June 24, 2022 

Donna Kelley leading
the meeting

Asset Liability Committee Holds Summer Meeting

Member CFOs and volunteers from Associate Member companies supporting bank finance teams huddled Wednesday in Macon for the GBA Asset Liability Committee meeting. Led by incoming committee Chair Donna Kelley, First National Bank, Bainbridge, the committee highlighted market and financial trends affecting their banks and began planning the annual GBA Financial Risk Management Conference. From an economic environment perspective, members from around the state reported solid overall business conditions despite the recent rise in inflation and other possible consumer and business stress points. For most, loan demand remains good, and while slowing somewhat, deposits also continue to grow. Areas of concern for bank CFOs include the downside effects of rising rates on their bond portfolios, the need to anticipate possible liquidity challenges, capital planning and loan and asset pricing strategies. Haynes Standard, First State Bank, Wrens, is the incoming committee vice chair, and thanks to Jay Torbert, Southeastern Bank, Dairen, for his leadership as committee Chair during the 2021-22 program year. The committee also got a good start on planning the conference agenda. Mark your calendar for the Financial Risk Management Conference Nov. 4-5 at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North. Registration will open soon. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Congrats to GSBLSU Graduates!

A solid group of 13 bankers from Georgia graduated June 3 from the Graduate School of Banking at LSU. They were members of a class of 192 bankers from 21 states who earned their diplomas. In addition to earning his diploma, Steven Caudell of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance became one of only 115 bankers to ever earn all-A grades on bank-study projects throughout their entire enrollment. GBA is among the 15 state bankers associations sponsoring the school, and with this year’s class, 1,695 Georgia bankers have successfully completed the intensive 3-year program conducted during two weeks in successive years. Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, is the school president and Ryan Earnest, president and CEO, First National Community Bank, and a 2008 school graduate, is on the Board of Trustees. Click here to see all the Georgia graduates. For more information on the school, click here.


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Three Rural Georgia Counties Hot for Jobs

Madison, Putnam and Franklin counties are among the top 10 counties nationwide for growth in job postings. As covered by Neighborhood Nexus, a report from a national labor data company shows that  Madison, Putnam, and Franklin counties ranked 2nd, 4th, and 5th, respectively. It’s also notable that 90% of the top 50 counties with the highest growth in job postings nationally were in rural counties. Read more here.


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The Westin Jekyll Island

Register now!

Compliance Conference – Oct. 19-21, The Westin Jekyll Island

We invite all with compliance responsibilities to join us at The Westin Jekyll Island, Oct. 19-21. We are finalizing the agenda but have confirmed the following sessions and speakers:

  • Fair Lending, Gary Clayton, Fair Lending Examination Specialist, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

  • Crypto and Cannabis Overview, Brad Rustin, partner, Nelson Mullins.

  • Washington Update, Keith Barnett, partner, and Carlin McCrory, associate, Troutman Pepper.

Other topics will include: Flood compliance, HMDA, a general roundtable discussion, and an Auditor and Compliance Officer panel discussion. Get all the details and register here. With questions, Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Santa Cruz

GBA Member Profile

Ice Cream in Winter with Ronna Santa Cruz

In her very first job at Mom’s Homemade Ice Cream shop, Ronna Santa Cruz learned that people will always surprise you. “We sold more ice cream on any given day in the winter than we did in the summer,” she said, as an example. The Quantum National Bank, Suwanee, vice president of deposit operations and a representative on GBA’s Security Committee stresses the importance of hard work (“even when you don’t see the results right away”), shares about inspiring fifth graders in the local school’s Junior Achievement program to become bankers and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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GBA Insurance Trust Holds Annual Meeting

The participants attending the 57th annual meeting of the GBA Insurance Trust received an in-depth report on the Trust’s operations during the past year and elected new Board members. Rick Whaley, president and CEO, Citizens Bank of Americus, chairs the Trust. Whaley reported the Trust was pleased to return excess reserves to the participants last year that were built up due to lower claims experienced during the pandemic. Claims have returned to traditional levels as participants have accessed their needed health care coverage. The Trust has continued its focus on each individual covered by our plans. Participants continue to use Wellview, our partner that provides access to everything from telehealth visits to coaches to help with diet and nutrition and to mental health therapists. Those benefits are available without any out-of-pocket costs. Whaley also reported on a new technology investment that uses past claims and other data to help predict future health events at the individual level. The intention is to engage with those members at the highest risk to help them navigate the complex health care system. “The Trust isn’t satisfied with the status quo. We are continuing to innovate with our wellness partner and develop new technology to help our members lead healthier lives and concurrently, bend down the cost of health care,” said Whaley. Directors elected for a three-year term in addition to Whaley were Jackson McConnell, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton; Brad Barber, First National Bank, Bainbridge; and Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. With questions, contact Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Bankers on Retirement Readiness Path

GBA Retirement Services, Inc. chairman Chuck Copeland, First National Bank of Griffin, reported at the GBA annual meeting that Georgia bankers participating in the association-sponsored 401k retirement plan are on the right path to becoming retirement ready. The retirement trust measures one’s ability to anticipate a financially successful retirement as having generated sufficient savings by retirement, that in combination with anticipated social security benefits, replaces at least 70% of their working income. National surveys indicate that only 25% of Americans are on track with their retirement savings to achieve the 70% of working income benchmark. “I’m pleased to report that 64% of the participants in the GBARS plan are currently estimated to be on track to succeed. We are more than doubling the national average,” said Copeland. As of March 31, 2022, the trust had just under $256 million in combined 401K and defined benefit pension dollars under management with 86% of the eligible employees actively participating. With questions, contact Mandy Richards, 404.420.2025, Director of GBA Retirement Services.


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Staying Calm in a Bear Market

The S&P 500 officially closed in bear market territory on June 13th. Bear markets bring much anxiety to participants in 401(k) plans, particularly those nearing retirement. Ironically, low points in consumer sentiment tend to be fairly bullish for equities looking 12 months down the road. Bear markets can take a while to recover from, but no bear market lasts forever and historically the market has gone on to make new highs down the road. American Trust, the investment manager and discretionary trustee for GBA Retirement Services, released the following commentary for participants in the GBA Master Trust. Click here to read more.


The best way to weather storms like this is to maintain a long-term focus and keep a well-diversified portfolio. It’s also important for participants to continue making contributions and receiving their employee match. It’s a great buying opportunity while the market is low. Over 84% of participants in the GBA Master 401(k) Plan are invested in our Managed Account Solution, which becomes more conservative as the participant gets closer to retirement age, and also adds a wealth preservation strategy for those who are 5 to 7 years from retirement. Diversification is key and having a professionally managed account helps participants with asset allocation and to focus more on long-term goals.


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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Crime and Punishment

Georgia Bonnie & Clyde Sentenced for Crime Spree including Bank Robbery

Quantavious Cedron Arnold and Ericka Brewster have been sentenced to federal prison for carrying out a two-week crime spree during which they robbed a bank and fled in a car Arnold had stolen at gunpoint two days earlier. On June 14, Arnold was sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $8,200 in restitution. Read more about the crimes and sentencing here.


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The Broadmoor

2023 GBA Annual Meeting Destination Revealed

It may have been the worst kept secret ever. By the time attendees gathered for the final dinner at the Annual Meeting last week – during which the destination for next year’s meeting is traditionally revealed -- word had spread about the 2023 location and tables were already buzzing with the news.  Even with the leak, there was lots of excitement when the official announcement came: GBA’s Annual Meeting will return to The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, June 18-20, 2023. Since first opening its doors more than a century ago, The Broadmoor has offered guests an incredible way to experience the unique beauty of the American West. Today, as the world’s longest running consecutive Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort, that tradition is met with warm, genuine hospitality and an unmatched selection of adventures and activities that celebrate its magnificent surroundings. Newly elected GBA chair Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust, Athens, will host next year’s meeting. Be sure the following dates are blocked on your calendar. We will be back on our customary Sunday-Tuesday pattern (June 18-20), with Wednesday, June 21, as a travel day. We’ll share information about meeting and hotel reservations as soon as we’re set to open those. Questions?  Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: Our customer received a phone call from someone telling the customer that the customer’s computer was about to be hacked. The person convinced the customer to allow remote sign in to the customer’s computer to “stop the hacking process.” In this process, the customer provided both of his debit card numbers and PINs. The fraudster used these to then purchase gift cards. We feel the customer was clearly negligent in this case, but does that help the bank at all?


Answer: Unfortunately, when fraudsters gain access to accounts by persuading consumers to provide their access device (e.g., authorization or authentication code), Regulation E generally considers such situations to be unauthorized electronic fund transfers. Regulation E’s commentary specifically states that “[a]n unauthorized EFT includes a transfer initiated by a person who obtained the access device from the consumer through fraud or robbery.” Read more here.


Furthermore, according to the commentary, “consumer behavior that may constitute negligence under state law, such as situations where the consumer wrote the PIN on a debit card or on a piece of paper kept with the card, does not affect the consumer’s liability for unauthorized transfers. More here.


Therefore, consumer liability in these instances is generally going to be limited to $50 if the consumer notifies the financial institution of the loss or theft of an access device within two business days of learning of the loss or theft of the access device, or up to a maximum of $500 if the consumer fails to provide notice within that time period.


Visit www.compliancealliance.com for more helpful Q&A resources.



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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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IntraFi® Assetpoint® Connects Buyers and Sellers of Bank Assets

IntraFi® Assetpoint® is a single point that connects buyers and sellers of bank assets locally, regionally, and nationally. IntraFi Assetpoint can help you build valuable connections by providing personal introductions to banks that have identified themselves as having complementary loan interests. Learn more about loan purchase programs below that can help you meet your balance sheet and profitability goals.

IntraFi Assetpoint is brought to you by IntraFi® Network. Please contact Danny Capitel, 703.292.3476, to learn more.


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AML, DEI, Flood Insurance, Appraisal Rules and Standards and More Upcoming

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:


Atlanta - Wells Fargo

A total of $5.7 million in low-interest loans will be available to local small businesses under the Atlanta Recovery Loan Program. The initiative, announced last week by Mayor Andre Dickens’ office, is administered through United Way of Greater Atlanta and Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm. The funding comes from a $20 million donation Wells Fargo made to the city in January aimed at helping small businesses. Read more here.


Chamblee - East West Bank

The bank awarded Etowah High School Class of 2022 graduate Ella Daugherty the 2022 East West Bank Scholarship for $2,500. Daugherty will use the scholarship at the University of Georgia, where she plans to study business management and health policy and administration to pursue a career as a hospital administrator.


Wells Fargo Daugherty


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Cairo - United National Bank

Our sympathies to bank Chief Financial Officer Jane Trulock, whose husband, George C. Trulock, Jr., died on June 13 in Thomasville. Read more here.


Columbus - Synovus

Synovus Financial Corp. has appointed John H. Irby and Alexandra Villoch to its board of directors, effective July 1. Irby is a commercial real estate investor and attorney with Atlanta-based Wilson Brock & Irby, LLC, and Villoch is chief executive officer of the Baptist Health Foundation, part of Baptist Health South Florida.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

The bank recently sent out a news release remembering former President and Chief Executive Officer M. Hugh Turner, who died last month in Fitzgerald. Read more here.


Leesburg - Colony Bank

Jamie Knight has been promoted to Leesburg market president. Read more here.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

Donna Wall has been promoted to assistant vice president of loan administration. Read more here.


Moultrie - Moultrie Bank & Trust

Anne Kathryn Cannon has joined the bank as commercial electronic banking specialist/ISO/BSA officer. Kelvin Mills has joined the bank as network administrator. Jean Parrish has joined the bank as executive assistant/HR assistant.


Savannah - Great Oaks Bank

Jessica Murrell has been promoted to banking officer. Read more here. Luke Bearden has been promoted to banking officer and portfolio manager. Read more here.


Washington - F&M Bank

Andie Bridges has been promoted to retail marketing officer.


Turner Knight Wall Cannon Mills



Parrish Murrell Bearden Bridges



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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