April 29, 2022 

GBA Schools Sessions Set to Start Sunday

Our classrooms will be bursting at the seams, in a good way, in Athens Sunday as this year’s Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School sessions get underway. The banking school enrollment this year is 135 students and the Compliance School roster stands at 22, making this year’s total enrollment one of the largest in at least a decade. There are also about 70 faculty members – including bankers, university professors and Associate Member experts – who instruct students. Look for coverage in the next couple of weeks about this year’s sessions and student honors awards.


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Carver State’s James Added to FDIC Community Banking Committee

We were glad to see news this week that Robert James II, executive vice president for Carver State Bank, is one of seven new members of the FDIC’s Advisory Committee on Community Banking. Composed of a cross-section of community bankers from around the country, the FDIC’s Advisory Committee shares input on a broad range of community bank policy and regulatory matters. James is also Chairman of the National Bankers Association, so he brings Georgia and national perspectives to the committee that will be helpful to the FDIC. The next committee meeting is May 3. The Advisory Committee will meet to discuss local banking conditions, and FDIC senior staff will also provide updates on supervision and policy matters and the FDIC’s Small Business Lending Survey.  Read the full agenda here.


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Advocacy in Action

In Touch with Rep. Drew Ferguson

GBA members caught up with U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA3) recently at First Bank of Pike during a small break in the U.S. House of Representatives’ schedule. Rep. Ferguson is the senior-ranking Georgian in the House Republican Conference, for which he serves as the Chief Deputy Whip. In addition to discussing the banking landscape, we heard about the general outlook for the congressional calendar through this year’s elections as well as his optimistic outlook thereafter. Bankers who met with Rep. Ferguson were John Barker, First Bank of Pike, Molena, and First National Bank of Griffin’s Chuck Copeland and Kelly Smith. They joined GBA’s Joe Brannen and Elizabeth Chandler for the discussion. We appreciated Rep. Ferguson's time and insights as we navigate GBA advocacy efforts for the year. With questions, please call Joe Brannen at 404.401.0274 or Elizabeth Chandler at 404.372.7893.


(From left) Barker, Copeland, Ferguson, Chandler, Smith, and Brannen


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Action Alert

Support the SAFE Banking Act

GBA this week joined bankers associations from every state in urging U.S. Senate leadership to include the SAFE Banking Act as part of another significant legislative package. U.S. House and Senate members are in negotiations to reconcile their respective versions of the Americas Competes Act, and they are considering adding the SAFE Banking Act as part of the package. Read our letter here. Please join our advocacy efforts by reaching out to our two Senators and your U.S. Representative in support of including the SAFE Banking Act. The SAFE Banking Act provisions would allow banks to serve legitimate cannabis businesses in states where it is legal. The bill has strong bipartisan support and has passed the U.S. House six times. Contact your member of congress here.


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Reminder: Get out the Vote with Democracy Days

Georgia’s primary elections are just a little less than 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 a variety of materials  you can use and customize. Sign up for Georgia Bankers Democracy Days Here.


Related: Here’s a link to some additional get-out-the-vote materials from the ABA. You can select Georgia as your state for GBA-supported and branded information and materials.


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Member Profile

How Rachel Thompson Went from Cotton Scout to CFO

Rachel Thompson owns a peacock. Yes, you read that right, a peacock. And when she’s not minding the balance sheet or helping customers at Bank of Newington as its CFO, she’s working on her family farm raising cotton, cows and corn, among other things. Learn more about Thompson, who is vice chair of the GBA Agriculture Committee in this week’s member profile, including her first job as a 14-year-old cotton scout, a really neat story of a long-time customer relationship and some other unique pastimes.


Related: GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference is coming up May 19-20 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Register today!


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Leader Updates

DOR Date Match, Juneteeth Holiday, PPP and Men’s Health

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

  • DOR Data Match Update – We continue to work with the Department of Revenue on feedback about their Memorandum of Understanding they want bankers to sign to participate in the state’s mandatory data match for delinquent taxpayers. The DOR has responded to our feedback and discussions are ongoing. Stay tuned.


  • Juneteenth – We’re polling members about their plans to observe the new Juneteenth federal holiday which is to be observed Monday, June 20.


  • PPP – We shared information from the SBA related to it being released from its liability of PPP loan guarantees in certain situations and how lenders should handle requests from SBA of duplicate files for loans under review. We also shared the latest SBA report on overall PPP forgiveness.


  • Troubled Debt Restructurings (TDRs) – The Financial Accounting Standards Board announced earlier this month that it would end TDR accounting for companies that have already adopted the current expected credit loss (CECL) accounting standard. We included some commentary about what the announcement means for members, provided by Associate Member representative to the GBA Board, Ron Mitchell at Mauldin & Jenkins.


  • Men’s Health Quiz – With many bankers and families covered by GBA Insurance Trust healthcare plans, we shared some insights into men’s health trends, including a quiz that may be helpful in starting productive conversations with your doctor. Take the quiz here.

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


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Be On Alert for Savings Bond Fraud

Fraudulent redemption of United States Series EE and Series I Savings Bonds is on the rise, and bankers have been asked to be on alert for bad actors in this space. The U.S. Department of Treasury issued a recent alert that confirms it is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize counterfeit bonds. It issued a detailed tips and tricks document to help bankers and others identify potential fake bonds. Share this document with your folks who can help spot the fraud.


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How the Economy is Affecting Georgia’s College Students

As graduation season is upon us, many bankers and their customers have kids about to enter college, about to move into the workforce as young professionals or take on post-graduate studies. Georgia Public Broadcasting this week carried a good story about the challenges for students in managing their finances with rising tuition, food, energy and other costs. It’s a good trend to note as you look to serve and provide financial services to you student customers and their parents. There are likely opportunities for you and your bank to help. Read the article here.


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Chime in to Compensation Survey

We encourage members to help you and your peers get a clear picture of the compensation environment in Georgia by taking part in the 2022 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey. Data collection 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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Reminder: Complimentary GBA Member Decals Available by Request

We have heard recently from a few GBA member banks needing additional GBA member decals to display on the doors and drive-through windows at their branches. If your bank needs additional decals for new locations, or to replace torn or faded decals, please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com, and we’ll be happy to send you some more.


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Bankers Enjoy Lending and Info Security Seminars

Two different groups of members met in Macon to learn and brush up on skills Wednesday. We appreciate Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, for sharing his wisdom with those attending his popular Loan Documentation Seminar. And Safe Systems’ Tom Hinkel provided a critical update on Information Security Officer duties and expectations for his seminar attendees.


Loan Documentation Seminar Information Security Officer Seminar


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Hightower, Stevens teaming up for Strategy Session at Annual Meeting

One of the spotlight sessions for this year’s GBA Annual Meeting will be a big-picture overview of key strategic topics on the minds of bankers and board members. Leading the discussion will be GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower, Partner with Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP, and James Stevens, partner with Troutman Pepper. They’ll cover the challenges and some creative thinking about how to best meet today’s challenges to maximize the success of your bank. They’ll cover the regulatory environment, the M&A and capital-raising landscape, talent acquisition and the ever-evolving use of technology in banking. Don’t miss it!  Click here to see the detailed annual meeting agenda and to register. Thank you to these associate members who are supporting the event through sponsorship: American Bankers Association; Aubrey Thrasher; Crescent Mortgage Company; 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; NXTsoft; 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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GBA Partner Dart Appraisal Offers the Best Custom Appraisal Management Solutions

Longtime partner Dart Appraisal is the GBA’s recommended independent Appraisal Management Company (AMC) for a number of reasons. Dart employs a dual approach to appraisal management - superior client service and advanced technology. They have designed both process and infrastructure to ensure strict compliance to all state and federal regulatory requirements as well as appraiser independence. Dart also utilizes innovative technology to manage appraisal orders in real-time while centralizing all appraisal communication. This commitment to sound appraisal management through the perfect blend of people and technology is unsurpassed, and is what continues to set Dart Appraisal apart from other AMCs. Let Dart get your bank’s appraisal management process on target. Visit www.dartappraisal.com to learn more, or contact Dart’s Michael Dresden at mdresden@dartappraisal.com.


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Registration to open in mid-May!

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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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, 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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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: We have a designated disaster area close by and were wondering which activities in these areas would qualify for CRA Community Development? 


Answer: There are a variety of activities relating to designated disaster areas (DDA) that may qualify. Loans, investments/donations and services that revitalize or stabilize DDAs may be eligible for CRA consideration if the activities:

(1) help attract new or retain existing businesses or residents; and

(2) are related to disaster recovery.

For example, qualifying activities could include a loan to a business affected by the disaster that would otherwise have to close; an investment in a municipal bond that will rebuild essential community buildings that were destroyed by the disaster; providing financing for rebuilding needs; or delivering financial expertise to an organization providing housing for displaced residents. The activities must generally occur within 36 months of the disaster declaration to be eligible to receive consideration; however, the agencies can extend this period for exceptional situations, such as where there is a demonstrable need in a particular DDA that requires longer-term assistance. Banks subject to CD evaluation are encouraged to monitor and document activities in DDAs that may be considered in their next CRA exam.


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



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CRE Lending, Credit Admin, Onboarding, ACH 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:


Gainesville - Peach State Bank & Trust

The bank’s employees recently spent time volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank recently participated in the 100 Pound Food Challenge sponsored by the Hawkinsville/Pulaski Animal Control, and over 100 pounds of food was collected.


Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County

The bank recently made a donation toward scholarships for Sr. Achievement and Volunteerism within Pickens County 4-H.


Swainsboro - The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro

Members of The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro Student Advisory Board recently participated in the Emanuel County Cleanup Day.



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Atlanta - Multiple Members and Associate Members

Leadership Atlanta recently announced the names of 86 community leaders selected to participate in the organization’s Class of 2023 Program, including the following GBA member bankers and Associate Members: Bank of America Market President and Diverse Segments Business Development Executive Al McRae, an incoming GBA board member; PNC Bank Senior Vice President, Regional Sales Executive Laura Brown; Truist Bank Senior Vice President Shannon Longino; Wells Fargo Senior Vice President, Business Growth Strategy Director Hugh Rowden; Alston & Bird LLP Partner Jeremy Silverman; Fiserv Senior Vice President, Head of Global Corporate Citizenship Vivian Greentree; and Georgia Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Christopher Nunn.


Blairsville - River City Bank

Katie Mashburn has joined the bank as assistant vice president, senior personal banker and branch development officer at its full-service Blairsville office scheduled to open in early June at 206 Highway 515. Read more here.


Dublin - Morris Bank

Bryan Hutto has been promoted to accounting analyst and appointed as an officer.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Treasury Solutions Implementation Analyst Tim Richardson was recently interviewed by Georgia CEO about the consultative approach the bank takes with customers. See the video here.


Gainesville - Peach State Bank & Trust

Bank President and CEO Ron Quinn recently published a guest column in the Gainesville Times titled “Wild cards continue to pile up in heavyweight economy.” Read more here.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

The bank announced this week that its Northside office will close Oct. 28, 2022, and all of its Northside office employees will relocate to other locations in Milledgeville. Read more here.


Statesboro - Morris Bank

Josh Durrence has been promoted to information security officer.


Valdosta - Colony Bank

Richard Welch has been promoted to Valdosta market president.


Vidalia/Lumber City - Mount Vernon Bank/Bank of Lumber City

Mount Vernon Bank and Bank of Lumber City this week announced the proposed merger of their banks. They have agreed to merge subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, as well as other customary closing conditions. Read more here.


Atlanta - Crescent Mortgage Company

Past GBA chairman Spence Mullis of Morris Bank in Dublin recently joined Skip Wilcox of GBA Associate Member Crescent Mortgage Company on Skip’s new podcast to discuss the bank’s corporate culture program Code B.L.U.E. You can listen to it here.


Bloomington, MN - United Bankers’ Bank

Rachelle Nelson has been elected to the United Bankers’ Bancorporation, Inc. and United Bankers’ Bank Boards of Directors. Read more here.


Dublin - U.S. Congress

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of former U.S. Representative and Georgia General Assembly member J. Roy Rowland, M.D. who died this week. Read more here.



McRae Brown Longino Rowden Mashburn Hutto


Richardson Quinn Durrence Welch Nelson Rowland



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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