Dec. 1, 2023  

Action Alert

Check Fraud Survey Deadline is Dec. 8

We strongly encourage member banks to take part in the statewide check fraud survey being done by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance (DBF). The survey will close Dec. 8, 2023, with results released to participants and partners by Dec. 15.

  • Goal: The goal is to get granular details about the most common and costly types of fraud affecting banks in Georgia.


  • Target Institutions: All banks and credit unions supervised by the DBF are encouraged to participate, as well as OCC supervised banks headquartered in Georgia.


  • Not a Heavy Lift: The survey asks for a minimal amount of data. There are only five specific data points to collect: dollar amount of fraud attempts, number and dollar amount of charge-offs and dollar amount of recoveries. A few other questions ask you to do simple rankings of issues or answer yes or no.


  • Anonymized and Aggregated: Responses will be anonymized, and all data collected from participating institutions is collected for aggregation purposes only and distributed information will not be linked to any individual institution.


Get Survey Details and Access from DBF Here


  • GBA Member Involvement: A GBA fraud task force comprised of Operations & Technology Committee member Sam Drennen, First American Bank & Trust Company, Security Committee member Jennifer Whitmire, AB&T, and Crystal Huffman of the Fenimore Kay Harrison law firm provided input to the DBF for the survey questions.


  • Other Partners: Community Bankers Association of Georgia (CBA) and League of Southeastern Credit Unions (LSCU).


  • Need More Info? Contact Deputy Commissioner for Supervision Melissa Sneed at 770.986.1646 or

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Georgia Bank Q3 Performance Summary

Earnings, Loans, Deposits and Assets up Slightly

Performance for Georgia’s 144 FDIC-insured institutions remained steady in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Net income for all banks was $1.49 billion, an increase of $11 million. Total assets grew to $151.64 billion, a modest $1.37 billion uptick from the previous year. Total loans and leases reached $107.14 billion, up by $3.97 billion. Deposits bucked the national trend by posting a slight increase of $1.17 billion to $129.71 billion. Net interest margin improved to 3.72%, and credit quality remained strong, with only a slight increase in the ratio of noncurrent loans. Capital levels remained solid, as well. Seventy-two percent of Georgia’s banks reported earnings gains for the nine months of the year, and 94% were profitable. See a chart of the stats here. “The results show continued growth for our banks and they compare favorably to national trends,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. “The growth in assets, loans and deposits is encouraging, demonstrating that our state’s banks continue to be resilient in serving Georgia’s businesses, families and communities.” Access the full FDIC release about nationwide performance here.


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Credit Conference Look In

Here are some early snapshots from our Credit Conference that kicked off Thursday in Atlanta. Georgia bank credit and lending pros are gathered to get the latest economic, business and bank credit trends to help them set the stage for success in 2024. The conference ends Friday, so look for more scenes from the conference and full summaries of the sessions next week.



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Holly Mathis

GBA Member Profile

A Passion for Craft and Compliance with Holly Mathis

Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company’s Holly Mathis began her professional journey at age 16, working at a daycare where she learned patience, problem-solving and effective communication. Fast forward to her role as a compliance auditor, and these early lessons still resonate. “The compliance team is consulted on nearly a daily basis to provide clear, accurate and effective direction on how to best meet the needs of our customers all while problem solving to maintain compliance against consumer harm,” she said. Outside of her role at the bank, the GBA Compliance Committee member is in her element during the holiday season, finding joy in crafting and decorating. Her love for Christmas is infectious, with her home transformed into a winter wonderland featuring multiple trees and a village of more than 75 ceramic buildings. Her crafting skills extend beyond her home, contributing to various family and friend celebrations, weddings, baby showers, and more. “My masterpiece each year is the decorating of our church for Christmas. I head the ‘flower committee’ at our church and that includes creating a festive church during the Christmas season,” Mathis said. Read more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: GBA’s Compliance Peer Group will meet on March 5. Attendees will discuss the industry’s latest hot topics and learn best practices to strengthen their bank’s compliance management program


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GBA Retirement Services Welcomes New Members

GBA Retirement Services, Inc. is excited to welcome our newest members to the GBA Master 401(k) Trust that will be joining in 2024: F&M Bank and Trust Company, Manchester, Allen Parham, CEO; Snellville Auto Center, Brent Robinson, owner; and Loganville Auto Center, Brian Robinson, owner. We have enjoyed meeting with employees as we prepare for them to join our program in January. We look forward to providing outstanding service for these plan participants in the years to come.


Some of the advantages of being part of the GBA Master Trust include:

  • GBA’s dedicated staff support as a primary resource and oversight of service providers.

  • American Trust Company as an investment manager and discretionary Trustee.

  • Reduced fees with high-quality service providers.

  • Ongoing investment education and retirement planning sessions for employees.

  • Personalized Managed Account Solution geared to each participant’s needs through the Unified Plan at no additional cost for participants.

  • Added value: Your bank's business customers are eligible to participate through referral from you as an add on service.

We would love to do a plan review and show you why all of our members are pleased with the service and performance provided by GBA Retirement Services! Contact Mandy Richards at 404.420.2025 for more information about how GBA Retirement Services can help design or improve your retirement plan.


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Leader Updates

Risks, Happy Customers, Special Session, Diabetes and Latino Opportunities

Our series of regular email updates to CEOs, committee members and other key leaders continued over the past two weeks. Topics included:

  • CSBS Survey Results-Risks: We shared detail from the annual CSBS Community Bank Survey. Key internal risks identified were cost of funds, net interest margin and core deposit growth. Top external risks were cybersecurity and liquidity.


  • Happy Customers: We shared insights from the ABA’s annual consumer banking survey, which showed 8 in 10 have high levels of satisfaction with their bank. Full results here.


  • Special Session: The Georgia General Assembly began a special session Wednesday to re-draw maps for several House and Senate districts. While we’re not involved in re-districting issues, we’ll use this time for meetings with legislators to discuss issues held over from last session, like prohibiting interchange from being charged on the sales tax portion of credit and debit card transactions.


  • Georgia Jobs: Georgia’s unemployment rate in October remained at 3.4%, the same level reported for September.


  • Ag Lending Trends: A survey from ABA and Farmer Mac about recent Ag trends indicated that most lenders and their farm clients expect the sector to remain profitable this year and in 2024, although profitability was not expected to be at last year’s levels. Similar to concerns we’ve heard from bankers, liquidity is a top concern for many borrowers


  • Diabetes Awareness Month: Reminder for GBA Insurance Trust Members that we have have free resources available to help you if you’re pre-diabetic or have a diabetes diagnosis. Through our partnership with SentryHealth, we’ve got professionals who can provide mental health counseling, and there’s an expert team of Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists and Registered Dieticians ready to help. If you want to talk with someone, log into your account at or call 877.293.9355.


  • Latino Opportunities: Census data shows Hispanics are the fastest-growing demographic in Georgia. A report from a fintech about its loans shows Georgia is #7 nationally for its loans originated by Latino-owned businesses. Construction is the largest business category among those loans originated.


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


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Breaking News!

GBA Compliance School – Now Offering Year 1 and Year 2 Simultaneously

You’ve asked and we’ve listened! GBA’s Compliance School Board is excited to announce that for the first time ever, Year 1 and Year 2 of Compliance School will be offered in 2024! Compliance officers as well as anyone who has compliance responsibilities, including department managers, will benefit from the school. Enroll today for career growth, personal growth, and added value to your institution. Get the details and register here.


GBA’s Compliance School will be April 28 - May 3, 2024, at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Beige Book: Moderate Growth, Pricing Challenges

The recent Beige Book report indicates moderate economic growth in the Southeast from October to mid-November. While inflation indicators remain positive, businesses in the Sixth District report a softer labor market. Job openings are easier to fill, but pressure to raise wages is easing. Additionally, companies find it harder to increase prices without resistance from customers. Hiring has slowed, and businesses are more selective in filling positions. Some plan to pass rising healthcare costs to employees next year. Despite a larger pool of workers, the labor market is perceived as tight. Nonlabor costs, excluding health and property insurance, have declined. The Atlanta Fed's October Business Inflation Expectations survey shows a decrease in firms' expectations for the year ahead, from 2.5% in September to 2.4%. Read more here.


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Coming up Dec. 14 – Georgia Specific Content

Mastering Power of Attorney in Georgia Webinar – Dec. 14, 10-11:30 a.m.

Join us for an exclusive webinar tailored specifically to Georgia bankers, where we delve into the critical aspects of Georgia’s Power of Attorney laws with attorney John Willis of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. This webinar is a must-attend event for those with customer service or document review responsibilities within a bank. Get all the details and register here.


With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Kristen Stogniew

Get in on New Date!

BSA Virtual Peer Group Meeting – Dec. 7

Don’t miss out on convenient BSA networking from the comfort of your office. Connect with your peers and strengthen your BSA compliance program. Kristen Stogniew of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund will lead the group discussion with a focus on BSA related risk assessments and client risk scoring. Registrants can submit industry hot topics during the registration process to ensure those topics are covered as well. Get all the details and register here.


But wait… there’s more!

BSA Summit, Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, Peachtree City

You need the right skills and equipment to assess and maintain your bank’s BSA/AML/CFT and OFAC programs. Join us at GBA’s BSA Summit in Peachtree City at the Hilton Conference Center, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1. Facilitated by Kristen Stogniew, attendees can expect a deep dive into the world of BSA compliance through a variety of sessions. Register here and strengthen your BSA knowledge and practices.


With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Registration Open

Kick off Your Year Jan. 24 at Legislative Forum & Reception

Join your peers in January for our largest single-day event each year. The annual Legislative & Economic Forum and Reception is coming up Jan. 24 at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta. Hosted by the GBA Public Affairs Committee and Board of Directors, these events are held in honor of members of the Georgia General Assembly as GBA's way of showing the industry's appreciation for these elected official's commitment to our state. All GBA member bankers, associate members, strategic partners, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant section members are invited to participate. Click here for details and to register for the Forum & Reception, the Forum Only, or the Reception Only. The Forum will be from 3 – 6 p.m., followed by the Reception from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Thanks to our event sponsors: FHLBank Atlanta, Point to Point Environmental, ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division, and Yarmouth & Choate. Sponsorships are still available for this event; click here for details. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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IRA Merry-Go-Round, Feb. 6-7, Macon, MGSU

Facilitated by Loni Porta, Director of Education, Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, anyone even remotely involved in IRAs will benefit from this intensive training. Whether you are looking to gain basic knowledge of IRAs, raise your comfort level, or sharpen your skills with the most up-to-date rules and regulations, the IRA Merry-Go-Round will cover it all.  Click here for more details and to register. Contact Aimee Corcoran with questions, 404.420.2035.



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Make Plans to Attend 2024 Operations & Technology Conference

Join Georgia bank IT and operations professionals in Savannah Feb. 28 - March 1 at The DeSoto, Savannah for this high impact event.Sessions will include:

  • Fraud Mitigation

  • Succession Planning

  • Leverage Your Next Core Contract Negotiation, David Saylor, Genesys Technology Group, LLC  

  • Phishing Protection Securing Azure AD with Conditional Access Policies, Eric Delgado, Safe Systems

  • Conversational AI and How to Leverage the Prompt

  • Evolving Expectations – The Next Digital Wave, Matt Herren, CSI.

The conference is hosted annually by GBA’s Operations & Technology Committee under the leadership of Chair, Shan Venable, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia, and Vice Chair, Mindy Green, Citizens Community Bank, Hahira. 


Click here for all the information and to access registration.


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GBA Partner Compliance Alliance

A.I. Regulation is On the Way

The words “artificial intelligence” used to provoke thoughts of dystopian science fiction. Now, we think more of ChatGPT and less about “The Terminator.” A.I. has become so pervasive and its implications so wide that our government is taking note. On Oct. 29, the Biden Administration issued a wide-ranging Executive Order establishing guidelines for consumer safety and protection while emphasizing equity. See detailed analysis of the order. The main takeaway for banks is that the banking industry’s vast regulatory state has been directed to seriously look at the state of the A.I. and its application across the economy, including the banking industry. While current A.I. may not be able to invoke Arnold Schwarzenegger and say, “I’ll be back,” don’t sleep on A.I regulation. It’s coming. Visit to learn more.


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Andy Keusal

Commercial Lending Training – Webinars


Breaking into Banking 101 – Fundamentals of Commercial Banking, Thursday, Feb. 22

Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. This course is a clear and thorough introduction to the key concepts, terminology, and processes involved in credit and lending. It doesn’t assume much prior knowledge of the topic, so it’s ideal for those in their first year in the industry. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of their job and how their specific role fits into the bank’s overall profitability goals. Click here to register.


Breaking into Banking 201 – Analyzing Repayment Sources, Wednesday, March 27

This 9-module online course is a “sequel” to the 101 course 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: analyzing a borrower’s balance sheet, income statement, collateral, and risk ratings. Click here to register.


Both are presented by Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning. These online courses will be held by Zoom from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. EDT. The recording will be available to registered participants for one month after the live training.


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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: Should modifications be included in our HMDA LAR?


Answer: Only “extensions of credit” are reported for HMDA purposes. Generally, a modification is not going to be considered an extension of credit because HMDA commentary indicates that an “extension of credit” generally requires a new debt obligation and a modification of an existing debt obligation, without satisfaction and replacement, is not a covered loan. As always, the institution should thoroughly review the individual facts and circumstances of the case in question to ensure it aligns with the following guidance: "…Under the HMDA Rule, an “extension of credit” generally requires a new debt obligation. Comment 2(d)-2. Thus, for example, a loan modification where the existing debt obligation is not satisfied and replaced is not generally a Covered Loan (i.e., Closed-End Mortgage Loan or Open-End Line of Credit) under the HMDA Rule. Except as described below, if a transaction modifies, renews, extends, or amends the terms of an existing debt obligation, but the existing debt obligation is not satisfied and replaced, the transaction is not a Covered Loan…" Read more here on p. 28.


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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Elevate Your HR Game!

HR Professionals Institute, Jekyll Island, March 20 - 22, 2024

Registration is now open for GBA’s annual HR Professionals Institute. Planned by GBA’s Human Resources Committee, Lance Whitley, Colony Bank, chair, the institute is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank human resources professionals. Attendees will gain invaluable insights, strategies, and tools needed to excel in their careers. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Marketing Conference and The Power of Video Workshop, Jekyll Island, March 20 - 22, 2024

Get the scoop on the latest bright ideas for marketing your bank and its products and services. Planned by GBA’s Marketing Committee, Haley Barnes, BankSouth Mortgage, chair, the GBA Marketing Conference has two components:

  • Our pre-conference workshop, presented by Ken Fehner, owner of The Social Gloo, will equip attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to create compelling videos for social media posts.


  • The traditional conference follows, with programming covering the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends and good ideas for practitioners.

Attendees have the option to register for both workshop and conference, conference only or workshop only. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Shannon Fortson

Peter Faser

Save the dates!

Seminars for Lenders Coming Up at Middle Georgia State University in Macon

Save the date for our several lending seminars in spring 2024. Connect with your peers and gain the tools and expertise needed to excel in your role.

  • Shannon Fortson of Pinnacle Bank will present the Personal Cash Flow Seminar March 5. Through a combination of lecture and casework, participants will learn how to calculate sources and uses of personal cash flow


  • Fortson will be back on March 6 to present the fan-favorite Loan Documentation Seminar. Learn what’s needed to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques


  • Get the hands-on analysis training you need to determine a borrower’s capacity to repay a loan at the Business Cash Flow Seminar, March 7 with Peter Faser, a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School.

With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Registration Now Open!

Bank Security Conference – King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons

Registration is now open for GBA’s annual Bank Security Conference, April 10-12. Planned by GBA’s Security Committee, Melissa Dasher, SouthState Bank, chair, the conference agenda will include a polices and procedures workshop, sessions on security technology and equipment, fraud, mental health, and more. Secure your spot today! Get all the details and register here.


With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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GBA Partner Bank Marketing Center

10 Tips for Community Banks Ringing in The Holidays

‘Tis the season! The holiday season offers banks a unique opportunity to connect with customers and strengthen their presence in the local community. By implementing some simple holiday marketing strategies, you’ll boost customer engagement and demonstrate your commitment to supporting the community during this festive time of year. Building positive holiday experiences leads to lasting customer relationships and goodwill throughout the year. Explore 10 of the most effective types of marketing activities you can consider to make the most of the holiday season. Visit to learn more.


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Enroll Now for 2024 Georgia Banking School, April 28 - May 3

Online enrollment is now available for the 2024 session of the Georgia Banking School, which will be April 28 - May 3 in at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. For more than 60 years, the school has developed generations of Georgia bank leaders who shape the industry in our state. It offers everything you want and expect from an investment in banker education, specifically preparing the next generation of bank leaders, building the pool of management-level talent in your bank, and connecting students to the most knowledgeable industry experts and a community of fellow bankers. The Georgia Banking School Board, led by Darron Burnette of Synovus, has been hard at work reviewing the curriculum and planning next year’s session.


Georgia Banking School Details and Enrollment Access Here


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10 Common Errors on Fiduciary Accounts, Reg E, New CRA Regulations 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 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.


Save Big in Q4 with GBA Partner BankTalentHQ

Navigating the challenges of talent acquisition and retention is a daily task for banks. Beginning Oct. 1, bank employers can take advantage of 20% off a single 30-day job posting package with GBA partner BankTalentHQ. See the promo offer below for more information. Why post with BankTalentHQ?

  • Tailored Audience: The platform caters specifically to banking professionals, ensuring that your job post reaches the right people.

  • High Visibility: Partnering with 40 state banking associations across the country and the American Bankers Association, BankTalentHQ works collaboratively to promote your postings and attract talent to the industry.

  • Easy-to-use: With its user-friendly platform, posting a job and tracking applicants is easy.

To redeem your savings, visit, create an employer profile, and enter the code SAVE20BTHQ at checkout. Or, if you would like to set up a meeting with a member of the BankTalentHQ team to learn more, please email




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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 s6onsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Bank employees recently volunteered at the local food bank, assembling 55 Thanksgiving meal kits.


Blairsville - River City Bank

Earlier this month, the bank’s Blairsville team packed snack bags for Goodies From The Heart, a weekend food and hunger relief program for children in Union County.


Clayton - Rabun County Bank

The bank recently donated to the Rabun Paws 4 Life Shelter.


Lawrenceville - Embassy National Bank

During October, the bank collected food and toiletry items for the North Georgia Co-Op. In 2022, the Co-Op served over 23,136 people and distributed 311,498 pounds of food.


Macon - Oconee State Bank

The bank’s Macon team recently participated in the Macon Area Habitat for Humanity Light More Homes event as a sponsor, providing hot chocolate throughout the evening. Macon Area Habitat for Humanity’s Light More Homes annual Christmas light display raises funds to build homes in Macon-Bibb and Jones Counties.


Marietta - Georgia Banking Company

The bank’s Marietta branch team members pooled funds to host a Food Drive for the Atlanta Food Bank and The Center for Family Resources. Both organizations are on a mission to fight hunger and provide nutritious meals to families in need.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

The bank contributed $10,000 to the Jones County School System through the PEACH Education Tax Credit Program, which allows Georgia taxpayers to support public education and students while receiving a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit.


Perry - SunMark Community Bank

The bank donated to the Perry High School Football Team’s Touchdown Club for their playoff game travel costs.


Statesboro - Bulloch First

The bank was a silver sponsor at the recent Farm City Week Luncheon.


Thomasville - TC Federal Bank

Throughout November, the bank collected canned goods and non-perishable foods to support Thomas County Food Bank & Outreach Center, Inc., City Walk Urban Mission, and The Living Harvest as part of its annual "Banksgiving” initiative.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

In October, the bank hosted Fall Shred Day at its corporate headquarters.



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GBA Newsmakers


Alma - Pineland Bank

The bank recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of their train depot office, which was originally built in 1906. In the 1930s, a portion of the depot was used to operate what was then Alma Exchange Credit Union and later became Alma Exchange Bank in 1939. Pineland Bank purchased the depot from the railroad 45 years ago. The remodeled depot will be used by the bank for meetings.


Alpharetta - Georgia Banking Company

Tas Denman has joined the bank as senior vice president and private banker.


Athens - Pinnacle Bank

Marcus Schubert has joined the bank team as a vice president, business banker specializing in commercial lending. Read more here.


Cochran - The Citizens Bank of Cochran

Hannah Warfield has joined the bank as a teller.


Eastman - Great Oaks Bank

Lisa Smith has joined the bank’s Eastman team as a customer service representative.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Miranda McCarty has joined the bank team as a branch banker. Read more here.


Hinesville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Inc.

The bank recently opened its new full-service branch in Hinesville. Vice President and Business Banker Melissa Deal leads the Hinesville market for the bank. Alongside Deal, Chris Ellison manages the Hinesville location. Read more here.


Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County

Ashley Jones has joined the bank as a teller.


Rome - River City Bank

Angie Beard has been promoted to senior vice president, senior personal banker, and Kathi Watson has been promoted to vice president, mortgage loan officer.


Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins

Tom Houlihan has joined the firm as managing director to lead its Transaction Advisory Services practice. Read more here.



Pineland Bank Tas Denman Marcus Schubert Hannah Warfield Lisa Smith



Miranda McCarty Melissa Deal and
Chris Ellison
Ashley Jones Angie Beard Kathi Watson



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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