Aug. 25, 2023  

Back to School – GBA School Board Meets

The Georgia Banking School Board met Wednesday to start work on the curriculum for the 2024 school session. Board members are peer bankers from all over the state, different size banks, different job functions and most are graduates of the school who volunteer to design the school experience. They spent the day reviewing the curriculum for each of the three class groupings, setting faculty members making adjustments based on student feedback. “Our board works really hard to keep the curriculum fresh and relevant for all the skills needed to run a successful bank. A fully immersive learning experience is the goal, and the students taking part in the 2024 session will be well prepared to help lead their banks,” said Synovus Bank’s Darron Burnette, who is the chair of the Georgia Banking School Board. Invest in your career or the career of a key developing team member by enrolling in this signature GBA program that has been developing leaders for more than 60 years now. Registration will open soon, and demand will be high for spots in the first-year class, so be ready to enroll as soon as possible. Get details about the school here.



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Bipartisan Support Growing for ACRE Act

Two Republican and two Democrat U.S. House members have recently signed on as co-sponsors of the Access to Credit for our Rural Economy Act (ACRE Act). There are now 20 co-sponsors of the House version of the bill, including Georgia’s Buddy Carter (R-GA1), who signed on shortly after the bill was introduced in May. This GBA priority bill would give community banks the same tax-exempt status on certain earned interest that applies to farm credit institutions, allowing farm real estate borrowers and rural homeowners access to lower interest rates. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


Take action: Contact your member of Congress to ask for their support.


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Leader Updates

Jobs, Overdraft Revenues, Polls and Farm Bill

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

  • Georgia Jobs: Statewide jobs were up by 2,600 over the month and up by 88,300 over the year to a total of 4,908,300. Georgia’s unemployment rate continued to hold steady at 3.2%, three-tenths below the national numbers.


  • Overdraft Revenues: We shared some analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence that shows overdraft fee income was up compared to the prior quarter for the first time since Q4 2021.


  • Polls: We shared some polling that indicates voters’ views on the economy remain pessimistic, which will likely have an impact on elections in 2024.


  • Farm Bill Update: We’re geared up to support a strong Farm Bill if and when it is brought up for consideration. Interviews we’ve seen with members of Congress during the recess indicate that movement by the end of September, when the five-year renewal is due, is unlikely. Most are suggesting Congress will need to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep existing programs in place for a while.

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


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Open Invite: National Fall Advocacy Overview Webinar

All GBA members are invited to join ABA's free national fall advocacy webinar on Sept. 12, 2 p.m. EDT, led by ABA President Rob Nichols, Chairman Dan Robb, and ABA staff. They’ll cover a variety of issues we’re tracking and need member support about such as post-Silicon Valley Bank regulations, the Durbin-Marshall credit card bill, and ongoing CFPB legal challenges. Register now for more information.


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Go Time for South Georgia Community Bank Symposium

Join GBA and Valdosta State University's Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business Administration for this regional symposium. Experts will address key banking challenges and opportunities to collaborate with the university and its students. It’s a great event for learning and networking for all bankers. Confirmed sessions include:

  • Economic Outlook with Dr. Elvan Aktas, Professor of Finance, Valdosta State University

  • Credit Conditions/Concerns with Stewart Thigpen, CEO, Steve H. Powell & Co.

  • Regional Economic Development Panel

  • Valdosta State University Update and Initiatives of Interest to Bankers

Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know.


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Improved Confidence in Small Business Banking

A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) shows a positive shift in small-business owners' confidence in their banks' stability. More than 54% of respondents expressed no concerns about their bank's health, a notable increase from the 31% recorded in the previous survey conducted shortly after the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failures. The survey also indicates strong loyalty, with 97% of business owners keeping their current primary financial institution for business purposes over the past three months. Read more here.


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Crime and Punishment

ATM Burglars Plead Guilty, Savannah Robber Convicted

We were pleased to see guilty pleas this week by four Texans who stole money from and damaged ATMs in Georgia, Alabama and Texas back in 2021. Facing potential penalties of up to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine, the defendants await sentencing scheduled for Dec. 7. Their actions resulted in losses totaling $166,482.18, stemming from three ATM robberies. Read more details here. Also this week, A Chatham County man has been convicted after trial for the armed robbery of a Savannah-area Synovus Bank branch in March 2022. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Read more details here.


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President/CEO, Bank Accountant, and Bank Counsel Conferences

Georgia DBF, FDIC and Fed Reps Set for Regulatory Panel

Participants in our annual President/CEO, Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conferences, Sept. 24-26 at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District, count on learning from the best industry leaders, experts and professionals and this year will be no different. Jonathan Hightower, partner with Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP, will moderate a Regulatory Panel featuring Kevin Hagler, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance; John Vogel, regional director, FDIC; and Trey Wheeler, assistant vice president of the Supervision and Regulation Division, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Participants will discuss the state of the industry, lessons learned from the liquidity disruption earlier this year, areas of regulatory focus related to concentration risk and other topics of interest in exams. Panelists will also provide their perspectives on emerging topics such as reputation management and possibilities for deposit insurance reform. Time will be permitted for bankers to ask questions. We’ve added rooms to the block at the JW, so eligible participants are encouraged to register and reserve a room. Click here to see the rest of the agenda and registration and hotel information.


A big shout-out to our event sponsors: American Bankers Association; CRI Carr Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; EBS; Elliott Davis; FHLBank Atlanta; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FNBB First National Bankers Bank; James Bates Brannan Groover LLP; Mauldin & Jenkins; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co; Nichols Cauley; SentryHealth; Servis 1st Bank, Correspondent Bank Division; Symphona; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett, CPAs and Advisors.


Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions, 678.523.6407.


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2023 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey Reports are Now Available

In conjunction with Associate Member Pearl Meyer, we are pleased to announce that the 2023 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey reports are now available. The reports allow you to make well-informed business decisions by providing reliable benchmarks based on compensation trends in the banking industry, your bank's asset size and other market competitors.


This year's survey reports represent:

  • 71 Georgia banks; 202 Southeast-based banks

  • Over 5,800 incumbents reporting in Georgia; over 29,000 incumbents in the Southeast

  • 167 positions reported in Georgia

  • 268 positions reported in the Southeast

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

Pricing for the survey reports:

  • $595 – Participants

  • $1,475 – Non-Participants.

Pearl Meyer emailed all participants with instructions for purchasing the 2023 survey reports last week. If your organization did not participate and would like to buy the report or if you have not received a purchase email, please get in touch with Pear Meyer's Rhonda Snyder at


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2023 BankPAC Campaign Update

The 2023 BankPAC campaign continues to have great success this week and we hope to continue this pace so that our industry’s voice is heard across federal and state levels of government. You can find the campaign materials on GBA’s website where you can easily download contribution forms for the GBA StatePAC and FedPAC and find a link to make an individual contribution online to the FedPAC. Members of the GBA BankPAC Board will be calling on you very soon to encourage your participation.


Many thanks to the banks below who made their contribution to the GBA StatePAC this week:

  • Bank of Dudley, Sam Beall, president and CEO

  • Citizens Community Bank, Hahira, Glenn Copeland, CEO

  • Craft Bank, Atlanta, Ross Mynatt, president and CEO

  • Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Jackson McConnell, CEO

And, to the directors, officers, and eligible employees of the following banks and companies for contributing to the GBA FedPAC this week:

  • Ameris Bank, Palmer Proctor, CEO

  • Bank of Dudley, Sam Beall, president and CEO

  • Citizens Bank of Americus, Rick Whaley, president and CEO

  • Great Oaks Bank, Eastman, Mike Odom, president and CEO

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

  • Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, Jackson McConnell, CEO

  • PrimeSouth Bank, Waycross, Jim Walker, president and CEO

  • United Bank, Zebulon, Jim Edwards, CEO

  • Securitas Financial Services, Frank Sutton, CEO

  • The Bank of LaFayette, Dave Gilbert, Chairman and CEO

With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.372.7893 or Bo Brannen at 404.731.9886.


Related: Our 2023 Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic Oct. 18 at the River Forest Club in Forsyth is a great way to entertain customers, prospects or team members, and all proceeds go to the GBA StatePAC*. Click here for more details and to register.



* 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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Attention Loan Personnel

In-Person Lending Seminars in September

Two GBA lending seminars are coming up soon with new speakers and fresh content. Sign up today for these seminars Sept. 19-20 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon:

  • Business Cash Flow Analysis Seminar - Sept. 19
    Join Peter Faser of Truist Securities, a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School, for an introduction and practical approach to business cash flow analysis. A highlight of the seminar is new and fresh casework to get the hands-on analysis needed to determine a borrower’s capacity to repay a loan. Learn more and register here.


  • Loan Documentation Seminar - Sept. 20
    Shannon Fortson
    , EVP, Chief Credit Officer of Pinnacle Bank, is the new leader for our Loan Documentation Seminar. He'll cover proper loan structuring and documentation techniques. Connect with peers and walk away with all the best tips and tools. Commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists will benefit from this program. Learn more and register here.


Peter Faser Shannon Fortson


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Please Take this 3-Minute Survey about Section 1071 from GBA Partner NContracts

GBA partner Ncontracts, the leading provider of integrated compliance and risk management solutions for the financial services industry, is working to help small business lenders prepare for the regulatory changes involved with the CFPB’s updates to Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act. To better understand your bank’s specific needs so that they can provide best-in-class solutions for your 1071 needs, we are asking you to fill out this short survey. It should take three minutes or less to complete, and your input is invaluable as NContracts works to build out a comprehensive 1071 solution for community banks.


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Andy Keusal

Online Lender Training Coming Soon

Commercial Lending 201: Analyzing Repayment Sources - Sept. 7, Zoom

Presented by Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning, this nine-module online course is a “sequel” to the Fundamentals of Commercial Lending 101 course from earlier this year and is best taken after completion of that course, though it is not a prerequisite. The 201 course includes a case study and dives deeper into topics covered in modules 4, 6, and 8 of the 101 course that covered analyzing a borrower’s balance sheet, income statement, collateral, and risk ratings. This online course will be held by Zoom on Thursday, Sept. 7 from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. EDT. The recording will be available to registered participants for one month after the live training. Register for the 201 course here. Contact GBA’s Alison Moreau with questions about the online course.


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Grow Loans at Your Bank Without Unnecessary Complexity with GBA Partner Abrigo

GBA partner Abrigo has a new Community Lending solution built specifically for Georgia’s community banks that is easy to learn, implement and use. 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. In addition, GBA members receive a 15% discount. With questions, please get in touch with Abrigo’s Eric Bartlett at


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Brad Washburn

Your Program, Your Choice!

Compliance Conference and HMDA Workshop, Oct 18-20 on Jekyll Island

Planned by GBA’s Compliance Committee, the GBA Compliance Conference has two components this year. First is our pre-conference workshop, led by Brad Washburn, president at Steve H. Powell & Company. This will focus solely on HMDA reporting. The traditional conference follows, with sessions including:

  • Compliance Leadership

  • Dodd Frank Act 1071 | Small Business Data Collection

  • Washington Update

  • Peer Sharing – Roundtable Discussion

  • BSA and Fraud Panel

  • Recent Enforcement Actions.

Attendees have the option to register for both workshop and conference, conference only, or workshop only. We’d like to thank these Associate Members who are showing their support through sponsorship:

  • Platinum Sponsors: American Bankers Association and Steve H. Powell & Company

  • Silver Sponsors: Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors, Compliance Alliance, Mauldin & Jenkins, Ncontracts and Troutman Pepper.

Click here to register. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: Are we required to send a cosigner on a mortgage loan any disclosure specifically addressing their status as a cosigner?


Answer: The Cosigner Notice required under the former Reg AA is not specifically required by law anymore after the repeal of the regulation, but it remains common to still provide from a UDAAP perspective under bank policy or procedure - for example:


"The Agencies note that the FTC's Credit Practices Rule requires—and the former credit practices rules applicable to banks, savings associations, and Federal credit unions required—creditors to provide a "Notice to Cosigner" explaining the cosigner's obligations and their liability if the borrower fails to pay. The Agencies believe that creditors have properly disclosed a cosigner's liability if, before obligation, they continue to provide a "Notice to Cosigner." Read more here.


Subscribe to Compliance Alliance's email newsletters for timely compliance updates and resources. Sign up for one of the live Compliance Alliance demos on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to learn more.

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Mark Evans

Financial Risk Management Conference - Nov. 2-3

Finding Opportunities in Government Guaranteed Investment & Lending Programs

The upcoming Financial Risk Management Conferences will feature a good session to help members find opportunities in SBA and USDA programs. Mark Evans, Brean Capital, LLC will discuss how banks are using these programs currently, how they fit balance sheet and income needs, and the current market environment. This is one of many outstanding sessions featured during the conference, hosted annually by GBA’s Asset/Liability Management Committee. Get all the details and register here.


We’d like to thank these Associate Members who are showing their support:

  • Gold sponsorship: Brean Capital LLC

  • Silver sponsorship: Carr Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors; FHLBank Atlanta; ServisFirst Bank and Wiplfi LLP.

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Attention GBA Associate Members

Reminder: 2024 Sponsor and Exhibitor Kit Now Available

As you and your team plan your company’s marketing and event budget for 2024, we invite and encourage you to go ahead and confirm your participation in all the GBA events important to your company through our 2024 sponsorship and exhibit kit now available.


What GBA events can my company get involved in?

  • Annual Signature Events: Annual Meeting, President/CEO, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountants Conferences; Leadership Conference; and Legislative Forum & Reception

  • Annual Professional Development Conferences: Compliance; Financial Risk Management; Credit; Operations/Technology; HR; Marketing; Security; Rural Development & Lending; and Women in Banking

  • Annual Schools: Georgia Banking School, GBA Compliance School and The BSA Summit

  • Seminars: Various

Access the 2024 Sponsorship and Exhibit Kit Here


We’re happy to help you map out a full strategy for the year. Email GBA’s Kathy Friestad,, to request a call or meeting.


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Roger Tutterow

Credit Conference - Nov. 30 - Dec. 1

Economic Update

At the 2023 GBA Credit Conference Nov. 30 - Dec. 1 in Atlanta, Roger Tutterow, Kennesaw State University will close out the conference with his annual Economic Update. An always popular speaker, Tutterow’s presentation can help you and your bank understand the latest economic trends so you can roll into the new year with good momentum. This is among the many excellent sessions set for the program. Get all the details and register here.


We’d like to thank these Associate Members who are showing their support through sponsorship

  • Platinum Sponsor: Steve H. Powell & Company

  • Silver Sponsors: CRI - Carr Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors; CSRA Business Lending; Mauldin & Jenkins; Point to Point Environmental; and Wiplfi LLP.

With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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BSA Summit, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, 2024, in Peachtree City

Registration is open for GBA’s BSA Summit in Peachtree City at the Hilton Conference Center, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1. Facilitated by Kristen Stogniew of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund, attendees can expect a deep dive into the world of BSA compliance through a variety of sessions. Register here and secure your spot! Contact Aimee Corcoran with questions, 404.420.2035.


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Save the Date!



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Deposit Regulations, Financial Statement Mapping, The Rapidly Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape, 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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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 - Truist

The bank recently partnered with the Georgia Aquarium to host a financial literacy class for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Salvation Army.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

Courtney Tomlinson and Tim Powers from Planters First Bank presented a check for $2,000 to Ferst Readers of Crisp County, an early childhood literacy initiative that provides an age-appropriate book every month to children from birth to five years of age.


Gray - Morris Bank

The Morris Bank Community Foundation recently presented a grant for $3,500 to Brave Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center, which focuses on adapting to individuals with mild to profound disabilities to provide therapeutic riding for social, educational and sport opportunities in recreational horseback riding.


Savannah - TC Federal Bank

The bank’s Savannah team recently packed more than 2,000 treat bags for the upcoming Wag-O-Ween event supporting local animal rescue efforts.


Warner Robins - SunMark Community Bank

The bank was the presenting sponsor for the Robins Regional Chamber Youth Leadership Program, which gives students valuable leadership skills that they will take with them on their future endeavors.



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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Jon Edwards, corporate executive vice president and chief credit officer of Ameris Bancorp and its subsidiary, Ameris Bank, will retire from the company and the bank, effective March 31, 2024. The company appointed Doug Strange to succeed Edwards, effective April 1, 2024.


Atlanta - Georgia Primary Bank

Mark Pope has joined the bank team as vice president of treasury services.


Augusta - Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co.

The bank was recently named Cyber City's Best Bank and Best Mortgage Lending Company for 2023. The awards are published by the Augusta Chronicle.


Chattanooga, TN - Builtwell Bank

Builtwell Insurance Agency, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the bank, has been awarded as a Best Practices Top Performer by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) Best Practices Study group. The agency is led by President and CEO Elizabeth Allen. Read more here.


Douglas - Truist

Adam Smith has been promoted to southwest Georgia market president.


Milledgeville – Exchange Bank

Our sympathies to the family, friends and former colleagues of Buster Milner, past president and CEO of Exchange Bank, who recently died. Read more here.


Pelham - Family Bank

For the second consecutive year, the bank was voted Best Bank in Mitchell County in the Mitchell County Enterprise-Journal’s 2023 readers’ choice awards.


Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia

The bank recently completed a successful capital raise of $7 million in common stock to support ongoing operations and growth initiatives. Read more here.


Brentwood, TN - Ncontracts

Ncontracts has been named to the Inc. 5,000 list for the fifth consecutive year. Read more here.


Jon Edwards Doug Strange Mark Pope Queensborough National Bank
& Trust Company


Elizabeth Allen Adam Smith Family 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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