April 21, 2023  

Advocacy in Action

Taking to the Airwaves about Deposit Safety and Industry Stability

We continue to share the message about the strength and stability of Georgia’s banking industry to all who will listen. That effort reached a lot of ears this week as we were guests of Rose Scott’s A Closer Look radio program on WABE radio in Atlanta. The public radio station’s broadcast range covers 23 counties with more than half the state’s population. GBA’s Joe Brannen and David Oliver were Scott’s guests. In answering her concerns about the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, we were able to explain how the situation with those banks was unique and quite different than banking in Georgia, how FDIC insurance works, how the state’s community banks have diverse customer bases and how Georgia is as well positioned as it can be to weather an economic downturn. We also mentioned success in reducing the number of unbanked households throughout the metro-Atlanta region. Scott also interviewed BankSouth CEO Harold Reynolds, who gave real world examples of how his bank provides a range of services to consumers and businesses in diverse markets. CBA’s John McNair was also interviewed. Listen to the interview here.


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American Commerce Bank Featured for Digital-Only Brand

It’s always nice to see member banks recognized for their work to try unique approaches for growing their business. Monesty Bank, a digital-only brand offered by American Commerce Bank, Bremen, is among the concepts featured this week in a story by American Banker. Launched in January, Monesty Bank aims to appeal to older adults and their caregivers. One account offers special account monitoring capabilities and pays a high yield. Bob Koncerak, EVP and COO at the bank, led the Monesty initiative, and Richard Rotondo, vice president of digital banking, is quoted in the article Read the story here.


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ATM and Mail Theft, Fraud, Active Shooter Prep Themes at Security Conference

Georgia’s bank security pros tuned up all their skills for protecting co-workers, customers and bank assets at last week’s Security Conference. The agenda had something for everyone, as there was a good mix of conference regulars and first-time attendees at this year’s event. The conference kicked off with a workshop detailing best-practices in general security policies and procedures, featuring Morris Bank’s Pete Stuart, Altamaha Bank & Trust’s Brian Frederick and Pinnacle Bank’s Jenn Whitmire. On Thursday, FBI Special Agent Josh Floyd presented information about the latest trends in bank robberies and ATM thefts. Robberies continue to decline and ATM thefts continue to rise. Our peer panel this year featured United Bank’s Jay Rajee, SouthState Bank’s Melissa Dasher, Chris Lower of CBSI and Monica Gleerup of Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs. They covered a wide range of best practices as well as news on technology and equipment advances. Pete Stuart closed Thursday’s program with a timely active-shooter response update. Friday’s program started with an Industry and Advocacy update by GBA’s Joe Brannen, followed by a look at elder fraud and human trafficking red flags by Mark Fellows from the Georgia Department of Human Services. The conference concluded with a helpful session about mail theft presented by Keith Speers, a postal inspector with the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Service. Thanks to those serving on the GBA Security Committee for all their hard work in planning the agenda. Thanks also to our exhibitors, BankPak, CashTrans, CBSI, Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs and STS Group. We appreciate their support. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035. See more photos here.



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CFPB Employee Improperly Emails 256K Consumer Records

The CFPB this week reported a “major” data breach at the agency. A bureau employee forwarded information about 256,000 consumers to a personal email account, the agency said. The data included names and transaction-specific account numbers at a single institution, as well as confidential supervisory information on 45 institutions, a CFPB spokesman said. The employee has been fired. “This breach raises concerns with how the CFPB safeguards consumers’ personally identifiable information,” said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Read more here.


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Advocacy Opportunity

Speak up with Issues for our D.C. Visit

We want to hear from you about questions or issues you’d like us to raise with regulators and the Georgia Congressional delegation during our group advocacy visit to Washington D.C. May 2-4. What’s on your mind related to exams, enforcement, regulatory burden, laws and policies that need adjusting? What are personal and business financial conditions like in your markets for your customers and hometowns? We’ve got a big group of GBA Board members, Public Affairs Committee, BankPAC Board and the Leadership GBA Board members planning to attend, and your input can shape our message and the questions we ask. We’ve got meetings scheduled with Sen. Raphael Warnock, staff members for Sen. Jon Ossoff, members of our U.S. House delegation’s staffs, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra, FDIC Director Jonathan McKernan and OCC Acting Director Michael Hsu, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman and possibly a representative from the Small Business Administration. If you haven’t chimed in with issues you want us to be sure and cover, please send a quick note to Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014, or Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.


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Web Demo Scheduled for May 16 @ 2 p.m.

GBA Proudly Endorses Abrigo’s New Lending Solution for Community Banks

Are you looking to grow loans at your bank without unnecessary complexity? GBA partner Abrigo has a new Community Lending solution built specifically for Georgia’s community banks that is easy to learn, implement and use. And, GBA members get a 15% discount on the service. The powerful software behind Abrigo’s Community Lending helps your team make fast, accurate and compliant loan decisions, allowing them more time to develop additional business relationships. With configurable role-based dashboards, a robust deal summary page and comprehensive built-in reports, Abrigo’s Community Lending is designed to ensure efficient loan growth. Other product highlights include:

  • Consistent, guided workflows

  • Simplified implementation – 60-day max

  • Digital borrower interface

  • Collaborate with 54,000 financial professionals

Learn more about Abrigo’s Community Lending and mark your calendars for May 16 at 2 p.m., when the Abrigo team will walk us through a full demonstration of their new lending solution. You can register here for that. With questions, please get in touch with Abrigo’s Eric Bartlett at Eric.Bartlett@abrigo.com.


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Great Turnout at Call Report Seminar

Call report accuracy is crucial, so experts from Mauldin & Jenkins Michael Gordon, Nicole Cunningham and Bill Curtis delivered the ins and outs of the call report with practical techniques and resources this week in Macon. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.



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Beige Book

Modest Economic Growth, Strong Loan Growth Reported by Fed

The economy in the Southeast grew at a modest pace from mid-February through March 2023, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book. The report said loan growth at banks remained strong despite concerns about liquidity. Labor markets improved, and wage pressures diminished slightly amid increasing labor availability. Some nonlabor costs, such as shipping, eased, while others, like construction materials, remained volatile. Retail sales softened, but demand for new autos was robust. Tourism activity remained healthy. Demand for housing improved amidst lower mortgage interest rates and declining home prices. Read more here.


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Last chance to register!

Loan Documentation Seminar - April 26 in Macon

Don’t miss your chance to learn from Mike Allen, a fan-favorite faculty member for the Georgia Banking School, as he presents the fine art of perfecting loan documentation for your institution. GBA’s Loan Documentation Seminar April 26 at Middle Georgia State University will equip you with the secrets of what’s needed to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques. Click here for details and to register. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Last chance to register! CPE credits available!

Information Security Officer Seminar - April 27 in Macon

Join us for the Information Security Officer Seminar on April 27 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon and learn from the IT security experts Josh Dasher and Emily Strickland, Safe Systems. During this seminar, attendees will explore the exam expectations for information security and gain the skills an ISO needs for success. Attendants qualify for six (6) hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credit in the area of Business Management and Organization. Thank you to our sponsor, Safe Systems. Click here for details and to register. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


Josh Dasher Emily Strickland


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Still time to register!

Rural Development & Lending Conference - May 18-19 on St. Simons

Join us in St. Simons for the annual GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference, May 18-19 at the King & Prince. Sessions will include a livestock update, ag regulatory update, crop insurance, a peanut crop outlook, a Farm Bill update and a cotton update. Thanks to the GBA Agricultural Committee, led by its Chair Rachel Thompson, Bank of Newington, and Vice Chair Matt Rushton, AB&T, for their work on the agenda. For more information about hotel and to register, click here. A huge thanks to Platinum Sponsor CSRA Business Lending and Gold Sponsor Point to Point Environmental. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Coming up Aug. 10-11

Women in Banking Conference Registration Open

We invite all women from GBA member banks, Strategic Partners and Associate Members to attend GBA’s annual Women in Banking Conference, Aug. 10-11 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. Hosted annually by the GBA Women in Banking Committee, this event is the most highly anticipated annual event for many of our women members. The program is taking shape and will include sessions about managing generational differences in your workforce, how prioritizing your mental health affects your entire community, an interactive workshop using the Insights Discovery Profile to help you better understand yourself and others; and the popular executive leadership panel, which will focus on work/life balance. Click here to see the conference website, register, see hotel reservation info, or to reserve your sponsorship. A huge thank you to our sponsors: Gold Sponsor: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC. Silver Sponsors: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; Elliott Davis; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Troutman Pepper; and Wipfli. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024, with questions.


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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: What is the required charge-off date on past-due unsecured loans?


Answer: There is a standard of 60 days for overdraft accounts for charge-offs. However, there isn't one for loans; this would depend on your bank's internal policies.


From Joint Guidance on Overdraft Protection Programs, p. 4. "In addition, overdraft balances should generally be charged off when considered uncollectible, but no later than 60 days from the date first overdrawn."


For more timely compliance updates and resources, subscribe to Compliance Alliance’s email newsletters. To learn more, sign up for one of the live Compliance Alliance demos on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

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Registration to Open Next Week for President/CEO, Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conferences

Registration will open next week for GBA’s premier annual trifecta of conferences, the President/CEO, Bank Accountant and Bank Counsel Conferences. Georgia’s only president/CEO-level concurrent conferences focused specifically on top-management skill-building, intelligence sharing and connections will be Sept. 24-26 at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District. The programs, planned by your peer bankers, attorneys and accountants, will provide exclusive insight into strategy, trends and best practices to help ensure your companies' and firms' success. Every GBA member company should be represented. Who should attend? Bank presidents/CEOs and market presidents; bank accounting firm leaders, partners, and associates; in-house accounting leaders and CPAs; in-house bank general counsel and attorneys; outside general counsel, firm partners, and associates; and any other outside attorneys representing banks. Each conference agenda has sessions tailored to address the unique needs of those peers. Be sure your calendar is blocked and watch your email next week for a registration announcement. The room block at the JW will be open at that time. Sponsorships are still available!  We’d like to thank the following associate members for their support: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs & Advisors; EBS; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Harrison Kay LLP; FHLBank Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; Mauldin & Jenkins; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC; ServisFirst Bank; Symphona, formerly TJS Deemer Dana LLP and Vertisys LLC; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett LLC. To reserve a sponsorship, click here to access our 2023 sponsorship kit and see page 7. Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.


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New Banker Training, HMDA Data Points, Elder Financial Exploitation and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

Want to see the full webinar schedule? Check out our webinar calendar for a full list of upcoming webinars.


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Identifying Portfolio Risk Early – The Importance of Effective Loan Review & Documentation Exceptions in Today's Economy

By Morgan Smith, GBA Associate Member BankStride

In the wake of rising interest rates, record annual CRE maturities of $270B, and recent stress in regional banks, effective loan review is more critical than ever. By identifying portfolio risk early, banks can take corrective action promptly, reducing the risk of loan losses and other negative outcomes. Effective loan review is an essential component of sound risk management and critical for ensuring a bank's long-term success. GBA Associate Member BankStride recently provided us with the linked article for a few key considerations and best practices for proactively managing risk, maintaining financial stability, and improving the overall performance of your financial institution. With questions, contact Morgan Smith at morgan.smith@filestride.com.


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How to Earn an Online Juris Masters in Compliance

GBA partners with the Florida Bankers Association and Florida State University College of Law to offer members an online program to obtain a Juris Master degree in Financial Regulation and Compliance from Florida State University College of Law. This is a 100% online, 30-credit-hour master's in law that can be completed part-time. For a full description of the program, click here. The deadline to apply for the fall term is July 1. If you have questions or would like to speak to an advisor at FSU College of Law, contact Deborah Gautier, the Assistant Dean for Juris Master Programs, at law-jurismaster@law.fsu.edu or 850.644.4287.


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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, kprokos@gabankers.com, and David Oliver, doliver@gabankers.com, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Athens - BankSouth

The bank recently took part in a Relay for Life Oconee-Clarke fundraising event, helping raise more than $200,000 to end cancer. The bank team won Best Campsite.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Bank volunteers prepared hamburgers and hot dogs for the Bainbridge High School band and chorus after they entertained at the Decatur County Bicentennial Brown Bag Celebration.


Dublin - Bank of Dudley

The bank recently co-hosted the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce’s April Business After Hours event.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank recently celebrated Coin Counting Week by visiting Pulaski County Elementary School to share money tips with the students.


The bank’s Hawkinsville team also delivered treat baskets to local CPA’s and tax preparers for tax day to extend appreciation for their year-long efforts and for the long work hours during this time of year.


Milledgeville - Century Bank and Trust

Bank team members recently participated in the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber Of Commerce golf tournament.


Waycross - WB&T Bankshares

The WB&T family of banks (Waycross Bank & Trust, Guardian Bank and South Coast Bank) has made a contribution to and will be a presenting sponsor of Cross Country for a Cure, a bicycle ride from Anchorage, AK, to Jacksonville, FL, to raise funds and awareness for children battling childhood cancer. Moi Monroe and Jason Rogers will embark on the journey in July and plan to arrive at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville the first week of September (National Childhood Cancer Awareness month). All funds raised will be split between Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Mattie’s Mission, a 501c3 organization that supports families enduring childhood cancer across all of southeast Georgia. Learn more on the ride’s Facebook event here and on the Mattie’s Mission website here.



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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - United Community Bank

Craig Dowdy has been promoted to president of the bank’s East Atlanta market.


Madison - BankSouth

Credit Risk Officer Nedra Williams recently received the bank’s first-quarter Excellence Award.


Perry - SunMark Community Bank

Vice President - Compliance/CRA Officer Michelle Britt recently earned her CRCM certification.


Savannah - First Chatham Bank

Brandi Williams-Haynes has been promoted to banking officer.


Craig Dowdy Nedra Williams Michelle Britt Brandi Williams-Haynes


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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