Aug. 19, 2022 

Committee Chair Lori Tucker
kicks off the conference

Women in Banking Conference Leaves Attendees Renewed and Energized

We had another record crowd at last week’s Women in Banking Conference at Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA. Almost 125 women members from around the state gathered to benefit from educational sessions, roundtable discussions and networking time. The energy level was high throughout the two-day meeting, which featured a look at the national economic and political climate; a discussion about customer relationship management; an executive leadership panel discussion, which delved into “people-side-of-the-house” issues such as employee retention, career blueprinting, culture building, and more. There was also a hilarious look at work-life balance from Augusta’s VeryVera Stewart, Southern cooking show host, entrepreneur, caterer, cookbook author and mentor. The conference ended with an impactful and emotional talk from Laura Whitaker, CEO and co-founder of ESP (Extra Special People). Attendees enjoyed coffee from Java Joy, a mobile coffee cart operated by ESP’s “joyristas,” who were some of the extra special people who Laura shared stories about. Click here to see photos from the conference. A final shout-out to these associate members who supported the event through sponsorship: Gold Sponsors: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., Nelson Mullins, and Wipfli, and Silver Sponsors: Abram Armored; Carr, Riggs, Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; Starfield & Smith, PC; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett CPAs & Advisors. Next year’s conference is slated for Aug. 10-11 at Chateau Elan, so mark your calendar now! Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.



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School Prep a Priority at Banking School Board Meeting

The Georgia Banking School Board met this week in Forsyth to knuckle down on planning for the 2023 school session. Board members, who are peer bankers who volunteer to design the school experience, spent the day reviewing the curriculum for each of the three class groupings, setting faculty members, adding new courses and adjusting others based on student feedback. “It’s always fun for the board to meet and map out the next session of the school for our members. It energizes us as bankers and educators. We always tweak things so the course work is fresh and relevant to the most current industry conditions. Enrollment has been solid the past couple of years and we’re excited to keep that momentum going,” said Synovus Bank’s Darron Burnette, who is the chair of the Georgia Banking School Board. Invest in your career or the career of a key developing team member by registering. Registration will open soon and demand will be high for spots in the first-year class, so be ready to enroll as soon as possible. Get details about the school here.



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Leader Updates

Rankings, Call to Action, Business Sentiment and Political Analysis

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

  • Ranking Banking. We shared detail showing how Georgia stacks up in terms of the number of banks doing business here and headquartered here compared to other neighboring states. Georgia remains a leader in banking in both regards.



  • Oppose Card Routing Bill. Members of Congress need to hear from bankers opposing the proposed legislation to mandate multiple routing networks for card transactions. Weigh in here.


  • A Peek Inside. We were pleased the recently passed/signed Inflation Reduction Act does not include a provision to have banks report transactions to the IRS to help catch tax cheats, an idea we all rallied to quash in the early stages of the legislation’s development. There are provisions in the bill of importance to members. One of the provisions directly affecting some of our members is a 1% excise tax on stock buyback plans for all public companies which would include SEC-reporting and OTC-traded banks and bank holding companies if the buyback is valued at $1 million or more annually. Consult your tax counsel for applicability to your institution.


  • Survey Says… We shared NFIB’s latest Optimism Index gauging the sentiments of small business owners about the state of the economy. July’s Index rose ever so slightly from the June index and now stands at 89.8. The 48-year average of the index is 98.


  • Politics. We shared some analysis by a consultant for Democrats about whether recent legislation considered wins for the Biden administration and potentially peaking inflation are creating momentum for party candidates in midterm elections.

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


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Regulator Issues Bank Accounting Update

OCC-regulated bank members and bank accounting firms serving those members will want to take a look at updated information from the OCC this week. The latest update of the OCC’s Bank Accounting Advisory Series clarifies the application of accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on topics such as the amortization of premiums on debt securities with a call option over a preset period and lessors' classification of certain leases with variable lease payments. Access the info here.


Related: GBA’s Bank Accountant Conference is Sept. 25-27, along with the President and CEO and Bank Counsel conferences. Details here.


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IRS Pre-Examination Compliance Program for Retirement Plans

The IRS recently announced a new compliance program that will give plan sponsors an opportunity to correct mistakes in their retirement plan at a reduced cost and avoid a full IRS examination. If you receive one of these letters, the IRS opens a 90-day window giving you time to: 1) review plan documents and operations, 2) determine if you meet current tax law requirements and 3) self-correct any mistakes that qualify under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS).


Your response to the IRS letter should show: 1) No mistakes were found, 2) Mistakes were found and self-corrected. (provide the details of the error and correction), or 3) Mistakes were found but do not qualify for self-correction. In this case you may request a closing agreement in which the cost could still be much less than if the IRS found the mistake during an exam.


Once a response is submitted to the IRS for review, they will either issue a closing letter or conduct a limited or full scope examination. The intention of the program is to reduce taxpayer burden and shorten the time spent on examinations. If you do not provide a response, you will be contacted to schedule an examination, so it’s always best to be proactive and take immediate action if you receive one of these letters.


For plans that are part of the GBA Master Trust, GBA Retirement Services and American Trust will always assist in providing the information for audit requests by the IRS, DOL, or FDIC. Please reach out to us if you receive one of these letters. We maintain all plan related records and can make this process much easier for you.


If you have any questions about this new program, or if you would like GBA Retirement Services to assist with your next plan review, please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information.


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Lending/Credit Education Focus

Three Great Lending & Credit Related Programs Available

We’ve got several opportunities coming up for some solid development for bank lenders and those looking to build a career in lending.

  • Senior Lending Officer Roundtable openings: Get in on some invaluable peer connections and best practices sharing by taking part in one of our four Senior Lending Officer Roundtables. We’ve got spots available for the 2022-23 program year. Each of the tables meets three times annually, with the first of this year’s program meetings taking place Oct. 24-27. If you’re interested in a seat, see all the details here. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


  • Breaking in to Commercial Lending 101: New or aspiring lenders will want to sign up for our day-long virtual course covering all the basics an early-career lender needs for success. The course will be Oct. 26. Get details and register here.


  • Credit Conference, Dec. 1-2, Atlanta: Our annual two-day conference covering all things credit and lending for Georgia bankers is coming up. Get details and register here.

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Customized for Georgia Law

Opening New Accounts Documentation and Compliance Seminar - Sept. 13, Macon

Managing risk is the #1 priority for all financial institutions, and it all starts at the new account desk. Join us Sept. 13 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon for the popular Opening New Accounts Documentation and Compliance Seminar with Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting. Join a growing group of you peers for this full-day in-person workshop, customized to Georgia state law. Jones teaches essential new account opening procedures, best practices, and compliance requirements. It answers complex questions asked by customers and staff while focusing on vital information for every new account type. Learn more and register here. 


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Breaking Compliance Conference News

CRCM Credits Approved for Compliance Conference

The American Bankers Association (ABA) Professional Certifications has approved the GBA 2022 Compliance Conference for 11.75 CRCM credits (APPROVED NON-ABA CE). So, chalk that up as added incentive to join your fellow Compliance professionals Oct. 19-21 for our annual Compliance Conference at The Westin Jekyll Island. Visit the conference website here for more details about all the sessions on the agenda, our hotel and to register. A big thank you to our confirmed conference sponsors. Platinum: Steve H. Powell & Company; Gold Sponsor: Ncontracts; Silver Sponsors: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors, Mauldin & Jenkins, Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors and Wipfli. Sponsorships are still available. We also have a few slots left for exhibitors.


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The Westin Atlanta Perimeter

Register now!

Interest Rate Risk Strategies in Focus for FRM Conference Coming up

Member bankers with CFO and responsibilities and other key finance team members are invited the GBA Financial Risk Management Conference at The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, Nov 3-4. We are finalizing the agenda but have confirmed the following sessions and speakers:

  • Economic Outlook, Lindsey Piegza

  • Creating Value, Christopher Marinac, Director of Research, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Atlanta

  • Swaps in 2022: Managing Interest Rate Risk in the Midst of Volatility, Bob Newman, CFA, Managing Director, Financial Institutions, Chatham Financial

  • Panel discussions to include: Capital Planning, moderated by Jonathan Hightower; ALM Panel; and Liquidity and Investments Panel, moderated by Curtis Whitaker.

Get all the details and register here.


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Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1

Employee Benefit Selections are Easy and Affordable with Holmes-Shaw

The partnership between GBA and the Holmes-Shaw Agency was forged in 1965 when the agency began offering employee benefit solutions to community banks throughout Georgia. Recently, Holmes-Shaw, as a member of and through PointeNorth Insurance Group, LLC, has expanded its product offerings to include Property & Casualty products to all GBA Member Banks. Some of these products include:


  • Personal & Corporate Life Insurance

  • Individual & Group Medical Insurance

  • Short Term Medical Insurance

  • Individual & Group Dental Insurance

  • Group Life & AD&D Insurance

  • Individual & Group Long Term Disability Income Protection

  • Group Short Term Disability Income Protection

  • Individual & Group Long Term Care Protection

  • Individual & Group Cancer Insurance

  • Vision Insurance

  • Retirement Planning

  • Health Savings Accounts

  • Health Reimbursement Accounts


Together, Holmes-Shaw through the GBA Insurance Trust, offers benefits to 130 Georgia banks and approximately 10,000 employee lives, helping the Georgia banking community protect one of its most important assets, its employees. With questions or to learn more about how Holmes-Shaw can help your company enhance its benefit program, please contact Bruce Shaw at, or 770.642.2150.


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Cybersecurity Focused Content

The Information Security Officer (ISO) Seminar - Oct. 4, Macon

Josh Dasher and Emily Strickland, senior compliance specialists for Safe Systems, will explore exam expectations and how the pandemic changed the ISO function in the Information Security Officer 101 Seminar: The "Why" and "How" of this Critical Position, set for Oct. 4 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. They will cover the key responsibilities of an ISO and the ISO’s role in interacting with stakeholders. This seminar is designed for new and experienced ISO’s, but compliance officers, audit committee members, IT Steering Committee members and network administrators will benefit as well from attending this seminar. Get all the details and register here.


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IRA Advanced Update & Review Virtual Seminar - Oct. 13, Zoom Webinar Format

In the past two years, banks have probably fielded a lot of questions from customers regarding the many IRA changes and, most specifically, about how they affect beneficiary payouts. In addition, there were 275 pages of new “proposed” regulations expected to take effect for 2022 beneficiary distributions that were released in February. These new rules change beneficiary payout options – again – to almost a hybrid form of pre-2020 rules and beginning in 2020 rules. Bank teams must know these new rules or else beneficiaries may be skipping annual death distributions when they should actually be taking them. In this informational session, Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. will detail the SECURE Act 1.0 and 2.0 changes and other enacted rules in reference to future planning for clients. Each paid participant will receive a newly updated 280-page IRA Training and Reference Manual. Click here to register.


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GBA Members: Take these Easy Steps to Access Big Discounts from Office Depot (ODP)

Longtime GBA partner, Office Depot, recently rebranded as ODP Business Solutions and, with this transition, it is a good time to remind GBA members to enroll in our National Purchasing Program. It is an easy process!

  • Simply complete and return the form linked here, and return it to Bo Brannen at

  • Once your conversion request form is processed you will receive an email from asking you to click on an approval link.

  • Once you approve the request your account will have access to GBA’s contract pricing and benefits. Your Account Manager and account settings will not change. The only change you will notice is a reduced monthly spend (most banks on this program save at least 20%) and ‘Best Value’ icons when shopping online, which designate when an item is part of GBA’s discounted core list.

Click here for a complete overview of our Purchasing Program. With questions, please contact Kimberly Gilbert at, or 855.337.6811, ext. 12815.


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Save the Date – Oct. 13

Registration Open for South Georgia Community Bank Symposium

It’s time to register for the South Georgia Community Bank Symposium. Register here. The event, co-hosted by GBA and Valdosta State University’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, will be Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Valdosta State University Student Union building. We’re firming up the agenda, but already confirmed as guests are Melissa Sneed from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance for a supervisory update and Jonathan Hightower of Fenimore Kay Harrison to talk strategy. We’ll also have key representatives from Valdosta State on the program for their insights on economic and business conditions as well as ways for bankers to connect with the university and students. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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Reg. E Best Practices, Credit Analysis, Check Fraud Checkup 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:


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

The bank recently announced the Ameris Down Payment Grant Program, committing $10 million in grants over the next three years to eligible first-time homebuyers for down payment and closing cost assistance.




Atlanta - Bank of America

The bank recently announced more than $1.2 million in grants to 53 Atlanta nonprofits to help drive economic opportunity for individuals and families. Grants focus on workforce development and education to help individuals chart a path to employment and better economic futures, as well as basic needs fundamental to building life-long stability. Read more here.




Atlanta - First Carolina Bank

The bank recently partnered up with the Atlanta Children's Shelter to provide backpacks and supplies for students returning to schools around the city.




Macon - Cadence Bank

The bank recently donated $5,000 to the Brookdale Resource Center through the United Way of Central Georgia. Read more here.



Soperton - Georgia First Bank

The bank recently provided breakfast from Chick-fil-A at Wheeler County Elementary School to kick off the school year.



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GBA Newsmakers


Augusta - Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co.

Jeff Dorn has recently been promoted to lead the bank’s residential construction lending department for the Augusta market. Read more here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Christian Ruppe has joined the bank as chief innovation officer, senior vice president. Read more here.


Greenville - United Community Bank

George Bell has been appointed to the board of directors of United Community Banks, Inc. Bell is an experienced information technology professional and has more than 25 years of experience in financial services, previously working for Truist, BB&T, and Bank of America. He most recently served as executive vice president - Software Engineering Group head and business management manager at Truist.


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co.

Chief Operations Officer Kim Kirk was recently featured in American Banker discussing smaller core alternatives. Read the article here (subscription required).


Bloomington, MN - United Bankers’ Bank

Alan McLean has joined United Bankers’ Bank as senior vice president, operations director. Read more here.



Dorn Ruppe Bell Kirk McLean



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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