Jan. 7, 2022  

GBA's Advocacy Team

All Systems Go for General Assembly Session

The Georgia General Assembly will meet Monday, Jan. 10, to begin its 40-day session, and our advocacy team is ready for action. A number of bills carry over from the 2021 session, and while most will not see action, we sure hope some will, such as Remote Online Notary. We’re working closely with the Banking Department on its annual housekeeping bill that has several helpful provisions. The Department will also be offering a fix for LIBOR no longer being published to provide a fallback rate for contracts referencing LIBOR. We’re working with others on legislation they’re interested in proposing such as minor changes to deed filing documents, garnishment and elder fraud. GBA will be represented throughout the session by Senior Vice President for Government Relations Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893; President and CEO Joe Brannen, 404.401.0274; and our Government Relations Consultant Steve Bridges, 404.420.2037. Contact any of them with questions about legislation, information about your legislator's stance on a particular issue or to request any other information related to the Georgia General Assembly.


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Easy Button to Keep Track of Key Legislation

As we prepare for this year’s session, we’ve updated our State Issues page on the GBA website to begin tracking issues and bills we know will be covered in the upcoming session. It’s already populated with carryover legislation from the 2021 session, and check in frequently as we add bills as they are introduced and update status as they move through the process.


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Gov. Kemp and More Headline Names Fill Legislative Forum Agenda

We’re so honored that our lineup for the return of our Legislative and Economic Forum is filled with so many of the state’s top leaders. Gov. Brian Kemp will join us, as will Speaker David Ralston, Attorney General Chris Carr, Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler, the AJC’s top political reporter Greg Bluestein and Georgia Fiscal Economist Jeffrey Dorfman. And, we’ll likely have drop ins from some other key legislators who traditionally work on banking issues during the session, as well. There’s still time to register and join a big crowd of your colleagues and our honorees at the forum and Legislative Reception that follows, all taking place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Click here to register for the events, with several options available. A special shout-out to event sponsors FHLB of Atlanta and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad. 










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Vaccine Mandate Hearing Friday at Supreme Court

We’ll be monitoring closely the Supreme Court hearing Friday on the challenge to OSHA’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employers. The mandate requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure staff is vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19, among other requirements. As it stands pending the hearing and any resulting Supreme Court action to grant an emergency stay of the mandate, OSHA has said it will not issue citations for noncompliance with any aspect of the vaccine mandate before Jan. 10 and will not issue any citations for noncompliance with the mandate’s weekly testing requirements before Feb. 9 “so long as the employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”


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GBA Comments Again on Small Business Lending Data

As we did a year ago on a CFPB request for comment on bank collection of small business lending data, we commented again this week on the final proposal released in the fall of 2021. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, CFPB has been going through the steps to implement this new regulation. See our letter here on several final details that were worth doubling down on. We understand that several member banks have also sent in their comments, as well. GBA will continue to update you on this proposal and when it is expected to be finalized. With questions, contact GBA’s Joe Brannen, 404.402.0274 or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893.


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McWilliams Announces Resignation from FDIC

At this point it’s not breaking news, but it sure was a surprise last week Jelena McWilliams announced she is resigning as FDIC Chairman, effective Feb. 4. When she leaves the agency, former chairman Martin Gruenberg will fill the chairmanship on an interim basis, his third time in the chair, until the Senate confirms the nominee President Biden will submit as McWilliams’ replacement. Gruenberg’s term expired a while back, but under their rules, he may stay until a replacement is confirmed. The vice chair position is also vacant, so there are host of leadership positions to be filled in the coming months. We’re sure sad to see her resign. “Over the years, I’ve had the honor of knowing and working with 11 others who have served as FDIC chair, and I’d put her among the best,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. “Her legacy will be that she led the agency with candor, transparency, insistence on FDIC staff competence, a regulatory regime that focused on removing barriers faced by bankers trying to serve their communities, a passion to bring more of the unbanked into mainstream banks, more inclusive opportunities for advancement within the industry, and a recognition that technology was the great equalizer among financial institutions of all size.”


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

Managing Your Core Vendor Relationships and Operational Efficiency Self-Assessment

GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference is Feb. 23-25, 2022, at The DeSoto hotel in Savannah. We are excited to have back, by popular demand, Trent Fleming, a trusted adviser to financial institutions on matters of technology, strategy, and management. He will present two sessions:


Managing Your Core Vendor Relationships

Your contract for services with your primary banking software provider defines a very important third-party relationship with your bank. Issues of exposure, liability, service levels, and yes, cost, are all in play. Such contracts can also define your ability to work with other software providers, from digital banking to EFT solutions to FinTech solutions. This session is not a legal review, but an operational one, of the implications of committing to selected aspects of the contract. Participants will leave with insight into how to evaluate contract terms, and what areas to ask the bank's attorney to look into in further detail. These skills can then be extended to other third-party contracts, further enhancing the benefits. Today's focus on reducing expenses, and controlling costs, makes this session especially timely. 


Operational Efficiency Self-Assessment

Whether recognized or not, productivity - or the lack thereof - continues to impact bank operations. This session is designed to address key ways that managers can assess and improve the operations of their departments, using techniques that industry experts apply when performing operational efficiency studies. Key areas to be addressed include staffing, technology utilization, planning efforts and measurement/reporting issues. Participants will leave with the tools to evaluate and improve productivity across all areas of the bank.


Associate Members are eligible to sponsor, exhibit or both. Thank you to our sponsors already confirmed: ServisFirst Bank - Correspondent Division and WipfliGet all the details and register here. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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GBA Roundtables Slated for 2022

GBA’s popular peer roundtables are ready to start up for 2022. Click here for a complete 2022 schedule of our President/CEO, Finance/Operations and Leadership groups. Invoices for 2022 were emailed to sitting members of these groups in mid-December.  We encourage you to rejoin your Roundtable peers for the upcoming year and stay tuned in to the ideas, networking, best practices, current events, useful session materials, and customized facilitation provided. Elaine Demarest and Chrys Henderson of Demarest Strategy Group, Inc. will serve as our facilitators again this year. Our feedback from participants continues to give them high marks for preparing up-to-the-minute data and guiding productive peer discussions with plenty of take-away ideas for the members. We are excited to announce our new in-person location for these 2022 Roundtables. We will be in the Boardroom of the Hatcher Conference Center at the Middle Georgia State University (“MGSU”) in Macon, Georgia. Sessions run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Peer members will receive full directions to MGSU and advance materials before every session.


If you are interested in joining a group for the new 2022 year, please contact Kathy Friestad or Elaine Demarest at edemarest@demareststrategy.com. We will use best efforts to find you a geography-compatible seat to avoid direct competitive overlaps for comfortable brainstorming discussions with your peers.


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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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2021 BankPAC Campaign Concludes With Great Success

The 2021 BankPAC Campaign has come to a close after a very successful campaign! With a final year-end push, the BankPAC Board of Directors is more than pleased with the outcome with a near record amount raised for both the GBA StatePAC and FedPAC. Thanks to the following banks for their contribution to the GBA StatePAC:

  • First American Bank & Trust Co., Athens, Rhodes McLanahan, CEO

  • PNC Bank, Atlanta, Eddie Meyers, Georgia Regional President

  • SouthState Bank, Stan Kryder, Atlanta Region President

  • Wells Fargo, Chad Gregory, Regional President

And, thank you to those banks whose eligible employees, officers and directors recently made a contribution to the GBA FedPAC.

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

  • United Community Bank – Metro, Robert Walsh, Jr., President & CEO, Marietta

  • Legacy State Bank, Loganville, Bill Walker, President & CEO

With questions, please contact GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893.


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Sign Up Today for Fifth Annual Sporting Clays Tournament Fundraising Event

Leadership GBA will host the 2022 Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 10, at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. This four-person scramble tournament is a fun and challenging event. It’s also a great opportunity to invite your legislators, directors, customers, co-workers and friends to meet and shoot a round of clays with your colleagues in the banking industry. Proceeds will go to the GBA StatePAC.* Don’t have a team yet? That’s okay – go ahead and register and let us know your teammates’ names later. Or, sign up as an individual and we’ll place you in a team. Registration includes 100 targets, cart and barbecue lunch. You can also show your support for the StatePAC through sponsorship; click here for details. Opportunities range from $250 - $1,000. Thanks to our sponsors CBSi; Citizens Bank of Americus; Guardian Bank; FHLB Atlanta; 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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GBA Endorses Abrigo’s Full Suite of Credit, Lending, and Portfolio Risk Products

Over 2,500 community financial institutions currently rely on Abrigo's software to help maintain compliance, streamline the loan origination process, and transition to CECL. The GBA is pleased to announce its new endorsement of Abrigo’s full suite of credit, lending, and portfolio risk products to help members streamline loan origination, enhance credit analysis, and optimize their portfolio risk. GBA members can receive preferred pricing and incentives for Abrigo’s full suite of products through this endorsement including:

  • 15% discount on new software bundles list price.

  • Additional 5% discount per additional software bundle purchased (maximum of 20% additional).

  • Abrigo’s Special Assets Management Solution is included at no additional cost with the purchase of the Sageworks Platform & Sageworks Analysis bundles.

  • 2 free passes to Abrigo’s annual ThinkBig conference with new Abrigo solution purchase.

To learn more, please contact Abrigo’s Eric Bartlett, Eric.Bartlett@abrigo.com, 904-534-1287. Stay tuned for more details about upcoming GBA member-exclusive demos of these Abrigo solutions.


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The Breakers

Annual Meeting Registration to Open for Bankers This Month

We’re already excited about this year’s annual meeting, June 13-15 at The Breakers Palm Beach. Although summer seems far away, it’s rewarding to work toward the special prize of gathering and learning in such a historic and lovely place. We’re expecting another capacity crowd, so we’re going to work with a staggered registration process to help things go as smoothly as possible. Registration for bankers will open later this month, and remember that meeting registration is required in order to reserve a room. We’ll open registration to associate members a bit later.


One important scheduling note: Our 2022 meeting dates are shifted forward one day. The opening event will be Monday night, June 13 (instead of our usual Sunday), and we’ll officially close the meeting with the Chairman’s Farewell Dinner on Wednesday, June 15 (instead of our usual Tuesday) Sessions will be Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Travel day will be Thursday, June 16. Watch your email and GBA Bulletin for registration announcements and program details. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Inclusive Marketing. Fact or Fashion?

By Neal Reynolds, president, Bank Marketing Center

It’s time to talk about a topic that has likely been raised in any bank marketing department’s discussion of strategy; and that’s inclusive marketing. Here at BankMarketingCenter.com, our goal is to help you understand the important issues involving communication with customers; messaging to build trust, relationships, and revenue. So, what exactly is inclusive marketing, anyway? I’ll tell more about it and cover the following topics below in one of my most recent blog posts here.

  • What is inclusive marketing and why it works.

  • How to set the tone of your messaging for a more inclusive audience

  • What other actions should banks take?

With questions or feedback, please contact Neal Reynolds at 678.528.6688 or email at nreynolds@bankmarketingcenter.com.


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Current Trends in Ransomware from GBA Associate Member TorchLight

Ransomware has been around almost as long as companies, institutions and governments have been reliant on customer and constituent data. But there are ups and downs in popularity, tactics and targets that can affect your company’s risk profile. Thank you to GBA Associate Member TorchLight for submitting these five things you need to consider to prevent ransomware from putting your company at risk. Click here to read more in a post from TorchLight CTO Stephen Heath.

1. Ransomware Threat Actors Are Infiltrating – and Remaining In – Networks

2. Remote Work Makes for More Endpoints and Potential Targets

3. Despite a Brief Dip, Ransomware is Becoming More Prevalent

4. Increasing Specialization Makes Total Defense Difficult

5. Organizations Should Prepare Before It’s Too Late

Please contact TorchLight’s Nathan Smith, Nathan.Smith@TorchLight.io, with questions.


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2022 Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Kit Available

As your team plans your company’s marketing and event budget for 2022, there’s no better time to reserve your participation in GBA’s 2022 events valuable to your company. Click here to access the 2022 Sponsorship and Exhibit Opportunities Kit.


Menu of 2022 GBA events open to sponsorships:

  • Annual Signature Events: Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference

  • Annual Professional Development Conferences: Compliance; Financial Risk Management; Credit; HR; Security; Operations/Technology; Rural Development & Lending; and Women in Banking

  • Annual Schools: Georgia Banking School and GBA Compliance School

  • Seminars: Various

  • Webinars: Various

See the last page of the kit for event dates or visit our home page at gabankers.com to access our 2022 event calendar.


Ready to sign up? Complete the response form in the kit and submit it to Kathy Friestad.


Have questions? Our professional development team will be happy to discuss your 2022 involvement strategy so that your company gets maximum benefit from this important investment. Email GBA’s Kathy Friestad to request a call or meeting.


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

Patrice Konarik, Sunwest Training Corp, is back with an intensive 2-day seminar that will teach you all you need to know about IRAs, including the latest updates! Each participant will receive the latest 275-page, IRA Training and Reference Manual - “The Red Book.”


Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning, teaches this course with a clear and thorough introduction to the key concepts, terminology, and processes involved in credit and lending. It doesn’t assume much prior knowledge of the topic, so it’s ideal for those in their first year in the industry. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of their job and how their specific role fits into the bank’s overall profitability goals.


Back by popular demand, Mike Allen of Cadence Bank, a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School with more than 40 years of industry experience, will cover the A-Zs of how to analyze personal cash flow and personal tax returns. The training will assist those bankers who originate consumer loans as well as commercial bankers and underwriters who want to get a clear picture of a guarantor's cash flow to aid in identifying the availability of excess personal cash flow that could be available to provide additional support to related borrowing requests. Through a combination of lecture and casework, participants will learn how to calculate sources and uses of personal cash flow and any remaining cash flow to support additional debt.


Mike Allen of Cadence Bank joins us again to train on prevention of loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is the objective of this popular seminar.

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Save the Date! Upcoming GBA Conferences, Registration Coming Soon

  • HR Professionals Institute
    March 23-25, 2022
    The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St Simons, GA


  • Marketing Conference
    March 23-25, 2022
    The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St Simons, GA


  • Bank Security Conference
    April 11-13, 2022
    The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St Simons, GA


  • Rural Development and Lending Conference
    May 19-20, 2022
    The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St Simons, GA

With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Stock up with Webinar Subscription Packages

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.


Webinars for the Week of Jan. 10


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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 - Georgia Primary Bank

Bank team members had a record year for their annual Toys For Tots toy drive, collecting more toys than any year in the past.


Columbus - Synovus Bank

Synovus this week announced the establishment of the Here Matters Community Fund, a $4 million charitable giving fund through which Synovus will expand its investments in communities throughout the bank's five-state Southeastern footprint. Read more here.



Savannah - Colony Bank

The Colony Leadership Academy class of 2021 recently completed and graduated from the program during their final session in Savannah, Georgia. Read the news release with a list of graduates here.



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Atlanta - Regions Bank

Regions Financial Corp., the parent company of Regions Bank, this week announced it has completed its acquisition of Clearsight Advisors, Inc., expanding the bank’s mergers-and-acquisitions advisory capabilities into the technology industry.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Colony Bankcorp, Inc., the bank holding company for Colony Bank, this week announced it has launched a Merchant Services division. Steve Raines will join the bank as director, merchant services and Tami Tetro will join as merchant sales representative. Read more here.


Johns Creek - American Commerce Bank

Lauri Young has joined the bank as Vice President, Director of Marketing. Jordan Griffin has joined the bank as a personal banker in Bremen. Hayley Scott has joined the bank as a personal banker in Carrollton.


Wrens -- CSRA Banc Corp and First State Bank

President and Chief Executive Officer Lee Clark has announced his retirement from CSRA Banc Corp. and First State Bank on Jan. 30. Clark began his banking career in 1979 in Augusta with First Federal Savings and Loan. He has been with FSB for 10 years, first as Senior Lender before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer.


Macon - James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP

Attorney Taylor Alig has joined the firm’s Tax and Wealth Planning practice group. Read more here.



Young Raines Clark Alig



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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