March 18, 2022  

General Assembly Has Busy Week

Members of the Georgia General Assembly were in session four days this week. Tuesday was Crossover Day, and legislators met late into the evening voting on bills so the other chamber could consider those measures later in the session. GBA’s priority bill was passed by the state Senate, clearing it for the Governor’s signature. With only nine days remaining in the 40-Day session, we expect the pace of activity to remain brisk. Be looking for this week’s Legislative Update we’ll publish after Legislators adjourn Friday for the week.


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Action Alert

Chime in to Lower Community Bank Leverage Ratio

We urge bankers to contact their members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Community Bank Relief Act (S. 3409 and H.R. 6145). The legislation would direct regulators to lower the community bank leverage ratio to between 8% and 8.5% until the end of 2024. A lower leverage ratio gives banks the flexibility they need to support economic recovery and focus on meeting the needs of customers still emerging from the effects of the pandemic. Contact your member of Congress here.


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Raskin Bows Out, other Fed Nominees Advance

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which includes Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, has approved President Biden’s nominations of Jerome Powell to serve a second term as Fed chairman, Lael Brainard, to serve as vice chairman, and Georgia-native Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson, who were nominated to serve as governors. The nominations moved forward for full Senate confirmation consideration after Sarah Bloom Raskin withdrew her nomination as vice chair for supervision earlier in the week.


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GBA Member Profile

Believing in Yourself and Your Customers with David Griffin

Colony Bank Senior Vice President, Director of Facilities and Security Officer David Griffin began his banking career in 1978 as a teller, and over time he's had the opportunity to serve in several roles such as a vault teller, consumer lender and branch manager. As a consumer lender, Griffin met with a prospective customer who was in need of transportation and had a good job but not such a stellar credit history. “After several meetings with her, I explained that she did not meet the criteria of our loan policy, but that I was going to trust her and give her a chance. To this day, when I see her, she always tells me how thankful she is that I believed in her and made the loan. She is still a good customer of Colony.” Griffin, the vice chair of GBA’s Security Committee shares about his first job working in his dad’s TV shop, how his singing group was voted the top male quartet of the year by the Gospel Music Association and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: Security Conference Set to Pack a Punch

There’s still time for bank security officers to register for the GBA Security Conference coming up April 11-13 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. This year’s program is chock full of helpful content. Experts will be covering the latest in ATM crime trends, security technology updates, elder fraud protection, internal fraud prevention and investigation and preventing business compromise. See the full agenda here. Get more details and register for the conference here.


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Committee and Board Service

Get in the Game by Serving as a GBA Volunteer

GBA is looking for bankers and associate members to share their time and talent on one of our committees/boards (or to nominate a fellow banker or member). Each year, more than 300 bankers give back to their peers and industry by serving. The time commitment for most committees and boards is very manageable, and our members tell us they get so much more out of the experience than they are required to give. Take a look at all the opportunities by clicking here. You can also access the volunteer/nomination form through that link. Response deadline is April 4. Have questions? Contact GBA’s David Oliver. Also, we’ll be glad to connect you to a current committee/Board member who can answer your questions.


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Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force Highlights Success

We appreciate the work our state and federal law enforcement partners have put in to fighting cyber fraud in Georgia the past year. This week, federal and state agencies noted some of the successes the Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force has had since its formation a year ago. Read the press release from the participating agencies that mentions 50 leads for investigation into money mules and spotlights eight arrests, as well as quotes and information from all of the task force partners.


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Over $21.5 Billion in Public Deposits Protected by GBA-Administered Programs

One of the many ways GBA serves the banking industry is its administration of the Georgia Secure Deposit Program and the Georgia State Pledging Pool programs. These programs help the 49 participating banks efficiently meet the requirement to protect public deposits through pledging collateral above FDIC insurance coverage. This is critical to ensure there’s never any loss of public funds. More than $21.5 billion in public deposits are protected by the programs. The Secure Deposit Program provides full protection for public deposits while also allowing participants to lower their required collateral amounts. The Georgia State Pledging Pool allows participant banks to pledge at 110% of their entire public deposit portfolio as opposed to directly pledging 110% for each separate public deposit account. GBA’s Sherry Scruggs, GBA’s public deposit collateral pools manager, does an amazing job in running these programs every day. GBA administers the programs on behalf of the Georgia State Treasurer. For details, contact Sherry at or visit the Public Deposit Collateral Pool Program section of our website.


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Attention Emerging Leaders  

New Spy Stories to Close Leadership Conference Program

We’re excited to share details on the educational sessions coming your way at the 2022 Leadership Conference, July 11-13, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. Our headline closer is going to be former CIA spy James Olson. He’s spoken to our group before, but he’s got some new material he’s now able to share about his undercover career. Jeff Dorfman, state fiscal economist, will also be back to share his economic outlook for Georgia; Dr. Melissa Furman, MS, DBA, founder and consultant at Career Potential, LLC, will lead a workshop on overcoming burnout and leading your team; GBA counsel Jonathan Hightower and partner at Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP, will share his wisdom and perspective on big-picture and strategic thinking in today’s environment; and Nathan Stovall, principal analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, will take a down-the-road look at profit perspectives for community banks. If you’re a young or newly appointed C-suite banker, a senior officer, a department head, a business development officer, or if you have community or government relations responsibilities, this conference is for you. Click here to explore the conference website, register, see hotel information, or reserve your exhibit booth or sponsorship. Make your hotel plans soon, as this is a very popular conference and summertime is the busiest time for resort properties. A big thanks to our sponsors: Aubrey Thrasher, LLC; CRS Data; CSRA Business Lending; Elliott Davis; FHLB Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; Holmes-Shaw Agency; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Pearl Meyer & Partners, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; Qualtik; ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division; Steve H. Powell & Co.; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders, LLP, and Wipfli, LLP. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Crime and Punishment

Serial Robber Gets 17+ Years in Prison

A serial bank robber, Wesley Sorrow, last week was sentenced to 210 months in prison. Sorrow’s most-recent conviction was for robbing the American Pride Bank branch on Forsyth Rd. in Macon in 2019. He robbed the bank just a few days after being released from prison for a previous robbery. “Previous federal prison time was apparently not a teaching moment for Sorrow because within a week of being released, he went right back to his bank robbing ways,” said Philip Wislar, Acting Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “To anyone thinking about robbing a bank, the message from this sentence is clear. You will get caught, and when you do, you will serve a significant amount of time in prison.” Read more details here.


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Don’t Miss Georgia’s Premier Agribusiness Banking Conference

Join your fellow bankers who do business in rural markets and serve Georgia’s number-one industry during GBA’s Rural Development and Lending Conference May 19-20 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. The program is a deep dive into all the info bankers need to be successful, including an ag economy update, crop and crop insurance insights, a look at ag-tech innovations, and how Georgia’s ports support the state’s agriculture economy. See program highlights here, and get more details and register here.


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In-Person Skill Building

Duo of Lending Seminars and More Coming up

Lenders and those in support roles for lenders have two great seminars coming up that can help sharpen your skills. Check out these in-person seminars:

  • Lending Focus: Analyzing Personal Finance Seminar - March 30: 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. This program is designed for consumer lenders, commercial lenders, and credit analysts/underwriters. 


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More In Person Programs

Financial Reporting & Information Security Seminars

Check out these two high-impact in-person seminars coming up in April.

  • Call Report Seminar - April 13:  Participants will receive a detailed line-by-line review of the commonly completed Call Report schedules with helpful tips for reporting individual items. Michael Gordon and Kris Trainor of Mauldin & Jenkins are our experts.


  • Information Security Officer Seminar - April 27: Safe Systems’ Tom Hinkel leads this program that explores exam expectations and how the pandemic changed the ISO function (sponsored by Safe Systems)

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So Many Things to Look Forward to at GBA Annual Meeting!

Anticipation is building around GBA’s Annual Meeting, June 13-15 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. We invite your bank’s executive team and directors; GBA strategic partners, associate members, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant Section members, and your families to join us. You’ll benefit from excellent educational sessions led by industry experts and professional speakers – be sure to click and see details on all the great sessions we’ve got planned. You’ll also enjoy the opportunity to gather and network informally at two hallmark evening events, and just relax with family and friends. Registration is open and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Our room block at The Breakers is currently full, and we are actively working a waitlist. However, we encourage you to register as rooms should open up as plans change closer to time. In addition, we’re opening a block of rooms at the nearby West Palm Beach Hilton, so stay tuned for that info. A hearty thanks to our sponsors: Aubrey Thrasher; Crowe; CRS Data; DA Davidson; Discover Debit; EBS; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FHLBank Atlanta; FHN Financial; First National Bankers Bank; Holmes-Shaw Agency; Jack Henry Banking; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks and Co.; Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC; Profit Resources, Inc.; Qualtik; ServisFirst Bank; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs; SouthState Bank; The Baker Group; Travelers; Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders; Truist Securities; United Bankers Bank; Warren Averett CPAs & Advisors; and Wipfli. Click here for sponsorship info. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Time for an Insurance Program Review?

GBA Strategic Partner ABA Insurance Services is the Most Reliable Source of Insurance for Banks

If your bank is looking to review its D&O policies and other insurance coverages, please keep in mind that GBA Strategic Partner ABA Insurance Services  is committed to serving and supporting banks by providing quality insurance and excellent customer service. We know you may have a local agent or broker you prefer to use, and the ABA Insurance team works alongside local agents nationwide to provide quotes tailored specifically for your bank. This unique bank-owned, banker-directed program has been supporting the banking industry for over 30 years. Contact Pat Williams at or 410.960.6878, to learn more.


A Note About Agents and Brokers: For those banks that either don't have a local agent/broker or who don't want to go direct to the carrier, the GBA’s recommended agent is unaffiliated with ABA Insurance Services. If you'd like more information, please contact Paul Halloran at


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Let Bank Marketing Center Help You Celebrate Financial Literacy Month in April with Free Content

Join GBA partner on any no-obligation demo during the rest of the month and receive a free suite of Financial Literacy Month campaign materials that includes content for the following channels:

  • Facebook and other Social Channels

  • Electronic Newsletter

  • Website

  • Print.

Click here to sign up for a demo.


As a reminder, provides banks with unlimited access to several thousand professionally designed, customizable marketing templates, as well as millions of Getty images and videos. This is all on an affordable, monthly subscription basis. Additionally, GBA members automatically receive a 20% subscription discount. To find out more, contact Neal Reynolds at or 678.528.6688.


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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:


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Jefferson Hospital was the recipient of a Georgia HEART Hospital Program grant of $100,000 donated by the bank. These funds are used as part of the program’s initiative to financially assist rural and critical access hospitals in Georgia. Read more here.


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Bremen - American Commerce Bank

Richard Fowler has joined the bank as Senior Vice President, assistant Chief Credit Officer. Read more here.


Columbus - Synovus Bank

Angie Lewis has been appointed interim Chief Risk Officer, effective March 31, until the appointment of a permanent successor. Lewis, current Executive Director of Enterprise Risk for the company and the bank, is taking over from Mark Holladay, who is retiring as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer.


Darien - Southeastern Bank

Jay Torbert has been elected by the bank board of directors as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1, 2022. Torbert has served as a director and president of the bank since July 2021 and as Chief Financial Officer since July 2011. Torbert was also elected to the board of directors of the bank’s parent company, Southeastern Banking Corporation, and promoted to president and CEO of the parent company effective April 1. Read more here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Director of Merchant Services Steve Raines was recently interviewed by Georgia CEO about the launch of the bank's in-house merchant services for customers. See the video here.


Suwanee - Quantum National Bank

Raquel Cobb has joined the bank as Assistant Vice President of Marketing. Read more here.


Statesboro - Steve H. Powell & Company

Steve H. Powell & Company this week announced its new ownership group and executive management team that was effective as of Jan. 1, 2022. The new ownership group and executive management team includes Stewart Thigpen as Chief Executive Officer, Brad Washburn as President, Brian Alligood as Chief Financial Officer, in addition to Dave Wallace and Jeremy Clifton as Chief Operating Officers. Read more here.



Fowler Lewis Torbert Raines Cobb



Steve H. Powell & Company



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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