Sept. 2, 2022 

GBA’s Advocacy Program Gets High Marks

State legislators and government relations professionals have again recognized GBA for its effective advocacy on behalf of members. GBA is the seventh-ranked business and trade association in James Magazine’s annual Top Lobbyist issue, and Elizabeth Chandler, Joe Brannen and Steve Bridges each were ranked among the state’s top individual lobbyists. “This type of recognition speaks volumes about the value of GBA’s government relations program on behalf of members. Elizabeth, Joe and Steve have earned their reputations for being highly credible, reliable and effective advocates for Georgia’s banking community,” said GBA Chairman Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust Company. Brannen and Chandler are also members of the magazine’s lobbyist hall of fame.


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Ad Touts Strength in Georgia Banking

This month’s James magazine carries an ad we put together focusing on the strength of Georgia’s banking industry. The ad stresses the message that banks are trusted partners during uncertain times. “They led through the pandemic as financial first responders and they continue to lead by helping customers navigate today’s uncertain economic environment. From the basics of family savings and checking accounts to small business capital and even the most complex global business financing, Georgia’s banks and banking professionals are critical financial infrastructure for Georgians and their dreams,” the ad says. There are also facts and figures about the industry to illustrate the message. Thanks to GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions, Sean Hockenbery, president and CEO,  for its work on the ad in support of the industry. Access the ad here.


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GBA Services Inc. Board Meets

The board overseeing the activity of GBA Services Inc., met this week for a lot of good conversation about the products and services offered by GBA Strategic Partners and direct from the association. The GBASI board, chaired by John Barker, First Bank of Pike, regularly meets to review products and services, conduct due diligence and negotiate member discounts with vendors. The meeting featured an update from GBA partner Discover Debit about its debit card program, designed to streamline billing reconciliation and generate more non-interest income. The board also heard important updates about the two Public Deposit Collateral Pool Programs the GBA administers for the state of Georgia and the recently-released results of GBA’s Compensation and Benefits Survey. Click here for our complete list of products, services and GBA-endorsed partners.


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Compliance School Planning Taking Shape

The GBA Compliance School Board of Directors met this week to nail down courses and details for the 2023 school session, which will be the Year 1-Building the Base curriculum. This coming year’s programming will examine the fundamentals required to ensure a solid compliance management program. The board, chaired by United Bank’s Thomas Williams, reviewed every course, instructor and schedule to make sure all of the key content is up to date and of the highest quality.


Whether you’re new to bank compliance or have been in the profession for years, this year’s school session will allow you to examine your program to make sure there are no cracks in the compliance monitoring foundation, and it will prepare you for the Year 2 program, which has a more strategic and management focus. The 2023 GBA Compliance School session will be Sunday, April 30, through Friday, May 5, at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Registration will open soon. Find more details here.


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Payments News

FedNow Instant Payments Coming by July

The big news this week on the payments front is the Federal Reserve says its FedNow instant payments service is on course to launch by July of next year. There’s a pilot coming up in which 120 organizations will take part next month. The FedNow system will provide an additional electronic payments network to the ACH system and the RealTime Payments system. Get details here.


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Leader Updates

Youth Migration, Student Loan Forgiveness Info and SAR Reporting

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

  • Youth on the move: We took a look at an interesting demographic tracking tool that lets you see migration patterns to and from markets by young adults. The tool can track inflow and outflow from many Georgia cities. An example using Statesboro shows most moves into the market were from Savannah, Atlanta and Aiken, and out-of-state cities represented were Miami, Philadelphia and New York. Do your own tracking here.


  • Student Loan Debt Forgiveness: On the heels of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program announcement, we were interested in the Georgia impact. We shared a fact sheet on student loan debt in Georgia. The total Georgia student loan debt is more than $69 billion and the largest amount ($28.5 billion) is held by those between the ages of 35 and 49. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Georgians over age 62 have $3.7 billion in federal student loan debt. More detail here.


  • SAR Report: We shared a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) critical of the Justice Department for how slowly it is implementing changes to Suspicious Activity Reporting requirements. Read the report here.

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


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South Georgia Community Bank Symposium – Oct. 13

Regulatory, Economic and University Updates on Program

Join us for the South Georgia Community Bank Symposium coming up Oct. 13. We’ll cover the latest in the industry and on the regulatory front with Melissa Sneed of the Department of Banking and Finance and GBA’s Joe Brannen. Valdosta State’s Dr. Cyndi Tori will share an economic update tailored to regional trends, and Dr. Karin Roland, dean of the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, will give members an update on the school’s programs and opportunities to partner. The event, co-hosted by GBA and Valdosta State University’s Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration, will be Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Valdosta State University Student Union building. Get full details and register here. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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Get the Scoop on Bank Salaries

Our annual survey of Georgia Banking Compensation levels is available as a planning tool for budget season. 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:

  • 58 Georgia institutions

  • Over 4,300 Georgia incumbents reported

  • 141 positions reported

  • 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 for details and to order a report.


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Give This Your Best Shot! Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic Coming in October

All GBA members are invited to participate in the Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic, Leadership GBA’s annual fall fundraiser for the Georgia BankPAC. The tournament will be Oct. 19 at The River Forest Club in Forsyth. Register today and plan to bring a fellow golfer, work colleague, legislator or customer to join you. Nonmembers are welcome when accompanied by a member. You may register as an individual golfer, two-golfer team, or a two-golfer team with golf hole sponsorship. Non-golfers can support the event through sponsorship; opportunities range from $350 - $1,000. Check out the event website for details, to register, or to sign up for a sponsorship. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Conference Countdown

Compliance, Financial Risk Management and Credit Coming up

Register now for our signature fall professional skill conferences.



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Social Security Account Outreach Materials

We’ve been asked to share with members some good outreach materials to help you guide customers to important Social Security information. The materials help people understand and set up a free and secure my Social Security account to request a replacement Social Security card, check the status of an application, estimate future benefits, or manage the benefits they already receive.


The outreach materials include:

  • Sample email messages to share with your clients.

  • Articles you can post in your blog or newsletter.

  • Social media posts.

  • Videos and posters.

Access the outreach materials here.


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Fall Seminars

Great Retail, IT Security and Lending Programs Coming Up

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






  • Dec. 8: Loan Documentation Seminar, presented by Mike Allen, Cadence Bank, at Middle Georgia State University, Macon. Save the date! Registration will be announced soon.


Jones Dasher Strickland Konarik Allen


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GBA Partner Abrigo

Free Deposit Strategies Webinar for the Current Funding Environment - Wednesday, Sept. 28 @ 2 p.m.

In the midst of the current rising rate scenario, some banks are reacting quickly with rate changes while others appear to be moving more methodically. Everything is complicated by not knowing how the deposits banks attracted during the pandemic are going to behave with rates rising and the economy potentially cooling off. In this upcoming free webinar, reps from GBA partner Abrigo will review case studies and responses they have recently observed or have advised banks to employ. Their objective is to help you prepare to employ a systematic action plan, rather than relying on scattered or uncoordinated tactics that don’t necessarily fit into your bank’s capital and margin objectives. Key topics to be covered include:

  • Useful strategies and tactics for managing funding in volatile environments

  • Specific challenges banks encounter when are under pressure to respond quickly

Click here to register. Contact Abrigo’s Laura Wahl with questions at, or 919.906.5649.


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Compliance Alliance Question of the Week


Question: If an individual named as a beneficial owner of a new legal entity account is an existing customer of the covered financial institution subject to the financial institution’s CIP, is the bank still required to identify and verify the identity of this individual or may it rely on the CIP verification of the individual that it previously performed?


Answer: In general, banks must identify and verify the identity of beneficial owners of their legal entity customer at the time of account opening. If the beneficial owner, however, is an existing customer of the bank who is subject to the bank’s CIP then the bank may rely on information in its possession to fulfill the CIP identification and verification requirements, provided that the existing information in the bank’s possession is up-to-date, accurate, and the legal entity customer’s representative certifies the accuracy of the pre-existing CIP information either verbally or in writing.


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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Wire Transfer Compliance, Business Email Compromise, Accounting Basics 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.


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:


Calhoun - Synovus

The bank partnered with Sonoraville High School to give students a chance to learn more about finances. Eight different classes, both CTAE and math, got to sit down with representatives from the bank to get information about banks, loans and credit cards, as well as financial advice. Read more here.


Valdosta - Guardian Bank

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College recently announced the 8th Fall Guardian Bank Entrepreneurship Academy starting in October and November, free for current Wiregrass students and alumni. The UGA Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University has partnered with Guardian Bank and Wiregrass Georgia Technical College to deliver six courses with 12 hours of total class time. Read more here.



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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Fifth Third Bank

Ryan Dixon has been promoted to commercial middle market team leader.


Eastman - Great Oaks Bank

The bank was named Best Financial Institution and Best Mortgage Provider by the readers of Pooler Magazine.


Eatonton - SunMark Community Bank

The bank recently held a ribbon cutting for its new loan production office in Eatonton. The event was organized by the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Debbie Greenway, CRCM; Amanda Marunich, SHRM-SCP; Jennifer Whitmire and Anna Grant Jones have all been promoted to senior vice president. Read more here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

The bank recently announced it has formed a new division that will operate under the brand Colony Financial Advisors and has selected Ameriprise Financial as its broker-dealer partner. Through the new partnership, Colony Financial Advisors will offer financial planning and investment solutions to its clients. Bo Hatcher has joined the bank as senior vice president, financial advisor. Read more here. In addition, President and CEO Heath Fountain was recently featured in Metro Atlanta CEO in a goBeyondProfit CEO interview. Read the interview here. Also in Metro Atlanta CEO, Director of Healthcare Lending Justin Truelove discussed about purchasing real estate versus leasing. See the video here.  


Lawrenceville - First American Bank & Trust Company

Mike Ballenger has joined the bank team as senior vice president and commercial lender at its Lawrenceville branch. Read more here.


Moultrie - First National Bank

First National Bank of Moultrie held a groundbreaking celebration to commemorate the construction of the bank’s new drive-through facility at 24 First St. S.W. Read more here.


Soperton - Georgia First Bank

Our sympathies to president and CEO Maury Beasley in the death of his father, Chan Beasley. Read more here.


Dixon Great Oaks Bank SunMark Community Bank



Greenway Marunich Whitmire Jones



Hatcher Truelove Ballenger First National Bank



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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