Oct. 14, 2022 

Big Crowd at South Georgia Community Banking Symposium

Here are a few snapshots from Thursday’s South Georgia Community Banking Symposium. A record-crowd was on hand for this jam-packed program held in partnership with Valdosta State University’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business administration.



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Advocacy Continues in Opposition to Interchange Restriction Expansion

GBA shared a letter with U.S. Senators Ossoff and Warnock this week in opposition to continued efforts to expand interchange restrictions as first passed in the Dodd-Frank Act. The letter is signed by national industry associations across the banking landscape and describes our opposition to proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that the Senate recently began debating. Read the letter here. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893, or Joe Brannen at 404.401.0274.


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Happy Georgia Bank Peanut Week

Members across Georgia’s Peanut Belt have been participating this week in our annual campaign to help promote the official state crop of Georgia. Check out the @GABankers Twitter feed where we’ve been amplifying member participation throughout the week. Access a good fact sheet about this key Georgia crop here. Participating banks, please send along photos and news from any events you’re having. We’d love to share them with other members. Email Bo Bannen, Katina Prokos and David Oliver.



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Security Committee Convenes

Keeping team members, customers and bank assets safe and secure is always a priority job, and GBA is fortunate to have a volunteer group of the industry’s best security pros guiding helpful programming for their fellow security officers. The GBA Security Committee met in Macon Wednesday, sharing trends, key intel and planning the 2023 Bank Security Conference. Among the hot topics covered were ongoing efforts to combat a variety of internet, text message and check fraud schemes, ATM security, cash-handling procedures and challenges, elder fraud protection, de-escalating volatile exchanges with upset customers and team members and a host of additional physical security challenges. The program is shaping up nicely for the 2023 Bank Security Conference, which will be April 12-14 at the Westin Jekyll Island. Set a placeholder on your calendar for that and look for details and registration info soon. With questions, contact GBA’s Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035, or Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


The GBA Security Committee
meets in Macon
Rebekah Hammond, Oconee State
, contributes to the group
David Griffin, Colony Bank,
shares his perspective


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Consumers Give Banks Good Marks

Banks continue to get high marks from customers on service, competitiveness, transparency, card products and protecting customers. The latest national polling from ABA and Morning Consult says 9 in 10 customers are “very satisfied” or “satisfied" with their primary bank. Eighty-four percent of respondents said innovation and technological improvements by banks are making it easier for all Americans to access financial services. Nine in 10 (88%) consumers agreed they have multiple options when selecting products and services such as bank accounts, loans and credit cards, and 85% said they have a wide array of choices when deciding where to bank. Eight in 10 consumers (82%) believe the financial services industry is highly competitive, and 82% believe their bank is transparent about disclosing fees. More details here.



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GBA BankPAC 2022 Campaign Update

The GBA BankPAC Board of Directors is pleased with the 2022 campaign so far and wants to remind you these efforts support all of the banking industry in Georgia. Your participation is key to our success. Here are the materials needed to assist you in contributing 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.) Using a payroll deduction method for individual contributions is an option to consider. With questions, contact Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893. Thank you for considering this worthy effort that benefits the whole industry!


River City Bank, Rome, Jamie Tallent, president and CEO, contributed to the GBA StatePAC in the last week.


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

  • Ameris Bank, Palmer Proctor, president and CEO

  • Morris Bank, Dublin, Spence Mullis, president and CEO

  • Georgia Bankers Association, GBA Insurance Trust and GBA Retirement Services, Inc., Atlanta, Joe Brannen, president
    and CEO

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Last Call! Sign Up for the Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic on Oct. 19

We’ve got a record crowd coming to the BankPAC Golf Classic next Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the River Forest Club in Forsyth, but we still have room for a few more golfers. This annual tournament is hosted by the Leadership GBA Board of Directors, and all proceeds go to the StatePAC.*  It’s also a great way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon! Bring a fellow banker, client, legislator or golfing buddy to play and support this important advocacy effort. Click here for details and to register. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024, with questions.


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level office 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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Skill Building Conferences

Compliance, Financial Risk Management and Credit Coming up

Learn the latest about key trends and network with fellow professionals at our fall conferences. Register now!



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Two Lending Seminars with Fan-Favorite Speaker Coming Up

Cadence Bank EVP, Area Credit Executive for the Georgia and Florida Regions Mike Allen, a high-demand speaker, will present two popular lending seminars this fall at Middle Georgia State University in Macon. Click the links below for more information and to register.

  • Nov. 16: Business Cash Flow Analysis
    An introduction and practical approach to business cash flow analysis, this seminar is designed for small business lenders, commercial lenders, and credit analysts/underwriters. This seminar will assist those bankers who originate and underwrite small business and commercial loans by providing a framework of how to approach the technical and non-technical components to analysis, develop an understanding of what the key points of interest are relative to various requests, and ultimately determine a borrower's capacity to repay your loan. Get all the details and register here.


  • Dec. 8: Loan Documentation
    Prevention of loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques is the objective of this seminar. Topics covered will include background and review, identifying the borrower and collateral, evidencing the debt, attaching and perfecting the collateral, real estate specifics, residential construction lending and guarantees. Get all the details and register here.

Questions? Contact GBA's Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Breaking into Commercial Lending 101 Webinar - Oct. 26, Zoom

Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. On Oct. 26, Andy Keusal of Keusal Learning will present Breaking into Commercial Lending 101, 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. Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know, and check out this video introduction to the course created by Keusal:



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Internal Audit Seminar - Dec. 9, Macon

On Dec. 9 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Crowe LLP Senior Manager Darren Shuster and Internal Audit, Fraud Prevention Consultant Mike Thomas will host GBA’s Internal Audit seminar. This seminar will be a practical, "hands-on" discussion of effective practices in auditing that will cover the following topics: auditing the lending function, auditing mortgage banking functions and recent trends in financial institution fraud. Register here to secure your spot. With questions, contact GBA’s Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


Shuster Thomas


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Enroll Now in 2023 Georgia Banking School, April 30 - May 5

Online enrollment is now available for the 2023 session of the Georgia Banking School, which will be April 30 - May 5 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. For more than 60 years, the school has developed generations of Georgia bank leaders who shape the industry in our state. It offers everything you want and expect from an investment in banker education, specifically preparing the next generation of bank leaders, building the pool of management-level talent in your bank, and connecting students to the most knowledgeable industry experts and a community of fellow bankers. The Georgia Banking School Board, led by Darron Burnette of Synovus, has been hard at work reviewing the curriculum and planning next year’s session. So, with budget season approaching, here are some action items to consider:

  • CEO action – Identify emerging talent and allocate budget so you can have a representative at each school

  • HR officer action – Take a look at specific development plans to identify candidates

  • Alumni action – Recruit your teammates or colleagues at other banks by sharing how the programs helped your career

  • Banker action – Enroll early as there is a limit on the number of first-year students we can have.

Georgia Banking School details and enrollment access here.


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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like [A BNPL] Christmas

By Neal Reynolds, president, Bank Marketing Center

Why are retailers pushing Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) so hard for the holidays. It’s obvious. For them, it’s good business, but is it good for consumers? I understand that BNPL is convenient and low-cost (as long as you follow the rules), at least compared to many credit cards. And consumers, especially younger ones, seem to love it. Proponents of BNPL believe that, when used responsibly, BNPL can actually help consumers manage their budgets. Yet despite their growing acclaim and popularity, are these services really safe? The bottom line is this: BNPL options offer appealing ways to afford different types of shopping purchases. But buyers must be wary of the terms and conditions, especially if there are interest charges or late fees. Not complying with these terms is risky and put someone into debt if they are not careful. Interest rates that can reach 30 percent? Late fees up to 25 percent of the total purchase value? No kidding we should be wary of these things! What opportunity does this trend give community banks? Now is the time to let your customers know that you offer money/credit-management guidance, along with the kind of financial products that truly make sense and meets their needs. Christmas Club accounts, low-interest, no-fee credit cards, and HELOCs come to mind for me. Click here to read more of Reynolds’ blog post on BNPL. Visit www.bankmarketingcenter.com for more marketing insights.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: We had an applicant apply for a HELOC. We know HELOC disclosures need to be sent out within three days for phone applications but on the day after the application was submitted, we denied it but the adverse action was sent out four days after application. Should we have sent the HELOC disclosures within three days knowing it was going to be denied because the denial letter was not sent out until after the three-day timeline?


Answer: In these cases, the disclosures are not required if the bank in fact determined within the days that the application would not be approved. As set out below, Reg Z permits creditors to not provide the HELOC disclosures within the three-day period if it determines within those three days that an application will not be approved. "Denial or withdrawal of application. In situations where § 1026.40(b) permits the creditor a three-day delay in providing disclosures and the brochure, if the creditor determines within that period that an application will not be approved, the creditor need not provide the consumer with the disclosures or brochure. Similarly, if the consumer withdraws the application within this three-day period, the creditor need not provide the disclosures or brochure." Read more here.


Click to read more of the Compliance Alliance October Newsletter.


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Growth In a Rising-Rate Environment: Four Moves for Bankers

By Susan Sharbel, Senior Advisor, Abrigo

The previous long, low-interest rate cycle coupled with a pandemic, supply chain issues, and political unrest left many banks struggling for earnings. We all simply could not wait for rates to rise. Now we have seen just that, with more rate hikes on the horizon. Most banks are asset sensitive, and shorter-term assets funded by longer-term liabilities typically place a bank in a position to gain earnings as rates rise. Assets (earnings) reprice up more quickly than liabilities (cost), leading to stronger earnings and growth in a rising-rate environment. So, is that what we are seeing right now? Well, sort of. Let me explain more here. When faced with obstacles to profitability, here are four moves banks should make to generate growth in this rising-rate environment:

  • Ensure strategic pricing on both sides of the balance sheet

  • Lean on innovation

  • Use technology for more efficiency

  • Don’t wait to start stress testing liquidity levels.

Click here to read the complete blog post or visit www.abrigo.com to learn more about Abrigo’s full suite of asset/liability management solutions.


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Marketing/Business Development Skill Builder

How to Get More Leads from Digital Channels

Sign up for a quick-hitter Lead Generation Boot Camp Webinar Series that Starts Nov. 29. This four-part series over two days will help marketers fine tune their digital channels to increase reach, referrals and leads. It is ABA accredited and each approximately 45-minute session is worth 1 CFMP Credit, for a total of 4 CFMP. Details and registration available here.


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Legal Essentials for Lenders, Compliance 101, BSA Critical Issues, 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.


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:


Columbus - Synovus

The bank recently announced its 2022 Jack Parker Scholarship recipients. This year, the bank awarded 151 scholarships totaling $114,000 to children of Synovus team members across the company’s five-state footprint. Read more here.


Eatonton - Farmers & Merchants Bank

For Georgia’s Pre-K week, the bank gave students in its adopted class a tour of the bank and introduced them to Moola Moola.


Thomasville - Thomasville National Bank

This week, bank team members Til Culbreth and Lindsay Taylor presented a check from the funds raised by all the participants for Never Lost during September’s ServPro Golf Tournament. TNB was the lead sponsor for the tournament, which supports a vital children’s organization in the community.

Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

Bank loan officer/CSR Brad Christian recently spoke to a group of high school seniors in Mrs. Kim Guess’s class at Turner County High School.


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GBA Newsmakers


Ashburn - South Georgia Banking Company

Congratulations to Daisy Lee Speight on her upcoming retirement after a 62-year banking career. More than half of that career has been at South Georgia Banking Company. “During her 32 years of service with our bank, she has been an integral part of bank operations and the best example of providing excellent customer service anyone could ask for,” said Mike Rice, the bank’s Ashburn city president. Speight’s last day will be Oct. 25.


Atlanta - First Carolina Bank

Congratulations to CEO Ron Day, Atlanta Market President Thomas Forsberg, Chief Credit Officer Steven Deaton and the team recruited to open the first banking office in Georgia. A ribbon-cutting was held last week at the location in Sandy Springs.


Cairo - United National Bank

Congratulations to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jane Trulock for celebrating 50 years in banking, all with one bank. “Jane was on GBA‘s Human Resource Committee when I joined the association in 1980 and has been an integral part of the industry her whole career. I was honored to present her a certificate commemorating the milestone from a resolution adopted at our recent annual meeting. Thank you, Jane, for your service to your bank, your community, and to the industry,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. (Pictured below are bank President Mike Chastain, Trulock and Brannen.)


Cordele - Colony Bank

The Crisp County Board of Commissioners honored retired Regional President Bob Evans with a proclamation recognizing his career and service to the community. Evans is a former GBA board member and group chairman, and he served on the Crisp County Industrial Development Board. Read more here.


Gainesville - Pinnacle Bank

Brandi Humphrey has joined the bank team as a branch manager in Gainesville.


Savannah - BankSouth

Lisa Harrington has joined the bank as a relationship manager for its Savannah market.


Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

Frank Posey has joined the bank team as a senior vice president and the new city president of the Cordele and Vienna markets.



Speight Chastain, Trulock and Brannen Humphrey Harrington Posey



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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