Nov. 18, 2022 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Georgia Bankers Association

We’ve got so much for which we’re grateful during this season of Thanksgiving. As we take time to give thanks with our families next week, we’ll also be expressing gratitude to our professional family, too. We’re blessed with:

  • A caring Georgia banking community: Our member bankers, Associate Members, Bank Counsel Section members and Bank Accountant Section members serve their communities and clients, and through GBA they work together for the common good of the industry.


  • A team of consummate professionals: We appreciate the opportunity to serve you. Each of us puts our heart and soul into providing members with the most value for their investment.


  • The best state and country: Georgia is an amazing state in which to live, work and play, and we count our blessings for the freedoms and opportunities we have here in the United States.

Thanks for your ongoing support, and we are wishing you a happy and festive Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Our next Bulletin will be Dec. 2, but we'll dash out a brief E-Bulletin if there is breaking news that warrants immediate attention before then.


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Speaker David Ralston – a Leader for His Time

We were saddened at the news that Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge), died this week following an extended illness. Throughout his career, first in the State Senate, then later as a House member and finally as Speaker, he was a consistent supporter of legislation creating the environment allowing Georgia banks to efficiently serve the needs of families, businesses and their communities. Chosen by his peers as Speaker in 2010, Speaker Ralston was the longest-serving active Speaker in the country. He’s probably most known for never wavering from his conservative roots but championing bipartisan legislation that helped move Georgia forward, ranging from rural economic development to mental health reform. “When he was elected Speaker, we were in the throes of the Great Recession. There were plenty of legislators who wanted to upend laws related to foreclosure, priority of liens, director and officer liability, and many other issues important to us. As a practicing attorney with broad knowledge of all that went into making Georgia the number one state for business, he knew firsthand the existing finance-related laws on the books had served the state well. Those existing statutes allowed capital to flow smoothly through regulated financial institutions to consumers and businesses of all sizes. He didn’t bend to incredible pressure to change things just because some had gotten in a pinch. He always saw the bigger picture. We are the beneficiaries of his enlightened leadership, and we will miss him greatly,” said GBA president and CEO Joe Brannen. One major job for a Speaker is to appoint committee chairs. Those he’s appointed, including current chairman Noel Williams (R-Cordele), oversee issues critical to our industry. Each of his appointees kept open doors and ran fair hearings giving all sides a chance to be heard. Those committee chairs’ level-headed approach to issues flowing through their committees matched Speaker Ralston’s level-headed approach to overseeing an often-rambunctious House. Retired Synovus banker and the longest-serving member of the House, Calvin Smyre, a Democrat from Columbus, summed it up best when he was quoted as saying about the Speaker, “He was what we needed during these times.” Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order directing the state and U.S. flags to fly at half-staff until the Speaker’s internment and authorized his body to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Upon Speaker Ralston’s death, Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) automatically assumed the position of Speaker.


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House Republicans Select 2023 Leadership

House Republicans met in caucus Monday and voted to nominate current Majority Leader Jon Burns (R-Newington) as the new Speaker when the House convenes in January. Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton) will be nominated again as Speaker Pro-Tem. Reps. Burns and Jones are assured of winning due to Republican control of the Chamber. House Republicans also elected Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula) as Majority Leader and Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) to lead their Caucus as Chair. Other caucus officers elected are Rep. Houston Gaines (R-Athens) as vice chair and Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Marietta) as secretary/treasurer. Congratulations, all.


Burns Jones Efstration Williamson Gaines Ehrhart


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State Senate Leadership Elections

State Senate Republicans caucused last week to elect officers for the 2023 legislative session. Sen. John Kennedy (R-Macon) will be nominated President Pro-Tem, the second highest position after the Lt. Governor. With Republicans controlling the Chamber in 2023, Sen. Kennedy is expected to be confirmed. In other positions, Sen. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) was elected Senate Majority Leader and Sen. Randy Robertson (R-Catula) was elected whip. Republican caucus leaders elected were Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas) chair, Matt Brass (R-Newnan) vice chair, and Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) secretary. Congratulations to all.


Kennedy Gooch Robertson Anavitarte Brass Burke


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National Recognition for Members as Great Workplaces

Several GBA member banks made a splash this week as they were recognized as being among the best banks for which to work by American Banker. CEO David Lance and the team at Greater Community Bank in Rome earned the No. 20 spot and is the smallest organization in terms of employees to be recognized. "Banks have taken the lessons learned [from the pandemic] and implemented more flexibility in when, where and how employees can perform their jobs, which appeals to people's desire for better work-life balance," Lance said in the feature. "Also, companies have focused on enhancing culture by promoting inclusion, supporting pathways for growth, and letting employees know they are valued and appreciated.” Other member banks recognized were SouthState Bank, United Community Bank, FirstBank and Capital City Bank. Read about all of them and the others here (subscription may be required).


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GBA Member Profile

In the Numbers with Jim McLemore

Oconee State Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Jim McLemore, learned early on in his banking career that he’s best suited to using his accounting degree. “My first job in banking was as a management trainee. I worked on the teller line and then in the mortgage department. I wasn’t very good at either,” McLemore said. He found that what he is good at is taking complex/arcane financial topics and making them understandable and useful for just about everyone else in the bank. The member of GBA’s 2022-2023 Asset/Liability Management Committee shares the best piece of advice he got from a mentor as well as how proud he felt to be in banking during the pandemic when banks were meeting a very crucial need in their communities, his athletic hobbies and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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Members Sharpen Credit Analysis Skills; More Great Opportunities Coming up

A solid group of lending professionals gathered in Macon Wednesday to learn the ins and outs of Business Cash Flow Analysis from expert banker and fan-favorite speaker Mike Allen. Attendees put their skills to the test with an intensive case study assignment and other interactive exercises.



Alert: We’ve got two great additional seminars coming up in December.


  • Internal Audit: Dec. 9 - Crowe LLP Senior Manager Darren Shuster and Internal Audit, Fraud Prevention Consultant Mike Thomas will present a practical, "hands-on" discussion of effective practices in auditing the lending function, auditing mortgage banking functions and recent trends in financial institution fraud.  Register here to secure your spot. 

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Leader Updates

Split Ticket Voting, Meet New U.S. Representatives, Home Prices

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

  • Election analysis: We shared a look at how split-ticket voting likely affected the U.S. Senate and the 2nd Congressional District seats.


  • New House Members: Georgia has two new representatives heading to Washington, D.C. They are 6th district rep.-elect Rich McCormick and 10th district rep-elect Mike Collins. Both are first-time elected officials and we look forward to working with them. Here’s a profile of McCormick and Collins.


  • Homebuyer Sentiment: We shared some analysis about the housing market in the Atlanta MSA that shows the cooling effect of rising rates on home prices in the area. A Redfin/MLS study was out last week reporting area. Median home sales prices dropped from $400,000 to $375,000 from May to September, homes are selling more slowly and price drops while actively listed grew from 23% in May to 39% in September.

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


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GBA BankPAC 2022 Campaign Update

The 2022 BankPAC campaign continues to have success in raising funds for the FedPAC and StatePAC and that generosity has enabled GBA to represent the banking industry by making sure that we support those candidates who support banking. There is still time left to make your contributions this year. We are happy to provide you with guidelines for contributions to the StatePAC (contribution may be from your state-chartered bank or holding company if a national bank) and the FedPAC (must come from eligible individuals – directors, officers and salaried employees.) With questions, please contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893. Contributing this week to the GBA StatePAC are the following banks and companies:

  • Elliott Davis, LLC, Greenville, Rob Stevens, Financial Services Practice Leader

  • Wells Fargo, Chad Gregory, Regional President.

Contributing this week to the GBA FedPAC are those eligible employees, officers, and directors from the following banks:

  • Citizens Bank of Swainsboro, Milton Gray, President & CEO

  • Oconee State Bank, Watkinsville, Neil Stevens, President & CEO

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

  • Georgia Bankers Association, Atlanta, Joe Brannen, President & CEO.

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Reserve Your Spot Today! Legislative and Economic Forum & Reception

Kick off your 2023 educational efforts and boost your knowledge of priority legislative issues by attending GBA’s annual Legislative and Economic Forum, Wednesday, Jan. 11 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Downtown. This event is hosted annually by the GBA Board of DirectorsPublic Affairs Committee and BankPAC Board, and is followed by our annual Legislative Reception honoring members of the General Assembly, Constitutional Officers, statewide Judiciary and other dignitaries. Any member bankers, Associate Members or Bank Counsel Section members with management, finance, business development or government relations-related responsibilities or interests are invited to attend. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Watch upcoming bulletin articles and check the event website for developments in the agenda. We have reserved a block of rooms at The Starling Atlanta Midtown Hotel (Curio Collection by Hilton) for Wednesday night, Jan. 11 for $189/night plus taxes and fees. Reservations may be made by calling 1.800.HILTONS (1.800.445.8667) or through GBA’s custom reservations link. If calling, identify yourself as a member of the GBA Legislative Forum block. Event sponsorships are also available. Click here for that info. Thanks to our event sponsor ServisFirst Bank! Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions. 


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BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament Registration Open

With the BankPAC campaign in full swing, we encourage you to show your support by participating in the 2023 Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. All proceeds will go to the GBA StatePAC.* It’s a great opportunity to invite your co-workers, friends, legislators, directors and customers to meet and shoot a round of clays with your colleagues in the banking industry. Get all the details and register here. You can also show your support for the StatePAC through sponsorship; click here for details. Thanks to sponsors already on board: Citizens Bank of Georgia, First National Bank, Great Oaks Bank, ICI Consulting and Northeast Georgia Bank. 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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Act Fast – New Program Dec. 14

HMDA Workshop – How to Be Ready for Updated Rules in 2023

More smaller banks may now be subject to HMDA reporting in 2023 based on the recent court decision overturning the previous coverage thresholds established by the CFPB. On Dec. 14 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Steve H. Powell & Co. President Brad Washburn will teach a HMDA Workshop to help newly required institutions as well as those regular reporters who need a brush up on all the best practices. Whether you are new to HMDA reporting or need a refresher course this is a workshop you do not want to miss. Washburn will provide in-depth classroom style training to break down the current HMDA rules and guidance to provide practical tips for implementation. Register here to secure your spot and get all your HMDA questions answered.


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GBA Website Digital Banner Advertising Now Available

GBA is pleased to partner with ARP to offer a website banner advertising program. Please reach out to ARP’s Christina Womack to learn more about the option for a run-of site GBA website banner ad.

Christina Womack

Direct: 214.396.6581

Office: 855.790.0001 x1016

ARP Creative Services are also included at no charge giving potential advertisers access to a professional design team to ensure the highest quality design and artwork.


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Registration now open!

The BSA Summit, 2023 - Jan. 30-Feb.2, Peachtree City

GBA is excited to partner with Kristen Stogniew, Esq., CFE, shareholder, Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund, to bring you the 2023 GBA BSA Summit. Stogniew has more than 20 years of experience as a trusted advisor to community banks on legal, operational and compliance concerns. She also facilitates The Florida Bankers Association’s popular BSA and AML School.


GBA’s BSA Summit is a comprehensive BSA school that has everything you need to assess and maintain your BSA/AML compliance program as well as to meet annual regulatory training requirements. Highlights include:

  • Special sessions for those new to BSA/AML

  • SAR and Money Laundering Scenarios

  • Panel and Peer Group Discussions

  • Cryptocurrency and Cannabis

  • Risk Assessment and Board Reporting.

Registration is limited so secure your spot today! Registration includes printed session materials, an opening reception, meals and breaks. We are also offering exhibit and sponsorship opportunities. Associate members are eligible to sponsor, exhibit or both sponsor and exhibit. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact GBA’s Aimee Corcoran.


GBA has applied for CRCM continuing education credits for attending the school.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: Can a large deposit hold be placed on a next day item (cashier's check) for the amount over $5,525?


Answer: Yes, Reg CC allows this for cashier's checks or treasury checks. Members commonly believe that they cannot place any exception hold on a cashier’s check but that is not the case. For large deposit holds specifically, as long as you're making the first $5,525 available by the next business day, you're allowed to hold the amounts in excess of that. Read more here.


Remember, you always have access to upcoming hot-topic news on consumer and regulatory compliance updates on the Compliance Alliance News Page. Click the following link to Bookmark the News.


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Registration is OPEN!

2023 Ops/Tech Conference - Feb. 8-10, Savannah

It’s time to sign up to attend GBA’s Operations and Technology Conference, which will be Feb. 8-10 at The DeSoto hotel in Savannah. One major speaker will be Virginia Heyburn, director of Research, Insights and Advocacy for Engage fi delivering a session called Demystifying Open Banking: Why Innovation is the Bank Brand of the Future. “'Open banking' is the buzzword of the day in banking circles, creating confusion and concern around what banks should do next to better understand and create new possibilities promised by the pundits. Far more than the obvious API-based integration advantage, open banking is first and foremost a business strategy for the future,” Heyburn says. “This session will build a business case for Open Banking that shows the possibilities for new revenue streams and the need for Open Banking strategies across both core banking and digital banking.” The rest of the agenda is taking shape, but topics will include strengthening operational efficiencies, cybersecurity insurance, fraud prevention strategies and integrating technology into your enterprise strategy. Thanks to the GBA Operations and Technology Committee, led by its Chair Tracy NeSmith, Planters First Bank, and Vice Chair Shan Venable, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, for their work on the agenda. With sponsor and exhibitor questions, please contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034. For more information and to register, click here.


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Mark Your Calendars!

GBA 2023 Spring Conferences

Mark your calendars and save the date for the following 2023 spring conferences!

  • HR Professionals Institute - Wednesday, March 22, through Friday, March 24, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

  • Marketing Conference - Wednesday, March 22 through Friday, March 24, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

  • Bank Security Conference - Wednesday, April 12, through Friday, April 14, at The Westin Jekyll, Jekyll Island.

  • Rural Development & Lending Conference - Thursday, May 18, through Friday, May 19, at the King & Prince, St. Simons.

With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Banking Fundamentals - Ideal Online Training for New Bankers!

ABA’s Banking Fundamentals training program includes three, four-week-long courses that combine the principles of the banking industry with real-world application. Suitable for those new to banking seeking to gain an understanding of the changing world of financial services, this course offers an online, paperless, series of courses that combines peer collaboration with instructor guidance. All readings are included in the course. Click the links below to learn more and register.



Facilitated online courses feature an online learning community with fellow students, instructor guidance and feedback. Programs are continually reevaluated and refined to meet current needs and changes in the industry.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Click here to see all facilitated offerings (select "Member"). With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.


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Employment Records Retention, Anatomy of a Cyber Attack, Errors & Disputes and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars. 

See the full slate of upcoming webinars here.


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Black Friday Sale – Get 40% Off Sitewide!

Save Big with BankTalentHQ this Thanksgiving – Valid only Nov. 25-28

For a limited time, GBA partner BankTalentHQ will be offering all job posting packages for employers at 40% off. Just use the code THANKFUL2022 between Nov. 25-28 when you check out. See all available Job Posting Packages here.


BankTalentHQ is the premier talent management site for banking careers, brought to you by an alliance of banking associations and the American Bankers Association. Finding and keeping top talent is high on the list of challenges banks face, and the solution is BankTalentHQ! Visit and check out our job posting packages and let BankTalentHQ help you connect with talent today.



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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.


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

Wells Fargo and the Atlanta Falcons recently announced a five-year sponsorship agreement. In addition to branded cards and content, Wells Fargo and the Falcons will work together to develop a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Fellowship Program, aimed at creating more formalized relationships with local HBCU’s and more career opportunities for HBCU graduates. Read more here.

Trenton - Bank of Dade

In honor of Veterans Day, the bank made a donation to its local American Legion Post 106, which supports local veterans and the Trenton community as a whole. Accepting the donation was Gary Moore, the current commander of the American Legion Post 106, who served in the U.S Army from 1966-1968, as well as retired Brigadier General Bob Woods, past commander of the American Legion Post 106, who served 30 years in the U.S. Army. They are pictured at right with bank CEO Shannon Henry.


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GBA Newsmakers


Albany - Colony Bank

Deborah Clemons has joined the bank as banking center manager for its Albany market. Read more here.


Athens - Classic City Bank

Our sympathies to his wife, Donna, son, Bevan, daughter, McGee, their family and bank colleagues for the death of bank chairman and CEO Bill Hopper, who died last Friday. Bill is a former GBA Board member and was long active in the association. Read more here.


Atlanta - Synovus Bank

The bank promoted Cory Jackson to Central Atlanta market president, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Jackson will succeed Marie Mikle, who will retire Dec. 31 after a 21-year career with Synovus.


Augusta - Pinnacle Bank

Angie Hubble has joined the bank team as branch manager in its Augusta Furys Ferry location.


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Dr. Jermaine Whirl, president of Augusta Technical College, has joined the bank’s Board of Directors. Read more here.


Savannah/Statesboro - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Riley Young has been promoted to cash management specialist for the bank’s Savannah and Statesboro markets. Read more here.


Atlanta - Georgia Department of Revenue

DOR Commissioner Robyn Crittenden has accepted a position in the private sector and will be resigning as head of the Georgia Department of Revenue, effective Nov. 25. Deputy State Revenue Commissioner and General Counsel Frank O’Connell will serve as interim commissioner until a new head of the department is appointed.



Clemons Hopper Jackson Hubble Whirl Young



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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