Jan. 14, 2022  

General Assembly Convenes

The General Assembly’s 2022 session convened Monday, Jan. 10. This is the second year of their two-year biennial. Legislators quickly introduced legislation they’ve been developing since last session, including the Banking Department’s annual housekeeping package. House Speaker David Ralston announced the new chairman for the House Banks and Banking Committee and Legislators met in joint session for the Governor’s annual State of the State address. We’ll publish our Legislative Update each week the Legislature is in session, so be looking for that in your inbox as we will include more details about all the goings on this week and major issues we expect to see debated. Legislators will be in recess next week to recognize the Martin Luther King Jr. Day and hold budget hearings the remainder of the week. Legislators will return for the 5th day of their 40-day session on Monday, Jan. 24. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Legislative Events Kick off 2022 Advocacy Efforts

A capacity crowd of members gathered Wednesday for the annual kickoff for GBA’s advocacy activities. Gov. Brian Kemp keynoted the Legislative and Economic Forum. In his talk, he voiced his thanks and appreciation for Georgia’s bankers for all their efforts to serve their customers and communities throughout the pandemic. He also outlined his major priorities for the legislative session, including a tax refund for all Georgians, pay raises for teachers, eliminating income taxes on retirement pay for military members and an ongoing effort to combat human trafficking. Jeffrey Dorfman, the state’s fiscal economist shared an economic forecast. He gave an overview of current employment, personal income, retail sales, saving and spending, supply chain and debt conditions. He said the chances of a recession in 2022 are low, but an economic slowdown is likely. Our look into the state of politics in Georgia came from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s lead political reporter Greg Bluestein. He gave an in-depth overview of the key issues for 2022 in terms of the legislative session and elections, with insights into the leaders and personalities that will shape the political landscape. We were also honored to have House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) address the membership. In addition to outlining his priorities for the session, he announced that he has appointed Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) to be chairman of the House Banks and Banking Committee. Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined us and highlighted that he was proud to work with the Governor and GBA to speak out against the Biden Administration’s plans to have the IRS monitor almost all transactions into and out of bank accounts. Carr also highlighted why he opposed the nomination of Saule Omarova as Comptroller of the Currency, citing her desire to change many aspects of the existing banking and financial system, including the current structure of national banks, community banks and fintech businesses. Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler highlighted the current strength of the state’s banking sector, noting that 95% of state-chartered banks are rated either 1 or 2 for safety and soundness. He also touched on some of the priorities for the department’s annual housekeeping package, which will include more than one bill this year. GBA Chairman Luke Flatt, AB&T, Albany, also announced a successful 2021 BankPAC Campaign, with eligible member companies and bankers contributing more than $266,000. The day concluded with our annual Legislative Reception that attracted a huge contingent of legislators and members of the executive and judicial branches of state government. “Those serving our state look to this as a signature event to start each legislative session because they get to connect with bankers and members who are in-tune with their hometowns and constituents. They appreciate each GBA member’s advocacy efforts to help them understand what’s important to our customers, communities, employees and shareholders,” Flatt said. “Thanks to all who attended and again made the day’s events a valuable part of GBA’s annual calendar.” A special shout-out to event sponsors FHLB of Atlanta and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division.



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Leadership GBA Board Huddles, Encourages Engagement

Our member-led group of emerging bank leaders gathered Thursday to talk about GBA’s programs for leadership development and begin planning the 2022 Leadership Conference. Leadership GBA Board Chair Jenny Wofford, Pinnacle Bank, led the meeting, which included members reviewing information they learned during the GBA legislative day events Wednesday, ideas for supporting leadership programs helpful to banks and ways to promote participation in several key programs and events coming up, which include:

Look for details about the Leadership Conference agenda soon. This year’s conference is July 11-13 at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. Registration will open soon. With questions, contact Kathy Friestad, 678-523-6407.


Special thanks to FHLBank Atlanta for hosting the meeting and providing lunch and refreshments.


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Remote Real Estate Closing/Notarization Rules Extended

Gov. Kemp and the Georgia Supreme Court continue to help facilitate real estate loan closings that have been disrupted by the pandemic. Both have extended orders to extend authorization of remote closings and notarization. The most recent orders issued by each are linked below. Your bank’s counsel can give you more information about how this affects you and your transactions.


Gov. Kemp’s order that includes remote closings and notarization provisions

Georgia Supreme Court order extending personal conduct adjustments necessary


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Synovus Among a Group Supporting Bank-minted Stablecoin

Georgia-based Synovus Bank is one of five FDIC-insured banks that has formed a consortium with the goal of building a network of banks to facilitate the adoption of USDF, a bank-minted stablecoin. Other founding members are New York Community Bank, Denver-based NBH Bank, Nashville-based First Bank, Montebello, New York-headquartered Sterling National Bank, Figure Technologies and JAM Fintop. The group said it intends to “significantly grow its membership of FDIC-insured banks through 2022 and beyond.” USDF will operate on the public Provenance Blockchain, will be minted exclusively by U.S. banks and will be redeemable on a one-to-one basis for cash from a consortium member bank. Read more here.


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The DeSoto

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

Detailed Agenda Now Available for 2022 Operations and Technology Conference

Check out the powerful line-up of speakers and sessions for GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference, which will be Feb. 23-25 at The DeSoto hotel in Savannah. The committee, led by Committee Chair Dana White, AB&T, Albany, has worked hard to create a timely and valuable agenda for this year’s conference. Sessions include:

  • Cryptocurrency and Emerging Technology

  • How to Get Your Team to Adopt New Software

  • Next Gen Payments Program: Are you Behind or Aligned?

  • Managing Your Core Vendor Relationships

  • Why Would You Need a FinTech Relationship?

  • Cybersecurity Discussion

  • Operational Efficiency Self-Assessment

  • Leadership

Click here for all of the details and to register. Associate members are eligible to sponsor, exhibit or both sponsor and exhibit. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Georgia Southern

Green Light 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.


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GBA Schools-Limited Seats, Register Now!

We are excited to be back in Athens again in May for both the Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School. As a reminder, we have limited space again this year and slots are filling up fast. The Georgia Banking School Board and GBA Compliance School Board have 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.

GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here.


With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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U.S. Mint Ships First American Women Quarters™ Program Coins

The U.S. Mint has begun shipping the first coins in the American Women Quarters Program. These circulating quarters honoring Maya Angelou are manufactured at U.S. Mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver. Coins featuring additional honorees will begin shipping later this year and through 2025. “It is my honor to present our Nation’s first circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history,” said U.S. Mint Deputy Director Ventris Gibson. “Each 2022 quarter is designed to reflect the breadth and depth of accomplishments being celebrated throughout this historic coin program. Maya Angelou, featured on the reverse of this first coin in the series, used words to inspire and uplift.” Read more here.


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The King & Prince

Registration Now Open for Concurrent GBA Conferences

The 2022 HR Professionals Institute and Marketing Conference will be held concurrently March 23-25 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons.

  • HR Professionals Institute - March 23-25, The King and Prince, St. Simons
    The GBA HR Professionals Institute is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank Human Resources professionals. Programming covers the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends and good ideas for practitioners. 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 will benefit from attending. Get all the details and register here.


  • Marketing Conference - March 23-25, The King and Prince, St. Simons
    The GBA Marketing Conference is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank Marketing professionals. Programming covers the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends and good ideas for practitioners. 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, marketing professionals at all levels and anyone who has marketing responsibilities will benefit from attending. Get all the details and register here.

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2022 Banking Benefits and HR Policies Survey Open for Participation

The 2022 Banking Benefits and HR Policies Survey has opened for participation! It is a national survey produced every other year, separate from the annual salary survey, and is the definitive source for information on bank officer and non-officer, full and part-time benefits programs, and human resource practices and policies. The survey covers specific topics such as:

  • PTO programs, vacation, sick days, holidays, etc.

  • Health (medical, dental, vision) and wellness plans

  • Flexible spending accounts

  • Short and long-term disability benefits

  • Life insurance

  • Retirement plans (401(k), ESOP, defined benefit plans, etc.)

  • Work life benefits

  • Retiree benefits

  • Payroll and institution costs

  • Work from home practices

  • Prevalence and select design information on executive benefits.

The participant price to purchase the survey is $695 and the non-participant price is $1,395.  Your survey purchase also includes unlimited custom reports so that you can isolate data on Georgia banks only or a variety of other metrics (assets, institution structure, etc.). If you have not received your participation email, please email Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com.


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Meet New GBA Senior Accountant Fauzia Anjum

In tandem with our last GBA Staff Profile recognizing new GBAIT team member Jayn Lawson, we want to recognize another team member who recently joined our GBA family. Fauzia Anjum started work with GBA as Senior Accountant back on July 12, and since then she has been hard at work getting up-to-speed on our procedures and already started to implement technological improvements to maximize efficiency. Her role is primarily behind-the-scenes, which is all the more reason to spotlight her this week. “Members can expect the same excellent level of customer service that the rest of our GBA team provides, and I’m here to assist our members and answer any questions or concerns they have regarding billing,” Anjum said. She has a fascinating background and hobby of making jewelry by hand. She shares about her career journey combining her expertise in accounting with an interest in IT, preferred audiobooks and more in the latest GBA Staff Profile. You can reach Fauzia at 404.420.2011 or fanjum@gabankers.com.


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Learn Free from GBA Partner Abrigo Jan. 20 @ 2 p.m.

What to Expect in 2022: BSA/AML Regulatory Hot Topics

Now that the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2020 is law, FinCEN and other regulatory agencies are implementing what many consider much-needed change. Beneficial ownership is getting more attention, and more regulations are being written to support other FinCEN priorities. Do you feel ready? Join GBA partner Abrigo on Jan. 20 to hear about the current legislative and regulatory climate surrounding BSA/AML and get tips to prepare for upcoming changes. Key topics will include:

  • Understanding AMLA and creating a project plan for future BSA/AML regulatory guidance

  • Enhancing internal policies, procedures, and processes in preparation for more regulatory scrutiny 

  • How to respond to FinCEN notices and requests for comment.

Click here to register for the Jan. 20 webinar. With questions, please contact Abrigo’s Laura Wahl, laura.wahl@abrigo.com, 919.906.5649.


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Welcome GBA’s Newest Associate Members

GBA Associate Membership is offered to individuals and organizations that want to do more business with banks as clients. These members also provide invaluable support to GBA’s activities and programs throughout the year through attendance, sponsorships, exhibits and shared expertise. Be sure to get to know them and thank them for their support of GBA. You can get information about any of GBA’s Associate Members by using the Associate Member search function on our website. Click any of the links below to learn more about each member, and please consider these banking industry supporters if you have a product or service need, they provide. For additional information, contact Bo Brannen, bbrannen@gabankers.com. 404.420.2014.


Associated Bank

Mr. Andrew Voight



Associated Bank has been providing Capital Markets services for over 20 years, including interest rate and commodity derivatives and foreign exchange services for businesses and correspondent financial institutions. In May 2020, they partnered with Fiserv to become a foreign exchange provider on the Payments Exchange (formerly WireXchange) platform.



Mr. Chase Carroll



Bankpak is a leader in servicing financial institutions. With exceptional service and innovative products, Bankpak offers an excellent customer experience. They provide experienced consultation in branch automation, security, and bank equipment.



Mr. Jim Wilkson



For over 20 years, BankSmart has been providing consulting services specializing in data processing vendor evaluation , new/renewal contract negotiation, denovo formation, payment card/interchange optimization services and unique "SmartKit" services to effectively self-manage merger and branch opening projects. BankSmart enables clients to improve efficiency while reducing operating costs.


Granite Telecommunications

Mr. Michael Silicato



Granite provides voice, data and other related communications products and services to multi-location businesses and governmental agencies throughout the United States and Canada. Granite furnishes services to more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100 companies in the United States, and 1.75 million voice and data lines under management.


Summit Technology Group

Mr. Will Fountain



STG has built a boutique consulting, outsourced services, and software practice - enabling community banks to focus on their strengths, while eliminating their barriers to growth. STG quietly powers software solutions for thousands of banking organizations in the United States and has operated some of the largest lending programs in operation today.


TD Bank

Mr. Michael T. Dameron



The Toronto-Dominion Bank & its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches & serves approximately 22 million customers in a number of locations in key financial centers around the globe.



Mr. Nathan Smith



TorchLight is a nationwide complete security solutions provider (CSSP) helping organizations defend against business risks. As a CSSP, TorchLight designs, builds, and manages cybersecurity for clients to address ransomware, data loss prevention, compliance requirements, and overall cybersecurity strategy. From its security operations center (SOC), the company offers 24/7 cyber risk monitoring and management.


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Top 10 Ways to Avoid Employment Related Problems from GBA Partner ABA Insurance Services

Employment-related disputes are difficult to deal with: emotions run high with personal issues often brought into play. Even when claims are meritless, defense costs can be substantial. The impact on morale and reputation can also be significant. The following tips from GBA partner ABA Insurance Services can help reduce employment-related disputes in your bank and strengthen your defense if an action is brought. Click here to see the list of tips. With questions about ABA Insurance programs, please contact Pat Williams at pwilliams@abais.com or 410.960.6878.


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GBA Partner Compliance Alliance

Make Sure You are Protecting Georgia Service Members and Veterans Exiting Mortgage Forbearance

In a recently issued joint-notification letter, the CFPB and Department of Justice noted that thousands of service members and veterans will be exiting mortgage forbearance in the coming months. In preparation for this big shift, CFPB and DOJ have called attention to the loss mitigation rights of our service members and veterans and the importance of identifying and addressing any issues that could arise. Complaints regarding the treatment of service members and veterans over COVID-19 forbearance issues were highlighted in this recent notice and included the following: 

  • Mortgages reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, despite borrowers being current when entering forbearance. CARES Act guidance additionally states that even if a borrower entered forbearance in a delinquent status if the loan was brought current during the forbearance period, then the mortgage must be reported as current.


  • Requiring lump sum payments for the mortgages to be reinstated. Guidance indicates that borrowers of a federally backed mortgage cannot be required to repay their forbearance amount in a lump sum payment if the borrower indicates they cannot afford to do so.


  • Incorrect or confusing communication about hardship forbearances. A mid-2021 amendment to Regulation X established temporary early intervention obligations to ensure that financial institutions communicated critical information to borrowers about their options and clarified when institutions are required to resume reasonable diligence efforts for borrowers exiting certain COVID-19 related hardship forbearances.

Click here to read more analysis from GBA partner Compliance Alliance. Visit www.compliancealliance.com for more compliance help.


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Registration Open for Seminars through April: New Year, Time to Train

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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. 


Upcoming Webinars from National Experts

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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 - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) has been selected as one of seven CDFIs that will receive the first round of funding from the Starbucks Community Resilience Fund, which aims to advance racial equity and environmental resilience by supporting small business growth and community development projects in communities with historically limited access to capital. Read more here.


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Griffin - First National Bank of Griffin

Nine bank employees were recently promoted: Chris Benise is now assistant vice president and compliance officer, Andrea Griffin is now assistant vice president - marketing and CRA officer, Candy Crawford is now senior vice president and CFO, Jeanie Ray is now vice president – loan administration manager, Dale Ammons is now assistant vice president - main office branch manager, Robert Parker is now assistant vice president – human resources, Rachel Kurtz is now assistant vice president – loan compliance, Toni Andrews is now assistant vice president – loan operations, Bailey Landers is now banking officer – deposit operations. Photo caption: Seated L/R: Chris Benise, Andrea Griffin, Candy Crawford. Standing L/R: Jeanie Ray, Dale Ammons, Robert Parker, Rachel Kurtz, Toni Andrews, and Bailey Landers.


Loganville - Legacy State Bank

Dee Cook has been promoted to executive vice president, senior lending officer. Lisa Holcombe has joined the bank as assistant vice president, commercial lender. Betsy Jourdan has been promoted to banking officer, mortgage lender. Ashley Lively has been promoted to banking officer, electronic banking specialist.


Metter - Metter Bank

City President Gail Curl, who recently celebrated 50 years in banking, was recently the subject of a Metter Advertiser article about this milestone in her career. Read more here.


Moultrie - Ameris Bank

Jake Mobley has joined the bank team as a commercial banker in Moultrie. Read more here.


Suwanee - Signature Bank of Georgia

Katherine Housworth has joined the bank team as vice president and senior government guaranteed portfolio manager. Read more here.


Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

Victor Pires has joined the bank in the newly created position of senior vice president and retail banking manager. Read more here.


Valdosta - Commercial Banking Company

Christie Zeth has been promoted to mortgage operations manager and ABO.


Alpharetta - TIB - The Independent Bankers Bank

Relationship Officer for Georgia Jessica Englert has been promoted to senior vice president. Additionally, the Dallas, TX,-based bank announced the following promotions: Clint Jay is now first vice president and compliance engagement leader for TIB Consulting Solutions; Karen Wheeler is now first vice president and mortgage compliance manager for TIB Mortgage; Jack Hitt is now vice president and merchant operations manager for TIB Card Services; Anavel Martinez is now vice president and merchant customer service manager; Luke Yu is now vice president for technology project management; and Christian Roberts is now banking officer and Investment strategies analyst for TIB Capital Markets. Read more here.


First National Bank of Griffin Cook Holcombe Jourdan Lively



Curl Mobley Housworth Pires Zeth Englert



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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