlook. GBA’s SVP of Government Relations Elizabeth Chandler will give us the 4-1-1 on all things GBA and an Executive Leadership Panel will tackle issues such as career pathing, onboarding, the Great Resignation, succession planning and more. We'll also have sessions on CRM and Project Management. And, our closing session will feature Laura Whitaker, CEO of ESP (Extra Special People), who was thrust into a leadership role at the age of 19 and has an incredible story to share about her journey and growth as a person and leader. Click here to access the conference website and get details about registration and hotel reservations. 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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ABA Insurance SafeTalk

Use This Checklist to Adequately Secure Vacant Properties and Mitigate Losses

Banks are highly susceptible to experience loss on vacant properties due to increased exposure to fire, water damage, vandalism or theft. It is important to regularly check and maintain bank-owned properties to ensure that they are adequately protected and in good condition. Consider installing closed circuit TV cameras, as well as other smart monitoring technology to stay alert on any changes to the building conditions. The following checklist provided by GBA partner ABA Insurance Services is meant as a guide for properly securing vacant foreclosed properties, but can serve as a guide for any vacant bank-owned property. Click to view and print the checklist. For questions ABA Insurance’s professional lines, bond, cyber or P&C programs for banks, please contact Catherine Kopera at 216.220.1321, or ckopera@abais.com.


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Save the Date! GBA 2022 President/CEO, Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conferences

GBA’s premier annual gathering of Georgia bank presidents, CEOs, bank executives, bank accountant section members, and bank counsel members is coming your way this fall. Be sure your calendar is marked for Sept. 25-27. We’ll be back at the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds at Lake Oconee for these conferences. The conferences will include everything you’ve come to expect and appreciate – quality educational sessions, informal networking time and time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Lake Oconee. Registration and the room block will open in mid-May. Watch for an announcement in this bulletin and by email. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad


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Incident Response, Leadership, E-Sign and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

See the full slate of upcoming webinars 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:


Athens - First American Bank & Trust

On April 19, the bank hosted the University of Georgia National Championship Trophy.


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Atlanta - Atlantic Capital Bank, a Division of SouthState Bank

Congratulations to past GBA chairman Sonny Deriso (1999-2000), who was recently awarded the 2022 Lifetime Service Award from the Albany Chamber of Commerce.


Chattanooga, TN - First Volunteer Bank

First Volunteer Bank will rebrand to Builtwell Bank in 2022, unifying the look and feel of the bank’s 24 branches spanning 11 counties in Tennessee and Georgia. Read more here.


Columbus - Synovus

Synovus Financial Corp. was named by the Technology Association of Georgia as one of the Top 41 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia. Read more here.


Greenville, SC/Tupelo, MS - United Community Bank and Renasant Bank

Forbes in collaboration with market research firm Statista recently released its 2022 list of the “World’s Best Banks.” Of the 75 banks in the United States that made the list, United Community Bank ranked third and was the top bank with a regional Southeast presence. Renasant Bank also made the list, ranking sixth. See the complete rankings here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

The bank has expanded its Merchant Services division with the addition of two industry veterans, Randy Walkwitz and Christina Levay, as Merchant Services Sales Representatives. Read more here.


Thomasville - TC Federal Bank

The bank recently announced its expansion into the Jacksonville, FL, market. Leading the Jacksonville team as market president will be long time local banker Jeff Weeks. Read more here.


Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins

Mauldin & Jenkins was recently awarded a Top Workplaces 2022 honor by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The list is based on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. Read more here.


Washington, D.C. - American Bankers Association

Kirsten Sutton has been named executive vice president of congressional relations and legislative affairs for the American Bankers Association. Read more here.



Deriso Walkwitz Levay Weeks Sutton



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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