July 1, 2022 

Public Advocacy

Georgia Trend Highlights Members

This month’s Georgia Trend Magazine carries a significant piece about how bankers are navigating the marketplace, embracing technology and setting a course for a strong future. Rabun County Bank CFO Yong Kim and Georgia Banking Company CEO Bartow Morgan discuss working in a rising-rate environment. Kim Kirk of Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company weighs in on a variety of technology channels. And, GBA’s Joe Brannen discusses how consumers are looking to banks and bankers as trusted partners in an uncertain economy. “This is such a pivotal moment for people and businesses needing to manage their money,” he says in the article. “The pandemic showed bankers that there was built-up demand for the new technology they were offering their customers. Now with the changes in the economy – escalating prices for goods and services and market volatility – the strengths that bankers have as trusted advisors are in high demand.” Also quoted are Rabun County Bank’s Amanda Harrold, First American Mortgage’s Jeff Bishop and Troutman Pepper’s James Stevens. Read the article here.


Kim Morgan Kirk Harrold Bishop Stevens


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DOR Delinquent Taxpayer Data Match Agreement

After multiple discussions and negotiations with GBA and others, the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) has made significant revisions to its suggested form of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the delinquent taxpayer data search provided for in O.C.G.A. § 48-2-1. Specifically, the new form MOA more closely mirrors the requirements of the statute and clarifies the method in which banks will submit matching taxpayer data. In addition, the new form of Agreement clarifies the bank’s confidentiality and data security obligations and no longer contains overly restrictive or ambiguous provisions regarding the bank’s confidentiality and data security obligations. With regard to data security, the Agreement requires that a bank’s security program include standards “substantially similar” to certain National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publications for data retention and sanitation. DOR has accepted our clarifying language that “substantially similar” standards include the standards for security programs upon which a bank is examined by its primary regulator. As such, the bank’s information security program must meet the exam standards set forth by the bank’s regulator but need not adhere to exact NIST standards. As the revised MOA, linked here, contains almost all the changes we requested, most banks should be able to comply with the agreement as written. However, if after reviewing the MOA you or your bank’s counsel have questions, DOR’s Deputy General Counsel Dominick Capotosto has agreed to be your contact for those questions. He may be reached by email at dominick@capotosto@dor.ga.gov. Our thanks for GBA’s Bank Counsel Section chair John Willis with Nelson Mullins for his tireless work in coordinating an industry response and for Banking Department Counsel Bo Fears for coordinating the drafts with the DOR that resulted in a favorable outcome.


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Wade Johnson leads
the meeting

Credit Committee Takes Market Temperature

GBA’s volunteer committee of credit professionals from around the state gathered for their summer meeting this week in Macon. The general theme of the reports by members was that credit quality is holding up pretty well and loan demand continues to grow. There are variances depending on geographic markets and business lines, of course. There were also no surprises reported in the market factors that may be cause for caution in the coming months -- inflation, rising agriculture input costs, getting loan and deposit pricing right, and housing affordability and housing inventory. Incoming committee Chair Wade Johnson, Durden Banking Company, led the meeting with assistance from incoming committee Vice Chair Branden Renfroe, Cadence Bank. Thanks also for the leadership in the past year of outgoing committee Chair Philip Bernardi, Oconee State Bank. The committee also dove into planning for this year’s credit conference, which will be Dec. 1-2 at The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Registration will open soon. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Leader Updates

Housing Affordability, Bankers Win Elections, ESG Issues and Bank Robber Case

Our series of regular email updates to CEOs, committee members and other key leaders continued this week. Topics included:

  • Housing Affordability: We shared an analysis of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Homeownership Affordability Monitor for various markets around Georgia. Download the analysis here.


  • Runoffs and Legislator Recognitions: In last week’s runoff elections, Ameris Bank’s Mike Hodges won the Republican runoff for open state Senate seat in the Brunswick area. He has no Democrat opposition, so he will take office in January. Affinity Bank’s Carter Barrett defeated an incumbent for a state House seat in the Cumming area. He will face a Democrat opponent in the general election. Also, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce named state Sen. Larry Walker (R-Perry) and state Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella) as Legislators of the Year. Walker is on the Morris Bank board in Dublin, and Dickey is on the Truist advisory board for middle Georgia. Elberton state Rep. Rob Leverett was named the Chamber’s Freshman Legislator of the Year.


  • ESG Letter to Regulators: GBA joined state bankers associations nationwide in urging regulators to take special care to not exceed their statutory authorization when addressing Environmental, Social and Governance issues. The principles outlined in the letter make it clear our position that as ESG guidance and disclosures from regulators proliferate, banks must remain free to lend to, invest in, and do business without government interference. Read the letter here.


  • Supreme Court Decision on Bank Robber: a decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court last week will potentially grant a murderous Georgia bank robber his wish to be executed by firing squad rather than by lethal injection, the state’s currently prescribed method for carrying out death sentences. The case is for a man convicted of a 1973 murder that happened following a bank robbery. Read the decision here.

If you’d like more information about any of those topics, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Host State Loan-to-Deposit Ratios Updated

The annual update of host state loan-to-deposit ratios is available from bank regulators. The annual calculation helps guide compliance with laws prohibiting banks for opening or acquiring branches outside of their home state mainly for deposit production. Georgia’s home state loan-to-deposit ratio is 75%, down from 85%. If a bank’s statewide loan-to-deposit ratio in a state is less than one-half of the published host state loan-to-deposit ratio for that state, or if data are not available at the bank to calculate the ratio, the appropriate banking agency must determine whether the bank is reasonably helping to meet the credit needs of the communities served by the bank. Neighboring state ratios are: Alabama - 67% (down 10 points), Florida - 79% (down 10 points), South Carolina - 67% (down 8 points) and Tennessee - 77% (down 7 points). Get more information here.


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Women in Banking Conference – Still A Few Spots Left!

We’ve got more than one hundred women bankers registered to participate in this year’s Women in Banking Conference, Aug. 11-12 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. We have increased our room block and still have a few rooms left, so there is still time to confirm your spot and join us! You don’t want to miss the packed agenda. We’ll get a Georgia legislative update from GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler and a national economic and policy outlook from Joan Woodward from Travelers, who is back by popular demand. Augusta’s own Vera Stewart (“Very Vera”) will share how she has successfully balanced life, home, career, and more for 38 years. Tuere Thomas, Ameris Bank, will lead a session on Project Management, and Shelly Sullivan, SouthState Bank, will talk to us about CRM. We’ll have our popular Executive Leadership Panel, with Karlene Gordon, Ameris Bank, Towanna Johnson, Georgia Banking Company, Terry Kennedy, Exchange Bank, and Marcie Bomberg-Montoya, Wipfli. Closing out the conference will be Laura Whitaker, CEO of ESP (Extra Special People). Don’t delay in signing up and booking your room.  A hearty thanks to associate members who are supporting the conference through sponsorship - Gold Sponsors: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. and Wipfli. Silver Sponsors: Abram Armored; FHLB Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; Troutman Pepper; Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors; and Starfield and Smith, PC, Attorneys at Law. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


Chandler Woodward Stewart Thomas Sullivan Whitaker


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New GBA Guide to Bank Record Retention is Now Online with Over 75 Recent Changes

Featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, by Carl Pry

The GBA is pleased to announce that the updated GBA Guide to Bank Record Retention, featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, by Carl Pry, is now available for purchase. It is designed to be a fast and easy-to-use reference for the most common types of records questions that bankers encounter in a completely online format. Please note we no longer have printed copies available for purchase.


This guide is intended to support the development of a complete and understandable record retention program at your bank. Record retention policies are required by regulators and important for your customers if their bank records are ever subpoenaed.


The Quick Notes© refer to federal or general industry practices in six broad topic areas: General; Deposits and Operations; Loans; Securities; Human Resources; and Tax. They also contain the available requirements of FinCEN, CFPB, OCC, NACHA, IRS, SEC, FDIC, FRB and other relevant state agencies.


Including over 75+ recent changes, the newly released edition is further streamlined to assist bankers at every level. Additions include new independent sections on both Trusts & Estates and Audit as well as numerous other relevant updates throughout the rest of this unique industry guidebook.


We hope that you will find this to be a valuable resource to help your bank. Please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com, to place an order.


Pricing (does not include sales tax):

  • One user login - $125

  • 2-5 user logins - $495

  • 6-15 user logins - $1,250

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New Safe Banking for Seniors Videos Available, More Coming

There are three new Safe Banking for Seniors videos bankers will find helpful for informing older customers and their families about how to spot common scams seniors face. The videos include topics such as how scammers target seniors and how they may try to impersonate family members or the government. More videos are on the way later this summer about tech support scams, sweetheart scams, money mule scams and lottery scams, and an additional video series about financial caregiving is planned for this fall. Register for the ABA Foundation’s free Safe Banking for Seniors program to access the videos, which may be used on your website and other channels.


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Safe A!ert from GBA Partner ABA Insurance Services

Counterfeit Check Schemes Continue to Tick Up

You have probably seen headlines in the media lately that check fraud is on the rise. In 2022, we too have been seeing an uptick in check schemes and fraud, with nearly half of bond claims submitted in 2022 (so far) related to counterfeit checks claims. In one example, a bank fell prey to a counterfeit check ring in which the perpetrators cashed almost 200 fraudulent checks at multiple branches. By the time the bank was able to notify all of its branches not to accept any more checks, the fraudsters had already stolen $150,000. At some level, signature verification is a good way to possibly circumvent loss since fraudsters do not necessarily know who the authorized signers are on an account or know what a legitimate signature looks like. For commercial accounts, positive pay is highly recommended—where the bank obtains a record from its customer by check number, amount and payee of legitimate checks that have been issued. The software allows a bank to pay only those specific checks that have been issued by its customer. Click here to read more of the latest ABA Insurance Safe A!ert.


You can access additional loss control resources on a variety of topics such as cybersecurity, wire fraud, employment practices and more on ABA Insurance Services' blog at Insights on abais.com.


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Smart Social Marketing Starts with a SMART Plan

By Neal Reynolds, president, BankMarketingCenter.com

The secret to successful marketing is, of course, planning. As a critical component of your overall marketing plan, social messaging deserves the same consideration as any marketing initiative. While at face value, social seems easy; why, it’s nothing more than posting to Facebook, right? Well, unfortunately, it isn’t. So, where to begin. Before you even consider posting to Instagram or opening a Facebook account, here is what you need to do first: Set SMART goals. In the world of bank marketing, what does SMART stand for? Click here to read more from Reynolds’ latest blog post and visit www.bankmarketingcenter.com for more great marketing ideas.


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Marijuana Legislative Update, UCC, Employee Engagement, Social Media, BSA Officer Update and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

See the full slate of upcoming webinars here.


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Recruit, Retain and Develop the Best Bankers with GBA Career Solutions


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 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’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:


Donalsonville - PeoplesSouth Bank

The bank recently made a $50,000 donation to Donalsonville Hospital through the Georgia HEART program. Pictured from left are: Denver Davis, bank ag lender; Kadie Matthews, hospital CFO; Mitchell Blanks, bank board member; Caleb Stuckey, bank co-president; Erin Stuckey, bank co-president; Herman Brookins, hospital president/chairman of the board; James Moody, hospital administrator; April Massey, hospital assistant administrator; and Bradley Grantham, bank Donalsonville branch manager.


PeoplesSouth Bank


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Albany - Georgia Community Bank

Heidi Breeden has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer.


Moultrie - Moultrie Bank & Trust

Janet Childs and Rebecca Herrera have joined the bank as deposit account specialists, and Ramona Thomas has joined the bank as a teller.


Atlanta - Georgia Bankers Association Insurance Trust

Congratulations to General Counsel Edie Lindsay, who retired June 30. Trust interim president and CEO Joe Brannen said, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Edie for more than three decades, first as our outside ERISA counsel and for the last 10 years as our in-house counsel. Edie has provided sound advice for the boards of the GBA Insurance Trust and of GBA Retirement Services. Edie will still be providing her counsel as needed in the years ahead while having more time to enjoy other pursuits. Best wishes, Edie!” The Trust is also pleased to announce that in-house staff attorney Keri Brooks has been named corporate secretary. That’s Edie second from left in the picture below following a Rugged Maniac obstacle course staff outing. And that’s Keri kneeling on the right in the other picture following a Tough Mudder obstacle course our staff ran with our past chairman Jackson McConnell and Bank Counsel Section member Rob Klingler. Our lawyers don’t mind getting dirty!



Breeden Childs Hererra Thomas



Lindsay (second from left) Brooks (far right)



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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