Oct. 7, 2022 

Nine Times Top Spot for Georgia as Business State

With mounting concerns about the economy, many experts point to a variety of inherent traits Georgia has to help it weather a downturn relatively well compared to other states. Chalk up ongoing recognition as a top state for business as one of those traits. For the ninth year in a row, Area Development magazine has ranked Georgia the top state for doing business. Georgia also was the best state in terms of cost of doing business for the third year in a row. Georgia gets high marks, as well, for business incentives, its competitive labor market, workforce development, energy cost, logistics/infrastructure and much more. Read more here.




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46th Annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week Starts Monday

A number of our members will be celebrating and promoting Georgia peanuts next week during the annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week, co-sponsored by GBA and the Georgia Peanut Commission. The annual campaign takes place at the perfect time of year: peanut harvest. In 2021, Georgia peanuts were planted on more than 750,000 acres throughout Georgia and accounted for 52 percent of peanut production in the United States. Peanuts were planted in 76 of Georgia’s 159 counties with an average yield of more than 4,450 pounds per acre.


For this year's Georgia Peanut Bank Week, our friends at the Georgia Peanut Commission are offering print and digital resources to use. The official poster, recipe card, peanut fact sheet, press release template, and children's activity sheets can be found on the Peanut Bank Week page of GPC’s website here. Please reach out to Justin Odom at bankweek@gapeanuts.com or 229.386.3470 if you have any questions.

If your bank is participating in Georgia Peanut Bank Week, please send photos and information to Katina Prokos and David Oliver, or tag us in your social media posts about your efforts. We’ll share them in the next GBA E-Bulletin and on our social media channels. @georgiapeanuts, @GABankers #gapeanuts #georgiapeanutbankweek #georgiabanks


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Marketing Committee Gathers, Plans

Promoting bank products, services and community impact is always a challenge, so our volunteer committee of bank marketers met this week to plan programming to help their peers sharpen their skills in that regard. The GBA Marketing Committee, led by committee Chair Anna Jones of Pinnacle Bank and Vice Chair Haley Barnes of BankSouth Mortgage, discussed a number of  trends. Internal communication is always a challenge, as is making the most of the latest technology for marketing campaigns. Many are ramping up deposit product campaigns, and marketing of loan products remains a focus. The committee got a good start on building a program for the 2023 GBA Marketing Conference, which will be March 22-24 at the King and Prince on St. Simons. Look for details soon. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035 or David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


Committee Vice Chair Haley Barnes,
BankSouth Mortgage, leads a conversation.
Troy Poulin of the Claxton Bank chimes in.
Also pictured are Barnes and GBA staffers
Katina Prokos
and Aimee Corcoran
Diane Clegg, Georgia Primary Bank,
shares her perspective.


Related: Lead Generation Boot Camp Webinar Series 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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How to Help Florida Hurricane Recovery

Our friends at the Florida Bankers Association and American Bankers Association have set up a way for fellow bankers to provide hurricane relief to those in need. At the request of the Florida Bankers Association (FBA), the ABA Foundation is accepting donations at its website ABA.com/Florida. At the conclusion of the fundraising campaign, all funds raised will be directed to the Volunteer Florida Foundation’s “Florida Disaster Fund” to help aid relief and recovery efforts. Donations will be accepted until Nov. 9.


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Attorney General Carr Joins Letter Opposing OCC Climate Risk Stance

A host of state attorneys general including Georgia’s Chris Carr have signed on to a strongly-worded comment letter to the OCC from their counterpart in Utah related to its appointment of a Chief Climate Risk Officer and establishment of the Office of Climate Risk, setting up the potential for regulatory overreach. The letter outlines concerns that such steps politicize financial regulation related to legal businesses, as was the case with Operation Choke Point. “We will investigate, litigate, and work with our congressional delegations in conducting oversight to ensure that OCC does not abuse its authority to pressure banks to cut off access to capital to our communities,” the letter says. Read the letter here.


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CSBS National Community Bank Survey

Net Interest Margin, Cybersecurity, Inflation Lead Risks

The 2022 CSBS National Survey of Community Banks is out and national sentiment echoes what we’re hearing from members during committee meetings and events. The four key survey findings are:

  • Economic conditions and net interest margins rank as the top external risk by community bankers.

  • Cybersecurity ranks as the top internal risk.

  • Community bankers describe inflation as a persistent but manageable challenge.

  • Community bankers expect relationship-based lending to expand more than transactional lending.

Access the survey results here.


There’s also a treasure trove of additional research available that was presented at the 10th-Annual Community Banking Research Conference hosted by the Federal Reserve, Conference of State Bank Supervisors and FDIC Sept. 28-29.


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Last Call! South Georgia Community Bank Symposium – Oct. 13

Strategy, Regulatory Outlook, Ag Banking and Local Economy Sessions Slated

Join a big crowd of your peers at the South Georgia Community Bank Symposium next week. Our agenda is chock-full of great content. Bring a team of bankers to enjoy a good program, lunch and fellowship with your fellow bankers. The event is co-hosted by GBA and Valdosta State University’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration. Get full details and register here. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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Free Webinar with GBA Partner Promontory MortgagePath - Oct. 11 @ 2 p.m.

Growth Strategies for a Down Mortgage Market: Laying the Foundation for Long-Term Success

As the mortgage market adapts to rising interest rates and tapered loan demand, so must bankers, often by cutting expenses and rebalancing their staff levels to maintain profitability. During this upcoming, free webinar on Oct. 11, representatives from GBA partner Promontory MortgagePath will outline how banks can continue to leverage technology, talent and proven lead-generation strategies to grow their market share of mortgage lending, even in a rising rate environment. Click here to register. To learn more about Promontory MortgagePath, please contact Sue Shaffer at suzanne.shaffer@mortgagepath.com or 901.283.3034.


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Join the Great Crowd Golfing for the Georgia BankPAC on Oct. 19!

We’ve got a great crowd coming out to participate in the Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic on Oct. 19 at The River Forest Club in Forsyth. That’s just about two weeks away, but there is still room to sign up and play or to support the Georgia BankPAC* through sponsorship. Check out the event website for details, to register, or to sign up for a sponsorship. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


* 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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Order Salary Survey Now!

Four Reasons To Buy the Georgia Banking Compensation Survey

Our annual survey of Georgia Banking Compensation levels is available. The results can help your bank develop a comprehensive and competitive compensation package to address today’s tight labor market. This year's survey report represents:

  • 141 positions reported

  • Over 4,300 Georgia incumbents reported

  • 58 Georgia institutions

  • Policies and Practices Report with data on base salary programs and incentive plans.

The survey prices are $595 for participants and $1,275 for non-participants. Please contact Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com for details and to order a report.


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Fall Seminars - Lending and Audit Focus

Quartet of Strong Seminars Coming Up

Register yourself of make sure key teammates participate in GBA’s fall 2022 schedule of seminars. Programs cover a range of topics. See below:




  • Dec. 9: Internal Audit Seminar, presented by Darren Shuster, Crowe, and Mike Thomas, Internal Audit, Fraud Prevention Consultant, at Middle Georgia State University, Macon.

Keusal Allen Shuster Thomas


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Ideas for Expanding Financial Inclusion

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in collaboration with the National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE) is proud to offer a webinar series, Connecting States’ Financial, Economic, and Digital Inclusion Initiatives. This series brings together the nation’s state and national leaders in digital, financial and economic inclusion, as well as leaders for underrepresented communities. The webinar series seeks to help spur sustained collaboration in developing and implementing state plans for digital equity in support of economic opportunity. The first webinar was Oct. 6, but there are five additional sessions coming up on various dates through December. Get details and registration access here.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: We are extending a short-term loan that is otherwise HMDA reportable. Is this excludable from HMDA as a temporary extension of credit? Is there a specific threshold that defines what is and is not temporary financing under HMDA?


Answer: HMDA has an exclusion for temporary financing but it is generally applicable if the loan is designed to be replaced by separate permanent financing extended to the same borrower at a later time. Otherwise, there is not a specific term length that defines a loan as temporary financing under HMDA.


Therefore, assuming this loan is not designed to be replaced by permanent financing and it is not to construct a dwelling for sale, it does not appear that the exclusion is applicable and so it sounds like this would be reportable under HMDA.


Click to read more of the Compliance Alliance September Newsletter.


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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!

  • Compliance Conference: Oct. 19-21, Jekyll Island: Fair lending, crypto & cannabis, flood, HMDA, overdrafts, D.C. update and more. Note: There is an alternate hotel right across the street from the Westin, the Home2 Suites by Hilton Jekyll Island, 912.319.6019.



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GBA Staff Profile

Meet New GBAIT CFO Tessa Nolan

As members interact with GBA Insurance Trust’s new Chief Financial Officer Tessa Nolan, they will notice her welcoming smile, excitement and motivation to meet the needs of members of the GBA Insurance Trust, which provides health insurance and wellness plans for 182 member companies and more than 18,000 members and their families. Tessa has a background in banking and stays busy with her family. “I spend most of my weekends getting muddy with my children, riding ATVs and Side-by-Sides,” she said. In her GBA Staff Member Profile, she shares about her top three mentors who influenced her career path, dreams of being a singer, first tap/click of the day (“tapping my kids to get them out of bed”) and more. Read her GBA Staff Profile here.


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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Resources from GBAIT Wellness Partner

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the Wellview Care Team would like to remind you that if you're a woman aged 40 or older, you should be getting a mammogram every one to two years. There are also plenty of steps you can take every day to prevent many forms of cancer. Learn more and find downloadable resources at wellviewhealth.com/pink. You can also access a flyer here to share this resource with your colleagues. All members of the GBA Insurance Trust have access to the wellness benefits available through Wellview. The trust provides health insurance and wellness plans for 182 member companies and more than 18,000 members and their families. Contact Lee Monroe and Jayn Lawson for information.


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Kick off 2023 Advocacy with Us at Legislative/Economic Forum

The 2023 Legislative and Economic Forum & Reception will be Jan. 11 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta. This is the premier advocacy event on our calendar, so don’t miss this opportunity to set the table for a successful 2023 with your peers and elected officials. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. Registration will open soon, so check the events calendar on the homepage of the GBA website and upcoming GBA e-Bulletins for an announcement. We’ll share details on the slate of speakers and content as the schedule is confirmed. GBA strategic partners and associate members are invited to support the event through sponsorship; click here for the sponsorship kit. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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Will Cover Recent FDIC Guidance on Represented Items

Live Webinar Oct. 13 at 9:30 am: Decoding Overdraft Criticism & Market Shifts with JMFA

Is the spotlight on overdraft programs eroding your confidence in the bank’s overdraft strategy? Proposed legislation and headlines typically characterize all overdraft services and fees as deceptive, unfair, predatory, or even the cause of an individual’s financial freefall. We know that most banks continue to provide a valuable service characterized by transparency, fairness, and consumer empowerment. As industry experts in overdraft helping banks deliver a pro-consumer overdraft program, JMFA’s latest complimentary webinar: Decoding Recent Overdraft Criticism and Market Shifts, may offer additional clarity. Click here to register for the webinar. In this session, JMFA’s EVP of Compliance Review, Cheryl Lawson, will share useful insights on the recent topics making news headlines:

  • The recent FDIC guidance on represented items

  • The continuous efforts by some lawmakers to change regulations on overdraft programs and why previous attempts have fallen short

  • How to mitigate risk with proper disclosures

  • The motivations behind the recent market shifts by financial institutions to revitalize the image of their overdraft solution.

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Legal Essentials for Lenders, Compliance 101, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace 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:


Bremen - American Commerce Bank

The bank contributed $1,000 in pet food, cleaning supplies, baby supplies and more to the victims of Hurricane Ian through the Southwire Project GIFT disaster relief collection site.

Greenville, SC - United Community Bank

Bank employees celebrated World Animal Day with activities during the first two weeks of October across the bank’s footprint. In Georgia, the bank donated to The Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter, Cast Away Critters Pet Rescue, Charles Smithgall Humane Society, Fur Kids, Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia and Etowah Valley Humane Society. Bank employees also volunteered at and hosted a supply drive for the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia in partnership with the bank’s local Junior Board and hosted a pet supply collection drive for Etowah Valley Humane Society.


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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Truist

Congratulations to Sofia Bork, community affairs manager and government affairs liaison, and Meghan Pietrantonio, senior vice president, head of strategy and community relations, for being among those recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle on its 2022 40 Under 40 list of professionals for making a mark on their own organization and the wider community.


Atlanta - Leadership Georgia

Truist Bank's Sofia Bork and several other members and key connections are members of the 2023 Leadership Georgia Class. Also in the class are Steve Adams, Synovus Bank's chief commercial banking officer, Jeretha Peters of Wells Fargo Advisors and Courtney Bernardi of the Oconee Chamber of Commerce, who is the wife of Oconee State Bank's Philip Bernardi.


Columbus - Synovus Financial Corp.

Liz Wolverton, executive vice president, head of consumer banking and brand experience, has been named to the American Banker list of Most Powerful Women to Watch. Read more here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Daniel Rentz has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer.


Louisville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

Joseph Watts has joined the bank as information technology analyst. Read more here.


Peachtree Corners - Piedmont Bank

The bank has partnered with the University of Georgia to create the Arch Award, which spotlights and celebrates former Bulldogs excelling in the business world. These former athletes, now Arch Award recipients, have taken what they learned on and off the field at UGA and applied it to the pursuit of their dreams as entrepreneurs and business owners. Read more here.


Richmond Hill - The Claxton Bank

Congratulations to Christopher Raiford, vice president of commercial lending, for being among those recognized by Georgia Trend magazine on its 2022 40 Under 40 list of professionals for making a mark on their own organization and the wider community. Read more here.


Atlanta - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)

The company is celebrating 22 years of service to Georgia Small businesses this year. It recently held its annual awards celebration recognizing a variety of small businesses. Read more here.


Pensacola and Tampa, FL - Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund

Jen Mostert, CPA, has joined the accounting and consulting firm as Chief Financial Officer. Read more here.



Bork Pietrantonio Wolverton Rentz



Watts Raiford ACE Awards Celebration Mostert



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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