Jan. 21, 2022  

Budget Focus of General Assembly Work This Week

The Georgia General Assembly has been in recess this week as it held budget hearings for revisions to the 2022 fiscal year budget and developing a 2023 budget. House and Senate Committees have been set for the session. See the full House committee lists here, and the Senate committee lists here. The General Assembly is slated to go back in session Jan. 24 and we will publish our next Legislative Update the end of that week. Follow legislation we’re monitoring at our State Issues page on the gabankers.com website.


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Biden Nominates Three for Key Fed Posts

President Biden last week nominated three people to fill key Federal Reserve posts. Milledgeville native and Michigan State Economics and International Relations Professor Lisa D. Cook is one of two nominees for Federal Reserve Board Governor. The other nominees announced were Sarah Bloom Raskin as Fed Vice Chair for Supervision and Philip Jefferson for Governor. We look forward to learning more about their priorities and positions about monetary policy and the Fed’s role in supervision during their confirmation hearings.


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GBA Member Profile

College Football Player Turned Banker Zach Giddens on “Being a Workhorse, not a Show Horse”

Morris Bank Commercial Lender Zach Giddens grew up in Ocilla, GA, and, “with the help of a few people who believed in me,” was able to secure a football scholarship at the University of West Alabama. The sole accounting major on the team, Giddens says he was fortunate to know a retired Georgia banker who helped connect him to his first job in the banking industry after college and ultimately a very rewarding career. For example, he shares about an experience helping a husband/wife collision center team save their real estate from foreclosure following The Great Recession. “This couple became personal friends of mine, good customers and local advocates for Morris Bank with a real story of their own to tell what our bank is about,” said Giddens, a member of the Leadership GBA Board of Directors. He discusses much more, including key career advice from bank CEO Spence Mullis (GBA’s 2020-2021 Chairman); his favorite book, app and TV series; life with his wife, Mary, and three kids; and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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BankSouth’s Cryptocurrency Efforts Highlighted

Greensboro, GA-based BankSouth is among a group of community banks that plans to allow customers to buy and sell bitcoin on their mobile banking apps by mid-year. The bank’s efforts and strategy are highlighted in an American Banker article out this week (may require subscription for access). “We have seen significant activity in cryptocurrency transactions from our customer accounts, and a few investments have been rather large, so that is obviously getting our attention,” said BankSouth CEO Harold Reynolds, in the article. The service, with the help of fintech company NYDIG, will go live in sometime this quarter or in second quarter, the article says. The American Bankers Association announced an investment in NYDIG this week. One of our Annual Meeting sessions will focus on cryptocurrency and fintech trends with ABA's Rob Morgan, SVP of Innovation and Strategy speaking. Registration opens soon for the meeting, so be on the lookout for details about the program and how to sign up to join us at The Breakers in Palm Beach June 13-15.


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GBA Banking School - May 1-6, Athens

Have you been putting off training the past few years?  Are you ready to refocus your attention toward your personal development? Do you have team members you want to invest in as future executives at your bank? If yes, then Georgia Banking School might be the next step for you or emerging leaders on your team.


As a reminder, we have limited space again this year and slots are filling up fast. 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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GBA Compliance School - Year 2: Strategic Compliance Management

All senior level Compliance Officers should consider attending Year 2 of the GBA Compliance School. This year's session, Strategic Compliance Management, builds on a professional'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. The foundation has been inspected, maintained, and determined to be solid; now what do you do? In the second year of compliance school, we will demonstrate 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. These survival tools are not always found in the regulation, but rather in the resources employed to carry out the tasks.


Both years will spend time focusing on leadership, team building, and maintaining strong peer relationships which will help to strengthen the program and create cohesion throughout the organization. These concepts will teach compliance personnel how to better understand their organization’s business lines and provide a guide to creating successful partnerships that benefit the entire organization.


Who should attend? Those who attended Year 1, previous graduates from a GBA Compliance School and those looking for continuing education credits. The board will also consider applications from all senior-level officers who are interested in the program. GBA will apply for CRCM credits through ABA.


The 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.


GBA Compliance School: Details and enrollment access here.


With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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

Learn the Secrets of Great Leadership

Lon Langston says Leadership in 2022 is getting people to want to do what you need them to do. Langston is among the lineup to speak at GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference will be Feb. 23-25 at The DeSoto hotel in Savannah. Langston is founder of the Engaged Banker eXperience, and he will talk about the best and latest behavioral science – the microeconomics, psychology, neurology, physiology and sociology that will influence people to do what you need done. You’ll also get a list of the best books, podcasts, and TED Talks on Leadership and Behavioral Science. The conference, planned by the Operations and Technology Committee, led by Committee Chair Dana White, AB&T, Albany, has created a timely and valuable agenda for this year’s attendees.


Exhibitor Space AVAILABLE - Won’t you join us?

We have a great crowd of bankers registered which makes for a valuable opportunity to network with bankers across the state of Georgia.


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


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Sporting Clays Tournament Coming Up Feb. 10 – Sign Up Today!

We’re excited that more 70 of you are already signed up for Leadership GBA’s Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 10, at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. That’s a great turnout, but there’s still room for you to sign up to shoot. Put a team of four together or sign up individually and we’ll place you on a team. Proceeds will go to the GBA StatePAC.* This is a fun day and a great chance to invite your legislators, directors, customers, co-workers and friends to get together and shoot. Registration includes 100 targets, cart and barbecue lunch. Sponsorships are still available; click here for details. Thanks to our sponsors: CBSi; Citizens Bank of Americus; Durden Banking Company; FHLB Atlanta; First American Bank & Trust; Guardian Bank; Northeast Georgia Bank; River City Bank and Steve H. Powell & Company. We appreciate your support! Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level offices such as the Georgia General Assembly, the Governor’s office and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.  Contributions can be made from an individual, from bank funds if you are a state-chartered bank or from a national bank holding company if the contribution is made from funds other than those resulting from the operations of the national bank.


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DBF's Sneed among Speakers at 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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2022 HR and Marketing Conferences - March 23-25, St Simons

Stephanie Stuckey Set to Close HR Professionals Institute and Marketing Conference

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. Closing out a joint session of the conferences will be Stephanie Stuckey, CEO, Stuckey’s Co. Stuckey is on a mission to rebuild the iconic roadside retail brand her grandfather started in the 1930s. She’ll share her story about this Georgia-grown company and how she’s returning the brand to its roots with great success. Stuckey also served for more than a decade in the Georgia House of Representatives and is a lawyer by trade. She’ll share her learnings in branding, social media, employee engagement, attracting and retaining talent and more to spark the creativity of GBA member marketing and HR professionals. Each group will also have a full lineup of separate conference sessions specific to their disciplines, as planned by their respective committees.

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

Registration Now Open for Bank Security Conference

The 2022 Bank Security Conference April 11-13 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank security professionals looking to sharpen their skills, share the latest intel and make essential connections to help them with their mission to protect their banks and customers. Programming covers the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends and good ideas for practitioners. Content includes security officer roles and responsibilities, cybersecurity and technology trends, legal issues, elder fraud and ATM security. Peer networking and idea sharing flourishes during the conference, forging relationships and opportunities for further growth. Bank security officers and anyone with security responsibilities at the bank will benefit from attending. Get available details and register here.


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American Mortgage Conference April 25-27

GBA is proud to be among the state bankers associations co-presenting The American Mortgage Conference this year. The conference, April25-27 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, brings together leading experts in the financial services industry, mortgage practitioners of every kind, policy makers and investors to discuss important issues in the mortgage field and to analyze what progress is being made in Washington. Our colleagues at the North Carolina Bankers Association organize the event each year, which has become the go-to gathering for mortgage professionals nationwide. Get details and register here.


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The 2022 Ag Lender’s Survival Guide from GBA Partner Abrigo

Things have changed drastically over the past 18 to 24 months in the agricultural economy. Many ag borrowers have bolstered their financial position, benefiting from stimulus programs, higher commodity prices and stronger than expected yields. Should ag lenders have any concerns going into 2022 and forward? In the whitepaper linked here, GBA partner Abrigo analyzes the current farm economy and how several economic conditions reminiscent of the pre-1980’s Farm Crisis are reappearing, including inflation, surge pricing, and rapidly increasing land values. Summary highlights include:

  • Overview of current ag lending environment

  • Projections for 2022 and the potential impact on ag institutions

  • Challenges ag lenders face when assigning credit risk and how to mitigate them

  • Common ratios used to assess pay and save strategies.

With questions, please contact Abrigo’s Laura Wahl, laura.wahl@abrigo.com, 919.906.5649.


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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

The 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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Leadership Conference News

Fantastic Program Confirmed, Registration Coming Soon

We hope your calendar is marked for GBA’s 2022 Leadership Conference, July 11-13, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. This conference is hosted annually by the Leadership GBA Board of Directors, and they’ve got an exception slate confirmed including state economist Jeff Dorfman; Nathan Stovall, Principal Analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence; crowd favorite attorney and GBA legal counsel Jonathan Hightower, Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; Dr. Melissa Furman – a huge hit at last year’s conference is back this summer for an extended session focusing on solutions for avoiding, recognizing and overcoming burnout. The closing speaker will be James Olson, former CIA Chief of Counterintelligence and spy (yes, spy!). Olson will take the audience into the real world of spying by discussing several cases of Americans he knew personally who sold out our country for money, ego or personal pleasure. Registration and the room block will open in a few weeks, and we’ll let you know by email when you can sign up. Who should attend? This family-focused conference is just right 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.


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; 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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GBA Partner Promontory MortgagePath

Building Your Franchise Value in 2022 with Mortgage Lending

Historically, community banks have held a smaller share of the mortgage market when compared to larger banks and independent lenders, leaving many wondering if the investment in mortgage lending will be worth the reward. At the same time, community banks are reluctant to hand over customers to a competitor — especially for what’s likely to be one of their largest financial transactions. Recently, GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath spent time on a deep dive analysis into mortgage industry trends and 2022 forecasts. We encourage you to take a look at their recorded session here. With questions, please contact Promontory’s Jordan Higgins, 570.850.7655, Jordan.higgins@mortgagepath.com.


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Attention GBA Associate Members: Have You Reserved Your 2022 Sponsorships Yet?

As we delve into the new year, we’d like to remind our associate members and strategic partners that sponsorships may be reserved now for all 2022 GBA events. In case you missed our fall email, click here for our 2022 Exhibit and Sponsorship Opportunities kit to explore the options and benefits available to you. Spring is one of our busiest times, with professional development conferences like Op/Tech, HR & Marketing; Bank Security, and Rural Development and Lending. Featured summer events include Annual Meeting, Leadership Conference, BSA School, and Women in Banking. We will wrap up 2022 with the President & CEO/Bank Accountant/Bank Counsel Conference, along with Financial Risk Management and Credit Conferences. Sponsoring a GBA event is one of the most valuable and visible ways to get your company name out there to our entire membership. Reserve your sponsorship or exhibit space by completing the response form on the last page of the opportunities kit. If you’d like to plan your GBA involvement for the whole year, we can do that! Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad to schedule a call. 


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



Recordings included with registration!

  • IRA Merry-Go-Round Webinar - Feb 8-9, Zoom Webinar (price increases Jan. 24!)
    We've heard from a number of members that increased instances of Covid-19 quarantines are making staffing, scheduling and training time away from the bank a challenge. Based on that feedback, we've converted the IRA Merry-Go-Round training to a virtual webinar. We want to ensure that everyone can attend this banker-favorite training. The training will take place on the same days, just in a virtual format. We hope that this new format will allow you to register your team!



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

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Upcoming Webinars from National Experts

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.

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:


Dublin - Morris Bank

The bank recently donated $100,000 to Dodge County Hospital as a Georgia HEART Hospital Program grant. These funds are used as part of the program’s initiative to help financially assist rural and critical access hospitals in Georgia.


Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia

The bank team recently participated in The Betty White Challenge and collected donations, with the bank matching contributions, for Good Mews; a no-kill, cage-free cat shelter in Marietta.


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Atlanta - Atlantic Capital Bank, Bank of America, Truist

Several member bankers have been appointed to serve on Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ transition team. Bank of America’s Wendy Stewart is one of five honorary chairs, and also serving are Atlantic Capital Bank’s Walt Deriso and Truist’s Sofia Bork. Read more here.


Dallas - American Pride Bank

Jake Hammitt has joined the bank as commercial relationship manager/assistant vice president. He will operate a loan production office in Paulding County, with a focus on serving northwest metro-Atlanta. Read more here.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Our sympathies to the family, friends and former colleagues of Jack McConnell, who died Jan. 15. Over the course of five decades, Jack built a banking career at First National Bank of Elberton, the predecessor to Pinnacle Bank, where his professional career ended with his retirement as chairman in 2007. Jack was also the father of bank CEO and 2015-2016 GBA Chairman Jackson McConnell. Here’s a link to Jack’s obituary with more information about him and his career.


Hattiesburg, MS - The First Bank

Effective Jan. 15, The First, A National Banking Association, converted from a national banking association to a Mississippi state bank that will be a member of the Federal Reserve System. In connection with the conversion, the bank changed its name from "The First, A National Banking Association" to "The First Bank." The bank is a GBA member and has branches in Newton, Moultrie, Valdosta, Thomasville, Tifton and Sylvester.


Rome - River City Bank

Chris Hendrix has joined the bank as assistant vice president and branch manager in Rome. Read more here. Eric Collins has joined the bank as vice president and branch manager of the bank’s Blairsville location, currently operating as a Mortgage and Loan Office. (River City Bank’s full-service Blairsville office is scheduled to open this Spring at 206 Highway 515.) Read more here.




Stewart Deriso Bork Hammitt



McConnell Hendrix Collins



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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