Aug. 4, 2023  

Bank Counsel Section Board Meets

GBA’s volunteer Bank Counsel Section Board of bank legal experts gathered this week to share information on legal trends and plan their upcoming conference. Board Chair Lee Bagwell of Colony Bank led the meeting and facilitated a roundtable discussion about the latest hot topics. Among the items cited were legal issues related to fraud, liquidity and risk management, independent board assessments, overdraft and NSF regulations, IOLTA legislation in Florida that could emerge in other states and real estate transactions. GBA General Counsel Jonathan Hightower of the Fenimore Kay Harrison firm briefed the board about this week’s ruling by a federal Judge in Texas that will delay enforcement of CFPB’s section 1071 small business data collection rules for Texas banks and ABA member banks until the Supreme Court hears a challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding structure. Bo Fears of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance shared some insight into development of the department’s annual housekeeping legislation. And, GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler outlined a variety of GBA legislative and regulatory priorities. Members also planned sessions for the Bank Counsel Conference coming up Sept. 24-26 at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District in Savannah. The sessions for Bank Counsel members will include a case law update and a panel addressing fraud prevention best practices, a refresher on credit-related lessons learned from the Great Recession and more. Details and registration info here.



Related for Attorneys

Status of Important Cases - August 2023

The ABA Newsbytes Banking Docket for August 2023 is now available. Click here for the details of the status of important cases. (Each article contains a “Read more” link with access to additional details on the issues, case summaries and links to related documents.)


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Small Business Data Rule (1071) Compliance Dates Delayed for Some

A federal judge this week issued an injunction that will delay CFPB’s enforcement of its Section 1071 final rule related to small business data collection for some banks. The ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Texas Bankers Association (TBA) and the American Bankers Association (ABA) delays compliance requirements for TBA and ABA member banks until the Supreme Court rules on a challenge to the constitutionality of the CFPB’s funding structure. The TBA/ABA lawsuit requested an injunction to cover all lenders covered by the rule, but the court applied the injunction more narrowly to just TBA and ABA members. The TBA and ABA have written CFPB Director Chopra strongly encouraging the agency to pause implementation for all FDIC-insured banks. Read the letter here. The Supreme Court case will be argued in October, and a ruling could be released any time before the end of June 2024, at which time new compliance deadlines would be set for banks covered by the injunction. We’re working with our colleagues and legal experts to better understand the ruling and what it may mean for banks not currently covered by the injunction, so stay tuned. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Georgia Peanut Bank Week – Oct. 16-20

Deadline to Order Red-Bag Georgia Peanuts is Aug. 11

Peanuts are grown in almost half of all counties in Georgia, and the state ranks #1 nationally in peanut production. Our annual salute to this $2 billion crop is coming up and we want to remind everyone that Aug. 11 is the deadline to order the red bag Georgia Peanuts that always make Georgia Peanut Bank Week so popular in your branches. You can download an order form at the link below, along with a ton of other fun and informative promotional supplies. Georgia Peanut Bank Week is Oct. 16-20. This year’s theme is “Counting on Georgia Peanuts.” With questions, contact Maddie Frost, Peanut Bank Week Coordinator,, 229.326.0141.

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Leader Updates

Jobs, Small Business Attitudes and Elder Fraud Trends

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

  • Georgia Jobs: Georgia’s unemployment rate remains low, at 3.2%, which is better than the national number, and jobs continue to grow. We looked at other trends, too.


  • Small Business Attitudes: We looked at regional trends in how small business owners view the economy and health of their businesses. Small business attitudes in the South continue to be stable, with slight shifts in how they view increased competition, more comfort with cash flow and plans to increase staff.


  • Elder Fraud: The challenge to protect older customers is an ongoing battle. We shared some alarming statistics showing that nearly 75% of funds stolen from older customers was from fraud committed by a friend, family member or caregiver.

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


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Renee McCullar

GBA Member Profile

How a Chance Encounter Led to New CRCM Renee McCullar’s Banking Career

Congrats to BankSouth Senior Compliance Manager Renee McCullar, for earning her CRCM designation recently. It’s a big professional milestone, and her story of becoming a compliance guru is interesting as she found her way into the banking industry during a time of change in her career. An unusual series of events led her from working at the Lake Oconee Ritz Carlton to being a hostess at a local restaurant, where she met a banker, made a strong impression and moved into a whole new career path. After working in several areas at the bank, she has embraced her relatively new role as BankSouth’s senior compliance officer. In addition to earning her CRCM designation, she’s a graduate from the GBA Compliance School, regularly attends the GBA Compliance Conference and serves on the GBA Compliance Committee. McCullar shares some valuable wisdom from Teddy Roosevelt (“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”), her hobby of competing in Western horse shows growing up and much more in the latest GBA Member Profile.



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Lon Langston

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

Compliance Leadership Session with Lon Langston

Ever feel defeated in your role as a compliance professional? You’re there to help, but where do you begin leading bankers to comply with compliance? They think you’re the enemy, when really you’re trying to keep the bank safe. In this session, Lon Langston, founder of Engaged Banker eXperience, will give Compliance Conference attendees proven methods from behavioral science to persuade, influence and lead everyone in the bank to cooperate. His session will help compliance pros get executives, objectors and agitators to willingly do what you need them to do as well as increase their effectiveness and enjoyment of work. Led by led by Chair Tabitha White, First State Bank of Blakley, and Vice Chair Lindsay Holloway, The Four County Bank, GBA’s Compliance Committee invites you to attend this annual conference for compliance professionals Oct. 18-20 at the Westin, Jekyll Island.


Thank you to these GBA 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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Order the 2023 Georgia Bank Compensation Report Before Budgeting Time

When the GBA HR Committee met last week, some of the topics they dug into included talent retention and recruitment, succession planning and compensation trends. These are all things that banks can get help with using the results of GBA’s Bank Compensation Survey, conducted by GBA Associate Member Pearl Meyer. The reports will be available in a couple of weeks, so don’t let budgeting season begin without ordering your bank’s copy now. The report will provide compensation data for over 280 banking positions broken out by asset size. The report also presents key employment policies and practice metrics covering salary administration, short-term and long-term incentive plan design, average turnover rates, mortgage originator compensation and plan design, and commercial loan officer compensation and plan design. Contact Rhonda Snyder at or 984.258.2409 to order your copy today. The price for survey participants is $595. For non-participants, the price is $1,475.


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2023 BankPAC Campaign Is On Fire!

The response to the 2023 BankPAC campaign has been record setting so far! With your support, we hope to continue this roll so that our industry’s voice is heard across federal and state levels of government as some tough issues are being discussed that affect all of us. 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 Dawson, Barry Lyle, president & CEO

  • The Citizens Bank of Georgia, Cumming, Tim Perry, president & CEO

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

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

  • Planters & Citizens Bank, Camilla, Susan Moss, president and CEO

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


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Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic

Get in the Swing This Fall – Support the GBA StatePAC!

Our 2023 Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic is a great way to entertain customers, prospects or team members, and all proceeds go to the GBA StatePAC*. Here's what you need to know about this fun event, which is sponsored by the Leadership GBA Board of Directors:

  • The event will be Oct. 18 at the River Forest Club in Forsyth

  • Golfers of all abilities are welcome

  • Individual Golfer tickets are $190, Two-Person Team tickets are $305, and the best deal is a Two-Person Team with Golf Hole Sponsorship tickets are $530.

  • You don’t have to set your team until closer to the event

  • Additional sponsorships are available for $280 and up

  • If you're not a golfer, don't worry, you can still come and enjoy the day by sponsoring a hole or volunteering.

Click here for more details and to register. Contact Kathy Friestad with questions.


* 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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Dave DiFazio

Raise Your Business Checking Game, Aug. 11 @ 2 p.m.

Free Webinar with Dave DiFazio from GBA Partner StrategyCorps

Community banks are very attractive partners for small business customers, but they need more from their checking accounts to create a rewarding primary relationship. We loved hearing from Dave DiFazio with GBA partner StrategyCorps earlier this summer at the GBA Annual Meeting about the apps and tools leading the way in digital banking. Dave is back this month for a free webinar to educate members about creating the kind of business checking account that will drive more valuable primary relationships to your bank. Please join us on Aug. 11 @ 2 p.m. to learn more about how to revitalize your bank’s business checking before the end of the year. Sign up for next week’s webinar today.


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President/CEO, Bank Accountant, and Bank Counsel Conferences

Great Crowd Building for Annual Tri-Conferences in Savannah

We’ve got an excellent crowd coming to 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. The tri-conferences will be Sept. 24-26 at JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District. We’re excited to host these conferences at this cool location in Savannah, and we’re expecting a high-energy event. General sessions are available to attendees of all three conferences, and there are sessions tailored exclusively to the Bank Accountant and Bank Counsel conference attendees. If your bank or firm isn’t signed up yet, we encourage you to do so. While our group room block has just sold out, we are working to secure additional rooms. To be waitlisted for a room, email GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


Thanks to our generous sponsors of this event: American Bankers Association; Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; EBS; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FHLBank Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC; ServisFirst Bank - Correspondent Division; Symphona; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett CPAs & Advisors. Contact GBA’ Kathy Friestad regarding sponsorship or the conference.


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Andy Keusal

Lender Training – Affordable and Convenient!

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

Registration is open for the Commercial Lending 201: Analyzing Repayment Sources virtual course coming up Sept. 7. 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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Tips for Thinking Through FedNow Participation

We know member banks are looking at the pros and cons of participating in the new FedNow service that went live June 20. Associate Member CSI has provided an article with some information that may be helpful as your bank considers participation in this new payments channel. Read the article here.


Related: Hot Topic Webinar

FedNow 101: What to Know Now About FedNow - Sept. 15

OnCourse Learning has added a new webinar that will delve into the key details of the Federal Reserve Banks' FedNow service. Presented by Kevin Olsen, the "Payments Professor," this webinar will take attendees through FedNow's features and potential implications for the financial industry and beyond. C-suite executives, transaction banking professionals, digital strategy professionals, risk management departments, compliance officers, IT departments, innovation and product development teams, and training and development departments will all benefit from this webinar. Click here to register.


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Space is filling up!

Opening New Accounts Seminar - Sept. 12, MGSU, Macon

Don’t miss your chance to learn from the pro! Customized to Georgia Law, Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting will a focus on documentation and compliance during this full-day seminar. Attendees can expect to learn essential new account opening procedures, best practices, and compliance requirements. Suzie will answer complex questions asked by customers and staff while focusing on vital information for every new account type. Learn more and register here.


New Speaker, Fresh Content!

Business Cash Flow Analysis Seminar - Sept. 19, MGSU, Macon

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.


Attention Loan Personnel

Loan Documentation Seminar - Sept. 20, MGSU, Macon

Shannon Fortson, EVP, Chief Credit Officer of Pinnacle Bank, is the new leader for our Loan Documentation Seminar. He'll cover how 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.


Suzie Jones Peter Faser Shannon Fortson


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Financial Risk Management Conference

Loan Pricing Strategies, Government Guaranteed Lending and More Great Sessions

Registration is open for the 2023 Financial Risk Management Conference, Nov. 2-3 at The Westin Buckhead Atlanta. Hosted annually by GBA’s Asset/Liability Management Committee. The agenda features sessions including an economic update by Ryan Hayhurst of The Baker Group, a banker panel discussion about recent regulatory exams to be moderated by Jonathan Hightower of Fenimore Kay Harrison, a session about loan pricing and hedging by Ed Kofman of SouthState Bank, a session on optimizing opportunities in government guaranteed investment and lending programs and a panel discussing funding alternatives moderated by Holt Redding of SouthCoast Bank & Trust.


Ryan Hayhurst


Ed Kofman

Holt Redding


Get all the details and register here. We’d like to thank these Associate Members who are showing their support:

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

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GBA Partner Blog from

Building Loyalty with BTC for CLV

It’s that time of year again; back to school season. Or, when it comes to bank marketing and the Gen Z consumer, what’s commonly known as BTC, or Back to College. Why so much hype about the Gen Z segment? Because they are an important, and somewhat unique, consumer. And, why is this an important time of year, not just for students off to college, but for community bankers, as well? Because BTC is a great time to build upon your base of loyal customers and with it, their CLV or Customer Lifetime Value. Read more of the Bank Marketing Center blog post. Contact Neal Reynolds at, or 678.528.6688 to find out more about GBA partner


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Coming up Nov. 30-Dec. 1 - Credit Conference

Peer and Regulatory Roundtables among Highlight Sessions for Upcoming Conference

The GBA Credit Committee, under the leadership of Michael Tesler, Ameris Bank, and Vice Chair Rebecca Abraham, Signature Bank of Georgia, have been working hard to finalize the agenda for the 2023 Credit Conference at The Westin Buckhead Atlanta. This year's conference sessions will include:

  • Economic Update - Roger Tutterow, Henssler Financial Endowed Chair, professor of economics, Kennesaw State University

  • CRE - Cal Evans, senior director, Investor Relations & Market Intelligence, Synovus

  • Roundtable Discussion

  • Regulatory Update - Kevin Hagler, commissioner, Department of Banking and Finance, and Joe Brannen, president and CEO, Georgia Bankers Association

  • Dev Strischek, Principle, Devon Risk Advisory Group, LLC


Roger Tutterow Cal Evans Kevin Hagler Joe Brannen Dev Strischek


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; Qualtik and Wiplfi LLP.

Get all the details and register here.


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Higher 401(k) Investment Returns in 2023

401(k) participants were pleased to see the difference in their investment returns year-to-date through June 30 this year versus the declines we saw everywhere in 2022. The S&P 500 Index returned 8.74% during second quarter as lower inflation and AI enthusiasm helped drive markets higher. The Fed also enacted its first rate pause in June after increasing the fed funds rate by 0.25% in May, and again in July. American Trust feels that economic uncertainty is still elevated but recession risks have declined as the U.S. consumer remains resilient. Click here to read the full Financial Markets Review for second quarter prepared by American Trust, the investment manager and discretionary trustee of the GBA Retirement Services 401(k) Trust. Though we may continue to see market volatility in the future, it’s important to remind plan participants to keep a long-term investment focus when investing for retirement. Through our popular “UnifiedPlan” managed account option, over 84% of participants in the Trust are taking advantage of asset allocation assistance and professional oversight by American Trust, eliminating big swings when the market declines and helping them to remain focused on long-term results. Please contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 with any questions or for more information on 401(k) services available through GBA Retirement Services.


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Top Three Ways SentryHealth Can Help You Reach Wellbeing Goals

Starting a wellbeing journey can be hard, but you don't have to do it alone! GBA Insurance Trust’s wellbeing partner, SentryHealth, offers free access to virtual health and wellbeing services for those participating in the Trust. Check out these top three ways they can help. Contact Lee Monroe and Jayn Lawson for information. If you are an employee of a participating member company and are ready to create your own success story, schedule an appointment at or on the MySentryHealth app, available on the App Store or Google Play.


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Save the Date!



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IRA Update, Financial Statement Mapping, Nailing Your Job as Head Teller and More

Here’s a sampling 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 announced a $5 million grant to Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP). The grant will allow ANDP to leverage $5 million in funding over a period of three years with new and existing capital, and matching loans from partner CDFIs, to invest over $50 million in historically underfinanced BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), women, and rural affordable housing developers in metro Atlanta and Georgia. Read more here.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

The FPCB Employee Contribution Committee recently donated $300 worth of necessary supplies to the Still Waters Ministry, a local Women's Transitional Program. Still Waters is a division of Friends Ministries in Bainbridge.


Dublin - Community Bank of Dublin-Laurens County

The bank recently sponsored breakfast for the teachers at the Irish Gifted Academy.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

Local bankers attended the system-wide Back to School Breakfast for all staff members of Pulaski County Schools.


Hinesville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company

The bank recently announced its first major sponsorship in the Hinesville community. The partnership with Kiwanis of Liberty County kicks off with a Poker Run fundraising event on Saturday, August 5, at Halfmoon Marina. All proceeds from the event will go toward the organizations goal of building an all-inclusive playground in Hinesville. Set to open in 2024, the all-inclusive playground will feature playground equipment for children of all abilities. The playground will be available free of charge for anyone who wishes to use it.


Richmond Hill - Great Oaks Bank

A group of bank team members from its Richmond Hill office recently ran/walked the Red Hot Chili Pepper run in Richmond Hill.


Rome - River City Bank

The bank’s Rome team donated 500 piggy banks that will go in birthday bags filled with party supplies, treats, toys, and basic living essentials for children in our community through Brighter Birthdays.


Warner Robins - Planters First Bank

On behalf of the bank, Warner Robins Regional President Clay Corbitt presented teacher gifts at Matt Arthur Elementary School.



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GBA Newsmakers


Cordele/Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

Lauryn Williams has joined the bank team as enterprise solutions analyst - deposits and will work in the bank’s Enterprise Support Center. Karlee McSwain has also joined the bank team as a teller and in its Hawkinsville Banking Center.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Congratulations to Executive Vice Chairman Brian Schmitt on his retirement this week. Schmitt will remain on the board of Colony Bankcorp, Inc.


Macon - American Pride Bank

North Metro Atlanta Market Executive Erik Bykat has been promoted to Senior Lending Officer and will be responsible for coordinating the bank's loan growth in addition to leading its Atlanta initiative. Credit Department Manager LaQuanda Billingslea also was promoted to Senior Credit Officer. Read more here.


Milledgeville - Century Bank & Trust

Jennifer Tarver has been promoted to assistant branch manager at the bank’s downtown branch. Read more here.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Oconee Financial Corporation this week announced it has completed its acquisition of Elberton Federal Savings & Loan Association, effective July 31, 2023. On Aug. 1, Elberton Federal’s financial center on East Church Street in Elberton opened for operation as a branch of Oconee State Bank. Read more here.



Lauryn Williams Karlee McSwain Brian Schmitt Erik Bykat LaQuanda Billingslea Jennifer Tarver



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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