Jan. 28, 2022  

Brannen (left) with bankers from the Geo.
D. Warthen Bank, Citizens Bank of
the South, Queensborough National
Bank & Trust Co. and Bank of Wrightsville 

Advocacy in Action

Sandersville Rotary Gets Scoop on Georgia Banking

Consumer and business expectations from their banks continue to evolve, and Georgia’s banks are adapting well to remain relevant and serve their communities. That was part of the message GBA’s Joe Brannen shared with the Sandersville Rotary Club Thursday. Brannen spoke at the invitation of Lamar Doolittle of the Geo. D. Warthen Bank. Other information covered included the latest stats, facts and figures about the industry and some local data about banks in the Washington and Johnson counties. We were happy to see some of Doolittle's team members as well as bankers from Citizens Bank of the South, Bank of Wrightsville and Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co. also attending. GBA often speaks to banker and business groups to share the story about banking beyond the headlines. Contact David Oliver, 404.520.6311, with questions.


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BOLO for Legislative Update

The Georgia General Assembly was back in session this week. GBA’s advocacy team was busy keeping up with 12 new bills introduced and announcements about several new chairs, vice chairs and members of committees named for the current session. Be on the lookout for a full roundup of the week’s action in our Legislative Update publication we’ll distribute Friday, as well as updates of all the new bills added to our State Issues page on the GBA website.


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Georgia Youth Connections Collaborative Launched by FDIC

With a goal of improving the financial wellbeing of young low- and moderate-income Georgians, FDIC this week kicked off a new program in Georgia called the Youth Connections Collaborative. The initiative looks strengthen connections between FDIC-insured banks, nonprofits that focus on young people and government agencies to provide financial education, affordable accounts and workforce development opportunities. GBA and a number of member banks participated in the kick-off call to learn more about the initiative. Banks that participate will receive CRA credit consideration, among other benefits, and there are opportunities to serve in leadership and member roles for committees focusing on account access, financial literacy and workforce development. For more information, reach out to FDIC’s Elaine Hunter, community affairs specialist, ehunter@fdic.gov, 980.875.7911.


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Georgia Banking History

A '70s Innovation that Paved the Way for Electronic Payments

In the mid-'70s, the First National Bank of Atlanta rolled out its Honest Face check cashing verification system that in some ways helped usher in use and acceptance of electronic payments and increased credit and debit card use. The system provided participating retailers a quick way to verify that a card holder was in good standing at the bank as a way to approve check cashing requests. At one point in 1976, more than 300,000 Atlantans had a card and about 5,000 a week were applying, according to an article in the Atlanta Journal written at the time. Take a look at this recent article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for a look back at this banking innovation.


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Keeping Branches Open while Prioritizing Digital Transformation

An interesting survey out from Associate Member Wipfli caught our eye recently. In a survey of 177 community banks in 13 states, 84% of banks surveyed have not closed any branches in the past year. Digital transformation, however, is among the top priorities for the banks in the survey. Key concerns were cybersecurity and talent issues, and topping new services added were wealth advisory, trusts and insurance capabilities. Read the survey here. Thanks to Wipfli’s Ryan Barrow for sharing this so we could pass it along.


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Feb. 8 | 1-4:30 p.m. NASBA CPE Credits Available

Haven't Adopted CECL Yet?

Kickstart Implementation with GBA Partner Abrigo at this FREE Event

Don't miss this chance to jump-start your 2023 adoption of the Financial Accounting Standard Board's CECL standard by taking part in Abrigo’s free, virtual workshop on Feb. 8 from 1-4:30 p.m. With an emphasis on the needs of community banks, Abrigo’s team will show how their proven implementation practices can be scaled specifically to meet the needs of smaller preparers. Please note, the sessions will be applicable and valuable for banks regardless of whether they are currently an Abrigo product. This event will also offer three free NASBA CPE credits. Topics to be covered include:

  • Techniques used by public institutions to address pandemic-era uncertainty

  • How to address the most common CECL implementation problems, such as lack of historical loss experience or unreliable historical data

  • How to use CECL models that are less reliant on historical, loan-level loss experience

  • How to implement a straightforward CECL qualitative framework

  • How to credibly identify peer institutions for use of external information

  • Potential hidden traps in the SCALE concept

Click here to register.


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BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament Nears

Leadership GBA’s Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament is a little less than two weeks away. The big event is Thursday, Feb. 10, at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. Proceeds will go to the GBA StatePAC.* If you’d like to participate, sign up by end of the day Friday, Feb. 4, in order to be assigned to a team. Click here to register. Thanks to our sponsors: Bank of Madison; CashTrans, CBSi, Citizens Bank of Americus, Durden Banking Company, FHLB Atlanta, First American Bank & Trust, Guardian Bank, Heritage Southeast Bank, Mauldin & Jenkins, Northeast Georgia Bank, River City Bank, ServisFirst 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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Georgia Southern

Southeast Georgia Community Bank Symposium Crowd Growing - Register Today

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. Special thanks to symposium sponsors South Auction and Realty, Securitas Financial Services and Aubrey Thrasher, LLC.


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

Cryptocurrency and Emerging Technology Focus

With nearly 8,000 cryptocurrencies in existence worldwide, it is no surprise that U.S. banks want to assess the strategic importance of crypto to their future. Relevance is at stake. Fiserv’s Virginia Heyburn will be with us at the Operations and Technology Conference Feb. 23-25 for a session covering all the latest developments about cryptocurrencies. This session will explore why banks should care about cryptocurrency and ways to measure the related market opportunity, especially around attracting younger demographics that now make up the largest generational segment for banks to serve over the next decade. 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. Click here for all of the details and to register. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


LAST CALL!  Exhibitor Space and Sponsorships 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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Invest in Your Career at Georgia Banking School

Are you ready for the next step in your banking career? Make an investment in your future by enrolling in the Georgia Banking School. 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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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. 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. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Addressing 401(k) Participant Concerns over Market Volatility

As the stock market has been volatile this month, many employees nearing retirement are very concerned about their 401(k) balances and how they can retire as originally planned. U.S. stocks posted their worst week since 2020 last week. Though the losses we’ve incurred seem significant, they are not at the level of a correction at this time. The best way to weather storms like this is to maintain a long-term focus and keep a well-diversified portfolio. That’s why the UnifiedPlan Managed Account Solution is so important for participants in the GBA Retirement Services Master Trust. Over 87% of our participant population has chosen the managed account option as their investment choice. Under the UnifiedPlan Managed Account Solution, each participant’s portfolio gets more conservative over time as they near retirement. Unlike a target date fund, the UnifiedPlan offers three different risk tolerances for every age group based on retirement readiness. Unified Trust, a division of American Trust Company, serves as the Discretionary Trustee of the GBA Master Trust, which is the highest level of fiduciary protection related to retirement plan investments. To read more about how our Managed Portfolios are working during down times like this, click here for a memo about market volatility. This has also been sent to our current Trust members to share with plan participants.


If you would like GBA Retirement Services to assist with your next plan review, we can provide a detailed fee and investment comparison of our 401(k) services to your current plan. Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information.


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

The Equity & Inclusion Lens in Customer Service

Excellent customer service requires self-awareness, understanding and acceptance of diversity and mutual respect. Georgia bank HR pros attending this year’s HR Professionals Institute will hear from inclusion expert Tonya Parker about the influence and impact of our thoughts, actions, policies and procedures and the personal accountability that shape the customer service experience for all involved. Parker is the dean for Equity and Inclusion at Wesleyan College. 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

Marketing Your Brand as an Employer and Secrets of the Best Brands Added

We’ve added two new sessions to this year’s GBA Marketing Conference. In one session, learn how to tap in to your storytelling talent to communicate your bank’s brand as an employer. This will help you win the war for talent and add value to Marketing’s role at the bank. Employment and recruiting expert Michael Goldberg of Hiring Transformed will lead this session. We’ve also confirmed this week that Sean Hockenbery, president and CEO of GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, will lead a session about the key things the best bank brands are doing these days to connect to customers and prospects, cement their identities, differentiate themselves from competitors and make the most of their marketing dollars. The agenda also includes plenty of peer roundtable time in which we’ll structure activities where we can learn best practices and share resources with each other. 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.


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Registration now Open! 2022 Bank Security Conference - April 11-13, St Simons

Customer Privacy and Dealing with Law Enforcement

Good bank security includes a good relationship with law enforcement. Join us at this year’s Bank Security Conference as Corrie Thrasher with Starfield & Smith discusses the dos and don’ts for banks when it comes to customer privacy and dealing with law enforcement. The conference is planned by the Security Committee, led by David Griffin, Colony Bank. The 2022 Bank Security Conference is scheduled for April 11-13 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort on St. Simons. All 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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Women in Banking Conference Set for Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan

We are excited to announce that our 2022 Women in Banking Conference will be Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton, GA. Who should participate? GBA member women bankers from every arena of banking, associate members and strategic partners are invited and encouraged to attend. Now in its eighth year, this conference successfully combines an exceptional educational slate that provides industry, leadership, professional development content and casual networking time, all in a lovely, getaway location. Join scores of your peers who have made returning to this an annual event a priority. Registration and the room block will open in the spring, but be sure your calendar is locked for those dates. Sponsorships are available now; click here for details and a reservation form. Thank you to these awesome event sponsors: FHLB Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co.; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors. Questions?  Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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ADDO Worldwide: The Lens and 8 Essential Exchanges

Check out GBA’s recommended offering for early-career bankers, new or developing managers, teams and even more experienced leaders looking for an affordable way to build leadership and personal management skills. Endorsed by the GBA HR Committee, we have collaborated with author and leadership consultant Kevin Scott of ADDO Worldwide to bring you two unique online courses based on his popular books.


Each course includes a book, a workbook for a facilitator or self-study and access to a series short online session videos.

  • The Lens – A 10-part course that helps leaders develop different ways of looking at things. Leaders often make changes to organizational structure, strategies, and personnel without addressing the one thing that can radically transform their lives and their leadership: perspective. They often overlook this pivotal principle that will unlock and unleash their potential. Order the course here.


  • 8 Essential Exchanges – A nine-part course that identifies eight clear exchanges that often confront us, and provides insight on how making the right exchange can have profound impact. Every choice is a value statement. The most important exchanges are between really good things and even better things. Those are much harder, but they shape our lives in disproportionate ways. Order the course here.

Each course is $325 per person for up to 10 participants. Orders of more than 10 are discounted at $275 per person. With questions, contact David Oliver.


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The King & Prince

Rural Development and Lending Conference - Registration is open!

The GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference is the premier in-state event for bankers in rural markets and those with significant agribusiness portfolios. This year’s conference is  May 19-20 at the King & Prince Hotel on St. Simons. The agenda will include sessions on the ag economy, key agribusiness legal trends, peanut and other crop updates, the latest on Georgia’s ports and ag technology trends. Conference is planned by the Ag Committee  and led by Nic Worthy, Colony Bank, committee chair. Full details coming soon, but registration is open now.


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Protecting Your Bank from Check Fraud: When to Obtain a GBA Thumbprint Signature

Despite continuous developments in the technology to safeguard our money, we unfortunately continue to hear about regular cases of check fraud among our membership. It’s still happening at banks big and small. Your bank can lower the odds of being affected by participating in GBA’s Thumbprint Signature Program. The program was designed to deter check fraud by collecting a thumbprint “signature” from non-customers when cashing checks. A thumbprint signature should be obtained when:

  • A non-customer presents an on-us or not-on-us check for cashing. (This includes employees of commercial account customers who present payroll checks drawn on the bank

  • A non-customer presents an on-us check for exchange to a cashier’s check.

  • A non-customer presents a government check for cashing.

To learn more about participating in the Thumbprint Signature Program, please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


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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
    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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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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Albany - AB&T

Brad McEwen has been promoted to senior vice president. BSA Officer Daniela Norman has been promoted to assistant vice president. Relationship Banker Frances Bell has been named a banking officer. Read more here.


Atlanta - First Carolina Bank

Thomas Forsberg has joined the First Carolina Bank team as the bank’s Atlanta Market President. He will be based in the bank’s new Atlanta office, which is scheduled to open in April at 125 Glenridge Point Parkway. Read more here.


Atlanta - Regions Bank

The bank recently announced the openings of three new branches in Sandy Springs, Loganville and Marietta. Read more here.


Atlanta - SouthState Bank

Eric Yi, Shaun Vernon and Robert Keith have joined the bank as commercial bankers.


Bremen/Johns Creek - American Commerce Bank

In its Johns Creek Annex location, the bank is focused on a new initiative to create, launch and successfully run a subsidiary digital bank as part of its next-phase growth strategy under a new brand and identity. This new brand, named MONESTY BANK, will have a specific focus on the financial and lifestyle needs of the Baby Boomer generation and supporting caregivers and relatives. Read more here.


Bremen - American Pride Bank

Andy Flowers has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer in addition to his existing role as Chief Lending Officer. Donna Harris has been promoted to banking officer and loan operations administrator. With the addition of the bank’s Paulding County Loan Production office, Dan Moore has been promoted to North Georgia Market Executive.


Cedartown - Colony Bank

Rhonda Turner has been promoted to banking center manager for the Cedartown market.


Rome - Greater Community Bank

Amanda Billings has been promoted to human resources manager. Read more here.


Rome - River City Bank

Scott Nanney has been promoted to market president in Blairsville. The bank’s full-service Blairsville office is scheduled to open this Spring at 206 Highway 515. Read more here.


Statesboro - Morris Bank

Trish Tootle was recently named the Leadership Bulloch Alumni of the Year at the Statesboro Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner.


Tupelo, MS, and Houston, TX - Cadence Bank

The bank this week revealed its new logo as part of a new combined brand identity of BancorpSouth Bank and Cadence Bank, N.A., which completed their merger in October 2021.


Atlanta - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)

Access to Capital for Entrepreneurship (ACE) client Brown Toy Box recently secured a national distribution deal with Target Corporation. The deal will enable unique STEM/STEAM toys featuring children of color to be displayed in Target’s 1,757 retail outlets across the country. ACE was proud to assist the toy maker in securing the necessary financing needed to execute the contract. Pictured below is Brown Toy Box Founder and CEO Terri-Nichelle Bradley. Read more here.


Cornelia - Financial Supermarkets Inc.

Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Executive Vice President/Director of Sales Patrick Flaherty, who recently died. Read more here.



McEwen Norman Bell Forsberg Regions Bank



Yi Vernon Keith Flowers Harris



Moore Turner Billings Nanney Tootle



Cadence Bank's new logo Bradley Flaherty



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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