Feb. 4, 2022  

General Assembly Addressing GBA Priority Bills

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Tuesday through Thursday this week. Both of GBA’s priority bills have been reported from committee and are slated for floor action in the House next week. We added more new bills to our tracking list this week ranging from time-share foreclosures to prohibiting local governments from restricting rentals on residences. Be looking for our weekly Legislative Update we’ll publish Friday with all the details.


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Donahue leads the meeting

Women in Banking Committee Huddles

Oconee State Bank’s Cristi Donahue chairs GBA’s Women in Banking Committee, which met Thursday to map out programming for the coming year. The programming from this group is proving extremely popular, with strong attendance at last year’s Women in Banking Conference and virtual series in the fall. Up for discussion at this meeting was a review of the committee’s goals and purpose statement, filling upcoming committee openings through the GBA volunteer process and brainstorming ideas for the 2022 conference. If you’re interested in volunteering for the committee, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, and go ahead and mark your calendar for the conference Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan in Braselton.


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PPP Forgiveness Update

More than $688 billion of $790 billion in PPP loans has been forgiven, according to the latest data from the Small Business Administration. More than 4,770 lenders nationwide have requested forgiveness for all the PPP loans they made, and 83% of all loans have submitted forgiveness applications. For the loans made in 2020, 95% of the total value has been forgiven, and for the 2021 vintage, 68% has been forgiven. More details here.


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Senate Holds Hearings on Fed Nominees

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which includes Georgia Sen.’s Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, held hearings Thursday on the nominations of three key nominations to the Federal Reserve Board. Sarah Bloom Raskin is nominated to to be Vice Chairman for Supervision and a Fed Governor, Dr. Lisa Cook is nominated to be a Fed Governor, and Dr. Philip Jefferson is nominated to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Hearings for the other Fed nominees, Jerome Powell as Chairman and Lael Brainard as Vice Chairman, were held in January. The committee is expected to vote on all five of the nominations Feb. 15, with a full Senate vote likely to come shortly thereafter.


Raskin Cook Jefferson


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Bitcoin Mining a Thing in Georgia

The Federal Reserve recently published a discussion paper examining the pros and cons of a possible U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and we’ve noted bank interest in trading and other cryptocurrency opportunities for customers. Interestingly enough, Georgia has a role in the continued emergence of the cryptocurrency marketplace. For example, there’s a significant Bitcoin mining operation near Sandersville, and the Washington County Economic Development Authority says the mining operator projects they will eventually cover 15 acres, employ 100 people and invest more than $600M in their operation. Here’s a look at the facility. We also understand from conversations with members there may soon be a similar facility announced in another Georgia location.


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State Elder Fraud Protection Courses Scheduled

The early 2022 schedules of the impactful and popular courses for bankers and other mandatory reporters of suspected elder financial fraud are now available. The schedules are for classes through April. Certified At-Risk Adult Crime Tactics Specialist (CACTS) training is a two-day, 12-hour course (schedule here), and the REACT classes are one-hour sessions designed for anyone with mandated reporting responsibilities (schedule here). There is no cost for either class. If you have any questions, please contact David Blake of the Georgia Department of Human Services’ Forensic Special Initiatives Unit, David.blake@dhs.ga.gov.


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GBA Member Profile

The Value of Broad Experience in Banking with Dana White

AB&T Senior Vice President for Operations, Compliance and Information Systems Dana White grew up spending time at the bank where her mother was a commercial teller and attending bank-hosted events. She found she was skilled at math, so when she started college, she applied for a part-time teller job at the same bank. Within a year, White was certain that banking was her passion, so over time she branched out from the role of a teller and gained experience in pretty much every area of the bank before she began her current position. “I feel that having a good understanding of all of the different positions/areas in banking really helps me create solutions for our clients and associates,” she said. White, who chairs GBA’s Operations and Technology Committee, shares the key piece of advice that has helped her in her career as well as her biggest pet peeve, first tap/click of the day and what she's doing when not on the job in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference is coming up later this month in Savannah. See the following article to learn more and sign up.


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2022 Ops/Tech Conference - Feb. 23-25, Savannah

How to Get your Team to Adopt New Software

You’ve found the perfect software solution and have a timeline for implementing it. The only obstacle between you and success -- management and staff acceptance. Don’t let initial resistance and apprehension derail your software project. Learn how to tackle this challenge and disarm employees’ concerns about new software in this informative session led by nContracts Shelby Montgomery. This is among many high-value sessions at The Operations and Technology Conference, planned by the Operations and Technology Committee, led by Committee Chair Dana White, AB&TClick here for all of the details and to register. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


Exhibitor Space Available

We have a great crowd of bankers registered, which makes for a valuable opportunity to network with bankers across the state of Georgia. Associate members are eligible to sponsorexhibit or both sponsor and exhibit.


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Georgia Southern

Almost Go-Time for Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium

We hope all bankers in Southeast Georgia will sign up for the return of the Southeast Georgia Bank Symposium in Statesboro Feb. 16. We’ve teamed up again with Georgia Southern University’s Don Cox to put together a really good program. Cox, director of the university’s Center for Excellence in Financial Services will present an economic outlook, Melissa Sneed from the Department of Banking and Finance will team up with GBA’s Joe Brannen for an industry and advocacy update, and we’ll get an inside look at how to partner with GSU to help small businesses and connect to emerging talent for your banks. Get all the details and register here.


Thank you to our sponsors South Auction, Securitas Financial, Aubrey Thrasher and Coastal Area District Development Authority (CADDA).


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2022 HR Professionals Institute - March 23-25, St Simons

Leadership Essentials for HR Pros

Chris DiLorenzo, president of The James Paul Group, will spend some time with us at upcoming HR Professionals Institute discussing Leadership. This is one of many valuable sessions at this year’s conference, planned by the HR Committee, led by Tonya Brooks, Citizens Bank of the South. The conference is March 23-25 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. Get all the details and register here.


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Marketing Conference – March 23-25, St. Simons

Practical Info, Big-Picture Thinking, Networking and More

Our specialized conference for Georgia’s bank marketers has plenty to offer this year. Participants will hear from the following: Stephanie Stuckey, CEO of the iconic Georgia brand that bears her family name; Michael Goldberg, an expert about making sure the bank’s brand as an employer is strong; a master-class in bank brand trends from FMS’ Sean Hockenbery; and an industry/advocacy update from GBA’s Joe Brannen. We’ll also have two peer idea exchanges to ensure plenty of best-practice sharing and helpful connections so important marketing pros. First National Bank of Griffin’s Andrea Griffin chairs the Marketing Committee, which developed the agenda. Get details and register here. Feb. 22 is the hotel cutoff, so make your reservations now.


Stuckey Goldberg Hockenbery Brannen


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Registration now Open for April 11-13 Conference

Sneak Peek at Bank Security Conference Agenda

The 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 a quick overview of session topics:

  • Policies & Procedures Workshop

  • ATM Crimes

  • Technology Trends Panel Discussion

  • Elder Fraud Update

  • Business Email Compromise

  • Legal Session

  • Internal Fraud Investigations

The 2022 Bank Security Conference is April 11-13 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. Get available details and register here.


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Georgia Banking School - Learning, Peer Networking, Growing

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 finalized 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. Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Registration now Open for May 19-20 Conference

Check out Topics for 2022 Rural Development and Lending Conference

The GBA Agriculture Committee, led by Nic Worthy, Colony Bank, is putting the final touches on the agenda, but in the meantime, 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

The 2022 Rural Development and Lending Conference is for May 19-20 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. Get available details and register here.


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Fun Video Contest for Teens Ready to Roll – Sign up

Here’s a good way to encourage young people in your community to think creatively about responsible money habits. Sign up to host a video contest at your bank through the annual Lights, Camera, Save! program. Register your bank to participate at no cost, and ABA Foundation will help make your contest a success, including:

  • A free “how to” webinar to get you started

  • Customizable marketing and promotional materials

  • Recognition for your bank, and $9,000 in cash prizes for the top three national winners.

All banks, regardless of GBA or ABA membership status, are eligible to participate. The contest opens for students to submit videos Feb. 21 and runs through March 31. Get more details and sign up here.


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Are Overdraft Programs Doomed? No, they are Not

by Cheryl Lawson, EVP of Compliance Review, John M. Floyd & Associates

Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its plan to “take action against large financial institutions whose overdraft practices violate the law” based, in part, on their analysis of Call Reports from the $10B and above financial institutions they supervise. Over the past few months, several of the nation’s largest financial institutions have announced how they plan to handle overdrafts, including some that have restructured their overdraft program with drastic policy changes. Interestingly, most of these are supervised by the CFPB. Many of the CFPB-supervised institutions do not disclose an overdraft limit or how their institution makes pay/return decisions as previously noted in GBA partner JMFA’s December Compliance Update. JMFA has been recommending a fully disclosed overdraft privilege program for over 20 years where consumers can opt out of the program or use it when they choose. The program’s approach has always been to provide information about alternative solutions before the information about the overdraft privilege service. In addition, JMFA provides a program that continuously updates consumer disclosures as regulations, technology or best practices warrant.


Click here to read more from Lawson’s update. To learn more about JMFA’s solution, please visit www.jmfa.com or contact Waid Thompson at 504.812.8099, Waid.Thompson@JMFA.com.


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GBA Compliance School - Year 2: Strategic Compliance Management

This year’s session of the GBA Compliance School builds on a student's basic foundation by providing more practical applications for overseeing individual lending, deposit and operational regulations as well as for your overall compliance management program. In the second year of compliance school, students 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.


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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Expect Even Greater Savings and More Bank-Specific Products

GBA’s Office Depot Program Just Got Better with a Revamped List of Discounted Core Products

GBA has partnered with Office Depot since 2013 to provide members significant discounts on a wide range of office and banking supplies, furniture, print and copy services, promotional products, break room provisions and more. This program combines the purchasing power of banks across the country and for 2022, we have revamped your list of over 1,300 discounted core items. In addition, our program has recently been designated by HP as a “Big Deal” member, bringing you significant savings on HP ink and toner. See the new list of core Office Depot products here. Other notable benefits of the program include:

  • Customize a discounted list of up to 75 additional items for your bank’s account

  • Find the ‘Best Value’ icon to find contractually discounted items

  • Free, next-day delivery on orders over $50 to most locations

  • Contract discounts extended to employees and board members.

If you’re not enrolled in our Office Depot purchasing group, now is a great time to review your current office supply program. Let us do a cost analysis of your supply spend to show you how much we can save your bank. Contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com to get started.


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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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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:


Atlanta - Wells Fargo

The bank announced a $20 million donation to help Atlanta small business owners own more of their businesses’ assets, including property and equipment, and to enable physical upgrades to their facilities. The United Way of Greater Atlanta, in collaboration with Invest Atlanta, will distribute the funding as a mix of grants and loans in the city, with a focus on Black-owned and other diverse-owned businesses. Read more here. We were invited to attend the event.

Wells Fargo Atlanta President Chad
and Joe Brannen


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Alma - Pineland Bank

Cameron Mayers recently joined the bank’s Baxley (Appling County) team as a consumer and commercial lender. Read more here. Lori Stokes has been promoted to lobby manager for the bank’s Alma location. Read more here.


Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

SVP and SBA Business Development Officer Kim Eells has been elected to the Georgia Association of Business Brokers Board of Directors. Read more here.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Nancy Jernigan has been promoted to Chief Credit Officer. Durand Childers has been promoted to Chief Banking Officer.


Calhoun - North Georgia National Bank

Mortgage Lender Ani Stengel was recently recognized by United Wholesale Mortgage for being in the top 1% of mortgage producers in 2021. Stengel finished the year with $20 million in loan volume.


Cumming - The Citizens Bank of Georgia

Lynn Jackson, the Chief Operating Officer and Administrator of Northside Forsyth Hospital, has joined the bank’s board of directors.


Greenville, S.C. - United Community Bank

Holly Hawse Berry has joined the bank as Chief Human Resources Officer.


Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County

Chief Credit Officer Lorrie Shaw was recently named Pickens County Citizen of the Year at the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet. Shaw is a member of the bank’s board of directors and serves in various roles in local civic organizations.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

The bank recently celebrated three employees who reached milestone employment anniversaries. VP, Retail Operations Rebekah Hammond (pictured below with bank President and CEO Neil Stevens) celebrated 25 years at the bank. Staff Accountant Joelle Yarbrough (pictured below with Stevens, CFO Jim McLemore, VP, Compliance and Audit Anna Mullis and other members of the bank's finance team) celebrated 20 years at the bank. Loan Operations Specialist Brittany Sincavage (pictured below with Stevens, Chief Credit Officer Tom Wilson and members of the bank's loan operations team) celebrated 15 years at the bank.


Athens - James Bates Brannan Groover, LLP

The company opened its newest office Feb. 3 at One Press Place, Suite 200, Athens, GA 30601.

National - Wipfli

Wipfli announced this week that the firm has been named to NYDIG’s Preferred Partner Program. NYDIG, a leading bitcoin company, delivers technology and financial services to businesses in a broad range of industries. Read more here.



Mayers Stokes Eells Jernigan Childers



Stengel Berry Shaw (center) Hammond (right)



Yarbrough (center) Sincavage (center)



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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