Feb. 18, 2022  

GBA Priority Bills Moving Forward

Members of the Georgia General Assembly were in session three days this week and completed Day 18 of their 40-day session when they adjourned Thursday. The pace of activity is growing as more committees are perfecting bills and sending them on to the House and Senate Rules Committees to schedule floor votes. The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing and reported GBA’s two priority bills of the session. Other bills we’re monitoring are moving along and we’ve added more bills to our tracking list this week. We will report more in our Legislative Update we’ll publish Friday.


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Beware of Avian Influenza

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black asked us to help him spread the word that Georgia poultry producers should take steps to help avoid an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Commissioner Black says that HPAI has been identified in commercial poultry operations and a backyard flock in Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. There have been no reported cases in commercial flocks in Georgia. However, if the virus is detected in any Georgia flock, the steps to prevent further spread of the disease are dramatic and could be extremely costly for the poultry industry and state’s economy. Bankers are urged to share the alert and information in the following links with their poultry industry customers and those you know with backyard flocks.

Related: 2022 Rural Development and Lending Conference - May 19-20, St. Simons

The 2022 Rural Development and Lending Conference is May 19-20 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. The GBA Agriculture Committee, led by Nic Worthy, Colony Bank, is putting the final touches on the agenda, but here is a quick overview of sessions planned. All agriculture lenders and anyone involved with business development in rural markets will benefit from attending.

  • Timber Update

  • Agriculture Economic Outlook

  • Crop Insurance

  • Peanuts Update

  • Legal Update

  • Technology Trends

Get details and register for the conference here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Record Crowd Attends Symposium

More than 100 GBA members from the Southeast part of Georgia took part in this year’s Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium Feb. 16. It was a record crowd for the 10th edition of the event, which was first held in 2011. “The tremendous turnout for this year’s Symposium is just further evidence that this event is a wonderful opportunity to share timely and important information with bankers in the region, as well as an opportunity for bankers to get together and learn from each other. It’s also a valuable mechanism that helps the Parker College of Business here at Georgia Southern maintain and enhance our relationship with Georgia’s banking industry. The more connected we are with the financial services industry and the more we understand the environment, the more effective we can be in preparing Georgia Southern’s students to enter the professional business world,” said Don Cox, director of Georgia Southern’s Center for Excellence in Financial Services. In addition to helping plan the program, Cox provided an economic update focused on regional trends as the closing session of the program. This year’s agenda honed in on other topics critical to member banks, as well. GBA’s Joe Brannen and Deputy Banking Commissioner for Supervision Melissa Sneed covered the current banking environment in the state. They highlighted overall performance, GBA state and federal advocacy issues, and credit, operational and regulatory risk trends. Bank talent recruitment and small business development are also key issues, and the partnership with Georgia Southern for the event gave the university an opportunity to share resources with members. Danielle Smith, director of Experiential Learning and Corporate Relations, Georgia Southern University, highlighted best practices about how to work with GSU to usher new talent into banking careers through internships and job placement opportunities. On the small business front, Valerie McElveen, area director for the university’s Small Business Development Center provided information on the consulting services the SBDC provides for businesses in the 13-county area surrounding Statesboro. Attendees also heard from Parker College of Business Dean Allen Amason, about all the college is doing to prepare students for success in business. Thanks to sponsors South Auction, a GBA Strategic Partner; Aubrey Thrasher, LLC.; Coastal Area District Development Authority; and Securitas Financial Services.



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Volunteer or Nominate a Fellow Banker to Serve on a GBA Committee or Board

If you are one of 300+ GBA members who serve on one of our 25 committees or boards, you know the value and benefit of being involved, in-the-know and connected. Not to mention serving your professional association by working together to promote the general welfare and usefulness of banking in Georgia. Thinking about getting more involved, but not sure how? Right now, GBA is looking for bankers and associate members to share their time and talent on one of our committees/boards (or to nominate a fellow banker or member). The time commitment for most committees and boards is very manageable and our members tell us they get so much more out of the experience than they are required to give. Take a look at all the opportunities by clicking here. You can also access the volunteer/nomination form through that link. Response deadline is April 4. Have questions? Contact GBA’s David Oliver. Also, we’ll be glad to connect you to a current committee/Board member who can answer your questions.


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GBA Retirement Services 401(k) Website Changes to American Trust

Participants and sponsors in the GBA Master 401(k) Trust will receive notification by email about the upcoming branding change of our investment manager and Trustee, Unified Trust Company. Unified Trust merged with American Trust recently, and they are finishing the last phase of the transition to American Trust. The participant and sponsor website will change later this month from www.unifiedtrust.com to www.americantrust.com. If you are using the www.MyGBA401k.com web link, you will be directed to the right place automatically. Those who use www.unifiedtrust.com will also be navigated to the correct page automatically. Participants will continue to use their same login information to access their accounts. While the website will have a new look, most of the features and reports will remain the same, with some enhancements to navigation links. We are excited that our program continues to evolve with technology, and the focus on participant success remains our priority.

Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 with any questions or for more information on the partnership with American Trust.


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The winning team from
Peach State Bank & Trust

Georgia BankPAC Shooting Clays Tournament a Huge Success

The fifth-annual Georgia BankPAC Shooting Clays Tournament was Feb.10 and drew our largest crowd yet, with 95 participants out to enjoy the beautiful day at Old Hudson. This fundraising event benefits the Georgia state BankPAC, which contributes to candidates running for state-level offices such as the Georgia General Assembly, Governor, Lieutenant Governor and other constitutional officers. We’d like to extend a special thanks to our Leadership GBA Board members, who planned, hosted, participated and volunteered at the event. They had a huge impact on making the event successful and we appreciate their hard work. Thanks to Nancy and Neil Bush at Old Hudson, who did a great job for us again this year. Here are the winners: 

  • Highest Team Score: Peach State Bank & Trust team, with shooters Blake Cheek, Joe Hatfield, Jimmy Perry, and Hugh Smith.

  • Highest Individual Score: Three perfect scores led to a tiebreaker shootout between Blake Cheek (Peach State Bank & Trust team), David Clymer (Citizens Bank of Georgia team), and Justin Johnson (Citizens Bank of Americus team), with Justin Johnson pulling out the victory.

  • Long Bird Contest: Joe Hatfield.

  • Cotton Drop Contest: Danny Minick.

Thanks to our sponsors! Bank of Madison; CashTrans; CBSi; Citizens Bank of Americus; CSRA Business Lending; Durden Banking Co., Inc.; FHLBank Atlanta; First American Bank & Trust; Flint Community Bank; Guardian Bank; Heritage Southeast Bank; Mauldin & Jenkins; Northeast Georgia Bank; River City Bank; ServisFirst Bank; and Steve H. Powell & Co.


Mark your calendar now for Leadership GBA’s fall BankPAC fundraiser, the BankPAC Golf Classic, Wed., Oct. 19, at the River Forest Club in Forsyth. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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CFPB Launches New Public Pathway to Petition New Regulations

There’s a new process the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says is designed to make it easy for anyone to directly submit a petition for rulemaking to the CFPB. There’s an email address, petitions@cfpb.gov, as well as a process for hand- and courier-delivered petitions. Members of the public can request that the agency pursue a new rule, amend an existing one, or repeal a rule, the agency said. And, it will also require companies, government agencies, trade associations, lobbying firms and others to submit their petitions through this channel, as well. Get more details here.


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The King & Prince

Concurrent Conferences - March 23-25, St. Simons

Hotel Deadline Next Week for HR Professionals Institute and Marketing Conference

There are only a few days left to book your hotel rooms at the discounted group rate for the GBA HR Professionals Institute and Marketing Conference, which will take place concurrently on March 23-25 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. Feb. 22 is the hotel deadline, so make your reservations now!

  • HR Professionals Institute: Planned by the GBA HR Committee, led by Tonya Brooks, Citizens Bank of the South, this conference is the top learning experience for Georgia bank human resources professionals. Content includes information about effective policies and procedures essential to developing, attracting and retaining team members, managing compensation and benefits programs and establishing a winning culture for their banks. Peer networking and idea-sharing flourish during the institute. HR directors and staff at all levels should attend. Get all the details and register here.


  • Marketing Conference: Planned by the GBA Marketing Committee, led by First National Bank of Griffin’s Andrea Griffin, this conference is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank Marketing professionals. Content includes the latest information about branding, business development, product and service marketing, social media and other channels, messaging, community programs, measurement and tracking and more. Peer networking and idea sharing flourishes during the conference, forging relationships and opportunities for further growth. Chief marketing officers and marketing professionals at all levels should attend. Get all the details and register here.

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2022 Security Conference - April 11-13, St. Simons

Georgia's Premier Conference for Bank Security Pros Coming Up Soon

The 2022 Security Conference is April 11-13 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. The GBA Security Committee, led by David Griffin, Colony Bank, is putting the final touches on the agenda for Georgia’s premier conference for everyone who has bank security responsibilities. Here’s an overview of session topics:

  • Policies & Procedures Workshop

  • ATM Crimes

  • Technology Trends Panel Discussion

  • Elder Fraud Update

  • Business Email Compromise

  • Legal Session

  • Internal Fraud Investigations

Get available details and register here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Early-bird tuition pricing ends Feb. 28!

Hurry! Slots Filling Up Fast for the 2022 Georgia Banking School

The Georgia Banking School is more than just the curriculum. It is learning the best from the business of banking and networking with peers from around the state of Georgia. As a reminder, we have limited space again this year and slots are filling up fast for new students. The Georgia Banking School Board has worked hard on the curriculum, and this year’s on-campus sessions will cover the latest essential skill and trends for effective bank leadership. There's simply no better comprehensive program for emerging career bankers. Enroll by Feb. 28 for early-bird tuition pricingGet Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Lessons of the Heart from GBAIT Partner Wellview

GBA Insurance Trust’s partner in health, Wellview, has designated the month of February as Heart Healthy Month. Every day, our hearts beat 100,000 times and pump 2,000 gallons of blood. That’s 2.5 billion heart beats and 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime. To show our hearts a little appreciation for their hard work, see below for some heart health resources that are simple reminders of what many of us already know but could always use a refresher on.

GBA Insurance Trust provides health insurance and wellness plans for 182 member companies and about 13,000 members and their families. Contact Lee Monroe and Jayn Lawson for information.


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CECL Streamlined: A Free Webinar Series for 2023 Adopters from GBA Partner Abrigo

CECL Streamlined is a webinar series developed and led by consultants from GBA partner Abrigo’s team, who have helped hundreds of institutions to successfully implement CECL. This four-part series will cover major steps and milestones in chronological order to ensure 2023 filers stay on track and feel confident in their CECL transition. Each live session is eligible for one NASBA CPE credit. Learn more about each session below, and click here to register. Also, remember Abrigo’s GBA-endorsed ALLL and CECL software is a vetted, innovative, and intuitive solution that over 1000 financial institutions already trust. Contact Laura Wahl at laura.wahl@abrigo.com or 919.906.5649, to learn more.

March 22 @ 2 p.m.

In this session, learn how to decide what data and other information to incorporate in your CECL estimate.

April 19 @ 2 p.m.

In this session, learn best practices for identifying potential peer institutions for your estimation.

June 28 @ 2 p.m.

In this session, learn techniques to calibrate the historical loss basis to anticipated economic conditions.

July 21 @ 2 p.m.

In this session, we will get into the "nuts and bolts" of using two methodologies to sensitivity test our decisions to different environments.

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Enroll by Feb. 28 for discounted tuition!

2022 GBA Compliance School to Teach Masterful Strategic Compliance Management

This year’s session of the GBA Compliance School (May 1-6 at the University of Georgia in Athens) builds on a student's basic foundation by providing practical applications for overseeing individual lending, deposit and operational regulations as well as for your overall compliance management program. Students will learn how to maintain an on-going, proactive compliance management program and provide additional tools to put in your toolbox that will help to protect against the potential storms, but it is also an opportunity to develop peer networks that are vital to navigating through compliance challenges and obstacles. There's only a little more than one week left enroll in the GBA Compliance School at the early-bird discounted tuition rate, which ends Feb. 28, so don't delay enrollment!


Who should attend? This session, designed by compliance pros on the GBA Compliance School Board, is perfect for those who attended Year 1, those who previously graduated from a GBA Compliance School and experienced compliance officers looking for continuing education credits. GBA will apply for CRCM credits through ABA.


GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here.


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5 Frequent HMDA Reporting Questions from GBA Partner Compliance Alliance

Just after the New Year, things typically start to heat up for HMDA reporting, and below are five questions related to HMDA reporting that the team at Compliance Alliance has been hearing a lot. These are just a few of the various questions that can come up when trying to prepare the HMDA LAR. Also, remember that Compliance Alliance members who have questions about HMDA reporting or how to report it on your LAR, have unlimited access to compliance hotline specialists who can help figure out if something is reportable, and if so, how to report it.

  • What if more than one institution is involved?

  • What do I report for the application date?

  • Is a loan secured by a mixed-use property HMDA reportable?

  • Is this structure considered to be a dwelling?

  • Is my short-term loan exempt as temporary financing?

Compliance Alliance has answers to these five questions in their Feb. 2022 newsletter here. With questions about how to join the Compliance Alliance, please contact Director of Membership Development Brittney Stacey at 512.776.0713 or brittney@bankersalliance.org or Director of GBA Member Services Bo Brannen, bbrannen@gabankers.com.



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One/Two Day Trainings through April: New Year, Time to Train



Recordings included with registration!

In-person Seminars

All seminars will take place at Middle Georgia State University, Macon

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Stock up with Webinar Subscription Packages

Save 10-30% with a subscription package

If your institution attends at least five webinars per year, a webinar subscription package is a no-brainer! Click here for more info.

How much does your financial institution spend on training? With a webinar subscription package, we can help you greatly reduce that expense. With over 300 titles on our website, Bank Webinars is your one stop shop for all your webinar needs! The average financial institution spends thousands of dollars on every employee for training per year. We want to help you provide all the training your employees need at a fraction of that price. See our full calendar of webinars here.


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Leadership Conference - Registration Coming Soon

We’re getting excited about GBA’s 2022 Leadership Conference, July 11-13, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. Hosted annually by the Leadership GBA Board of Directors, this conference is a must-attend for long-time and newbie participants alike. Who should attend? This family-focused conference is perfect for young or newly appointed c-suite bankers, senior officers, department heads, leaders with community and government relations responsibility, business development officers, and anyone at the bank interested in growing their leadership skills. If you’re making travel plans now, the conference will kick off on Monday night, July 11, and close Wednesday night July 13. July 14 is a travel day.  We are working on the event website now, and plan to open registration and the room block in early March. We will send an email announcement out, so watch for that. Sponsorships and exhibit booths are still available and may be reserved by completing the form in our involvement kit; click here for details. A big thank-you to our sponsors already on board: CSRA Business Lending; Elliott Davis; FHLB Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Pearl Meyer & Partners, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; Qualtik; ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP; and Wipfli. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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


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 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’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:


Columbus - Synovus Bank

The bank this week announced the commitment of $1.76 million in philanthropic giving to support education, needs-based, and health and wellness causes. The 278 recipients of the corporate donations include organizations with local or regional impact across the Synovus footprint. Read more here.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank helped celebrate the grand unveiling of the Love Locks fence in downtown Hawkinsville by handing out free padlocks to the first 20 visitors.



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Hahira - Citizens Community Bank

Jaime Gibbons and Lee Beth Smith have both joined the bank team as vice president/commercial loan officer.


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Robert Blair has joined the bank as a consumer-small business lender in the Bulloch County market area. Read more here.


Macon - American Pride Bank

Staff Accountant Blair Liles was recently elected as a banking officer. Credit Department Manager LaQuanda Billingslea has been promoted to senior vice president. Human Resources Officer Mary Ellen Levie has been promoted to vice president. Log Cabin Branch Customer Service Manager Belinda Marquez has been promoted to assistant vice president.


Rome - River City Bank

Cody Ching has joined the bank as AVP, mortgage loan officer for the bank’s Blairsville market.


Savannah - Great Oaks Bank

Dylan Brinkley has been promoted to vice president, commercial relationship manager. Read more here.


Statesboro - Citizens Bank of the South

Bank Marketing Director Mandy Fortune was recently recognized as one of the Statesboro area's Most Influential Women in the Jan/Feb 2022 edition of Statesboro Magazine. Read the article here.


Valdosta - Commercial Banking Company

Dean Daniels has joined the bank team as lending officer and vice president in its Moultrie location. Rex Dorsey joined the bank team at the end of 2021 as a mortgage lender.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

The bank this week introduced its new mortgage division, Remarkable Mortgage, which will serve home buyers across the southeast with a customer-first approach to custom mortgage solutions.


Atlanta - Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Rob Klingler recently joined the firm as a partner. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Katerina Taylor was recently interviewed by Georgia CEO about the process for companies looking to create a DE&I roadmap. Watch the video here.



Gibbons Smith Blair Liles Billingslea



Levie Marquez Ching Brinkley Fortune



Daniels Dorsey Klingler Taylor



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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