Jan. 27, 2023   

Advocacy in Action

Barnesville Rotary Gets Banking Update

It was nice to be back on the road again sharing news and information about the banking industry with community leaders. GBA’s Joe Brannen was the guest speaker this week at the Barnesville Rotary Club, thanks to an invite from United Bank’s William Tuttle. Brannen touched on how Georgia remains a well banked state, the availability of disaster relief loans from SBA for their customers affected by recent storms (more about that below), key state and federal banking issues and other hot topics we’re hearing from members. Also representing the bank and its holding company at the meeting were Jim Edwards, Joe Edwards, Chris Edwards, John Edwards, and Doug Tuttle. GBA often speaks to banker and business groups to share the story about banking beyond the headlines. Contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036, with questions.


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Disaster Recovery Loans from SBA for Central GA Storms

SBA this week announced information about disaster loans for individuals and businesses in 23 counties affected by last week’s tornadoes in central Georgia. Those in Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether, Newton, Spalding, Troup counties are eligible for Physical Damage AND Economic Injury Loans. Those in Clayton, Coweta, Dekalb, Fayette, Harris, Heard, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Morgan, Pike, Putnam, Rockdale, Talbot, Upson, Walton counties are eligible for Economic Injury Loans only. Access our map here with details. Unlike with PPP, these loans are available only through SBA, so you may want this information to help direct customers to the right channel for help. Get more information from the SBA here. Thanks to CSRA Business Lending’s Randy Griffin for sending us the heads-up about the announcement.


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Legislative Session Picking up Steam

The Georgia General Assembly was back in session this week. GBA’s advocacy team was busy keeping up with newly-introduced bills and announcements about new and returning members of key committees. On the House Banks & Banking Committee, Rep. Noel Williams (R-Cordele) is returning as chairman and River City Bank’s Rep. Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) will serve as vice-chair. Also on the committee is Affinity Bank’s Rep. Carter Barrett (R-Cumming). On the Senate side, Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele) was named the new chairman of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions. Serving as committee secretary is Ameris Bank’s Sen. Mike Hodges. It’s good to have that expertise helping other citizen-legislators understand the complexities of banking as legislation comes before the committees. There were several other new chairs, vice chairs and members of committees named for the current session, so click here for the 2022 House Committees and here for the 2022 Senate Committees. We greatly appreciated the hospitality of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta hosting a big contingent of freshman members of the Georgia General Assembly. Organized by majority caucus chairman Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe) with support from banking committee chairman Williams and coordinated by GBA's Elizabeth Chandler. Legislators enjoyed learning about all the monetary-policy decision-making and regulatory responsibility the Federal Reserve system maintains. On the legislative front, the annual GBA-priority Banking Department housekeeping bill (HB 55) was introduced this week by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R-Monroe). Be on the lookout for a full roundup of the week’s action in our Legislative Update publication we’ll distribute Friday morning, as well as updates of all the new bills added to our State Issues page on the GBA website.


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Women in Banking Committee Meets

Thanks to Women in Banking Committee Vice Chair Jenn Whitmire of Pinnacle Bank for hosting the committee at the bank’s Monroe office Thursday. The committee met to map out programming for the coming year. The programming from this group is proving extremely popular, with strong attendance at last year’s Women in Banking Conference. Committee Chair Lori Tucker, United Bank, led the meeting. Up for discussion was a check-in by members about banking conditions and development needs from their areas of the state, ideas for a charity or cause for the committee to support, filling upcoming committee openings through the GBA volunteer process and brainstorming ideas for the 2023 conference. If you’re interested in volunteering for the committee, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, and go ahead and mark your calendar for the conference Aug. 10-11 at Chateau Elan in Braselton.


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Georgia Youth Connections Collaborative Set for a Big 2023

With a goal of improving the financial wellbeing of young low- and moderate-income Georgians, members of the FDIC-led Youth Connections Collaborative held a 2023 kick-off videoconference this week. The initiative looks to strengthen connections between FDIC-insured banks, nonprofits that focus on young people and government agencies to provide financial education, affordable accounts and workforce development opportunities. During 2022, GBA and 20 banks provided insight, guidance and support to the initiative and outreach efforts. Valerie Pendergast, Metro City Bank, will co-chair the initiative’s Workforce Development Committee this year. GBA’s David Oliver also serves on that committee. We’re looking for more bank participation, so we encourage you to get involved. Banks participating in this initiative may qualify for CRA credit consideration, among other benefits, and there are opportunities to serve in leadership and member roles for committees focusing on account access, financial literacy and workforce development. For more information, reach out to FDIC’s Terry Lee, community affairs specialist, telee@fdic.gov, 404.536.6056.


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State Elder Fraud Protection Courses Scheduled

The early 2023 schedules of the impactful and popular courses for bankers and other mandatory reporters of suspected elder financial fraud are now available. The schedules are for classes through April. Certified At-Risk Adult Crime Tactics Specialist (CACTS) training is a two-day, 12-hour course (schedule here). You may also see the schedule for other events further out into the year here. There is no cost CACTS course. If you have any questions, please contact David Blake of the Georgia Department of Human Services’ Forensic Special Initiatives Unit, David.blake@dhs.ga.gov.


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F.A.N.S. is New Tool to Combat Property Fraud

Our friends at the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority (GSCCCA) wanted us to share with members that GSCCCA, in conjunction the Superior Court Clerks of Georgia, has developed a free, consumer-friendly process that notifies property owners any time filings are made related to their registered property. The Filing Activity Notification System (FANS) will also notify of filing activity related to personal property, liens and plats. “We believe the Filing Activity Notification System gives the property owner tools to monitor filing activity which could help prevent property fraud,” said GSCCCA Executive Director John Earle. Registration only requires an email address or phone number. Click here to read more in the GSCCCA press release.


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Last chance to sign up!

Solid Compliance Group Set to Embark on the BSA Summit Next Week

Kristen Stogniew, Esq., CFE of Saltmarsh, Cleaveland, and Gund is bringing a powerful agenda to Peachtree City next week with 16 sessions, including a BSA boot camp, four separate panels and a BSA/AML system breakout session at the 2023 BSA Summit, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2 at the Crowne Plaza Peachtree City. Registration includes all sessions, opening reception, meals and breaks during the program, and printed materials. The BSA Summit has been approved for 22.25 CAFP, CRCM credits! There's still time to sign up for this packed program. Visit the BSA Summit website here for details and to register. A big thank you to our confirmed sponsors. Silver Sponsors: Mauldin & Jenkins and Steve H. Powell & Company. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Support GBA’s State BankPAC Feb. 9 at Sporting Clays Tournament!

We’re so excited to host our sixth-annual Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament on Feb. 9 at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. It’s always a fun event and it’s all for a great cause; all proceeds will go to the GBA StatePAC.* GBA members are invited to bring co-workers, friends, legislators, directors and customers to join you to shoot a round of clays while supporting this important cause. Get all the details and register here. You can also show your support for the StatePAC through sponsorship; click here for details. A huge thank-you to our sponsors: Banc Card of America; Bank of Madison; BHG Financial; Cash Transactions LLC (CashTrans); Citizens Bank of Americus; CSRA Business Lending; FHLBank Atlanta; First National Bank; Great Oaks Bank; ICI Consulting; Northeast Georgia Bank; Point to Point Environmental; Steve H. Powell & Company; and United Bank. We appreciate your support! Questions? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


*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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Board Compensation and Governance Practices Survey Open for Participation

Most institutions establish director compensation programs by reviewing and benchmarking to peer market data. It has become a challenge to determine the proper mix of compensation to attract board members, compensate them properly for their service (for the risks they take and for the time commitment they make) while also aligning with shareholder interest. In today’s climate of increasingly complex compliance and regulatory guidelines, boards are under pressure to be effective and achieve a multitude of goals. Pearl Meyer’s Board of Directors Compensation Survey provides helpful guidance on fairly compensating your Board. The survey opened for participation on Jan. 9, and submissions are due March 3rd.  Participants receive over 50% off of the non-participant price. If you did not receive your invitation to participate, please contact Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com.


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Want Your Content Viewed?  Better Pay Attention to Google

By Neal Reynolds, president, BankMarketingCenter.com


SEO, as you know, now plays a more critical role than ever in the marketing content that you create to engage your customer. And Google, as you also know, plays a critical role in determining how and when that customer engages with it. It’s important, then, to keep an eye on Google and keep abreast of the changes they may be making to how they rank content in user searches. If you’re a content marketer — and you better be — those changes involve algorithms, which have a profound impact on the type of content you distribute and how it is viewed. Let’s dive into to examine the content trends driven by the recent algorithm changes at Google; the “Helpful Content Update” and the “Spam Update.” Click here to read more from Reynolds’ latest blog post and visit www.bankmarketingcenter.com for more great marketing ideas.



Related: GBA's Marketing Conference and Creative Workshop is March 22-24. There's a session about SEO and digital marketing trends.


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Georgia Banking School - April 30 - May 5, Athens

Keynote Speaker and Trivia Night Added to the Schedule

Enrollment is open for the May 2023 session of Georgia Banking School, scheduled in Athens at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel, Sunday, April 30, through Friday, May 5. This year's keynote speaker is Joe Evans, retired chairman of State Bank Financial Corporation. He is going to share his career story on Wednesday, May 3. We have also added a trivia night for students on Tuesday, May 2, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. All students are invited to attend. Here's what Ryan Martin, senior vice president and Savannah market president at Truist and 2022 Georgia Banking School Graduate of Distinction, had to say about his school experience.


Learn More About Georgia Banking School Here


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Help Reach Five Million Americans with 2023 Financial Education Campaigns

We encourage members to participate locally in four national initiatives designed to help bankers share essential financial knowledge in their communities. These programs are available from the ABA Foundation at no charge for GBA member banks regardless of whether they are members of the American Bankers Association (ABA). We’d love for Georgia banks to play a big part in helping reach the goal of providing five million Americans with financial education through these campaigns:

Bankers can register for ABA Foundation programs for up to two years and receive turnkey resources, customer support and ready-to-use promotional and communication materials. Again, there is no cost for banks that register to participate in any of the ABA Foundation programs. Bankers interested in learning more about these programs are invited to join a free informational webinar on Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. ET.


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Don’t Miss This Comprehensive IRA Training! Registration Almost Full

On Dec. 29, 2022, SECURE Act 2.0 was signed into law as part of the federal government’s massive $1.7 trillion year-end spending bill. SECURE Act 2.0 contains numerous changes (90+) affecting both IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans, with some changes – such as the increase in the RMD starting age to age 73 for those who turn 72 after 2022 – effective immediately.


The IRA Merry-Go-Round Seminar, Feb. 7-8 at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, will include the training you need to understand the impact SECURE Act 2.0 will have on your customers.

  • Increase in RMD starting age (73 beginning in 2023, transitioning to age 75)

  • Reduction of the 50% excess accumulation penalty for RMD failures

  • Roth contributions for SEP and SIMPLE IRA arrangements

  • Expanded opportunities for Qualified Charitable Distributions

  • Federal matching contributions for qualified savers (IRA and employer-sponsored plans)

  • Significantly increased SIMPLE IRA employer funding opportunities

  • New penalty exceptions for early distributions (including domestic abuse, terminal illness, and disaster recovery)

  • Expanded beneficiary distribution options for special needs trusts

  • Significant new/enhanced tax credits for small business plans

Get all the details and register here.


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Feb. 8-10, Savannah

Big Crowd Set to Attend Ops/Tech Conference in Two Weeks

Join your peers in Savannah for The Operations and Technology Conference this year. It’s less than two weeks away. Click here to view the all-star agenda, and click here to register. Thanks to the GBA Operations and Technology Committee, led by its Chair Tracy NeSmithPlanters First Bank, and Vice Chair Shan VenableAltamaha Bank and Trust Company, for their work on the agenda. For more information and to register, click here. A huge thanks to this year’s silver sponsors, 5iron, Empyrean Solutions, Fiserv and Ncontracts. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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Inclusion Practitioner Tonya Parker Speaking at Two Upcoming Conferences

We are excited to have Tonya Parker join us at both our HR Professionals Institute and Marketing Conference & Creative Workshop this spring. Parker is the Chief Diversity Officer, Dean for Equity & Inclusion and Title IX coordinator for Wesleyan College in Macon, where she serves on the executive leadership team. Parker is a registered Inclusion Practitioner for civil discourse, dialogue facilitations, and DEI workshops. Each presentation will be tailored to the specific DEI issues critical for the respective conference attendees. You can catch her timely presentation by attending either of these conferences:

  • The GBA HR Professionals Institute is March 22-24 at The King & Prince, St. Simons. Click here to see the full agenda and to register.


  • The GBA Marketing Conference & Creative Workshop is March 22-24 at The King & Prince, St. Simons. Get all the details and register here.

With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Feb. 23, Zoom

Aspiring Lenders take Note: Fundamentals of Commercial Lending 101 Webinar

Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. This course presented by Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning, 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. This webinar will be held via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. The recording will be available to registered participants for one month after the live training. Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know. Here’s a message from the speaker:



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Bank Security Conference - April 12-14, The Westin Jekyll Island

Is Your Bank’s Security Program Safe and Sound?

Join us for our annual Bank Security Conference, April 12-14 at The Westin Jekyll Island. Learn from the pros and network with your peers to gain insight and best practices. Planned by GBA’s Security Committee, the conference registration includes a policy and procedures workshop to equip you with everything you need to make sure your program is safe and sound. Click here for details and to register. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Spring Seminars, Middle Georgia State University, Macon

GBA is hosting a variety of one-day seminars taught by the experts you know and trust – register today!

  • Back by popular demand, Mike Allen will present the Personal Cash Flow Seminar, March 29. Through a combination of lecture and casework, participants will learn how to calculate sources and uses of personal cash flow.

  • The Call Reporting Seminar, April 19, presented by Michael GordonMauldin & Jenkins, will equip you with practical techniques and resources to improve your overall call reporting process.

  • Learn what’s needed to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques at the Loan Documentation Seminar, April 26, presented by Mike Allen

  • The fan favorite seminar The Information Security Officer 101 is back on April 27. IT security experts Josh Dasher and Emily StricklandSafe Systems, will take a deep dive into the “why” and “how” of the ISO's role.

With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


Allen Gordon Dasher Strickland


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Rural Development and Lending Conference - May 18-19, The King & Prince, St. Simons

Get the Latest on Georgia Ag Lending at Rural Development and Lending Conference

Bankers involved in any kind of ag lending should sign up for the GBA 2023 Rural Development and Lending Conference May 18-19 at The King & Prince, St. Simons. Agenda sessions will include: a livestock update, ag regulatory update, crop insurance, peanuts and farm bill update and a cotton update. Thanks to the GBA Agricultural Committee, led by its Chair Rachel ThompsonBank of Newington, and Vice Chair Matt RushtonAB&T, for their work on the agenda. For more information and to register, click here. With questions, contact Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.


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State of HMDA, TRID Compliance, Building an IT Strategic Plan and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

  • State of HMDA in 2023 – Jan. 31
    Audience: Loan officers, managers, processors, compliance and fair lending officers, auditors, counsel, and anyone else with HMDA-related responsibilities, including data collection, reporting, analysis, and disclosure.


  • Advanced TRID Compliance – Feb. 2
    Audience: This webinar is designed for consumer real estate loan officers, loan processors, and compliance and audit personnel.




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, 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:


Suwanee - Quantum National Bank

Representatives from Quantum National Bank presented a check for $100,000 to the City of Suwanee’s Art for All campaign at the Suwanee City Council meeting on Jan. 24. The first major contributor to the public art campaign, the bank’s donation will support three signature public art pieces in Town Center on Main, Suwanee’s newest park that is currently under construction. Read more here.



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GBA Newsmakers


Allentown - The Four County Bank

Amy Orr recently retired as president of the bank. Mike Brown is now president and CEO.


Dunwoody - Fifth Third Bank

The bank recently celebrated the opening of its new Dunwoody financial center located on Mt. Vernon Rd. 


Edison - The Bank of Edison

At the bank’s recent annual shareholder meeting, Cole Barfield, James Arnold and Hank Jester were elected to the Board of Directors for the bank as well as its holding company, BOE Bancshares.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

We extend our sympathies to Cordele Market President Jeffrey Hester and Jonathan Hester, the bank's CRA and fair lending officer as well as their family, friends and colleagues for the death of their father, Terry Hester, former executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer of the bank. Until his death, Terry also served on the Board of Directors. Read more here.


Johns Creek - Loyal Trust Bank

Two new members were recently elected to the bank’s Board of Directors, Yimin Yang and Soon Hae Ahn.


Bloomington, MN/St. Petersburg, FL - United Bankers’ Bank (UBB)/ICI Consulting, Inc.

UBB announced its selection of ICI Consulting as an endorsed partner for core processing contract negotiation. Both companies are GBA Associate Members. Read more here.


Macon - James Bates Brannan Groover LLP

Attorney Maggie Martin has joined the law firm’s commercial litigation practice group. Read more here.


Washington, D.C. - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

FDIC recently announced the appointments of two senior leaders within the agency’s Division of Risk Management Supervision. Ryan Billingsley is the FDIC’s new Deputy Director of Capital Markets and Accounting Policy and Lisa Arquette will serve as Deputy Director of Operational Risk. Read more here.


Atlanta - GBA Insurance Trust, Inc. (GBAIT)

The GBAIT Board of Directors named Tessa Nolan Senior Vice President and CFO on Jan. 12.



Terry Hester Yimin Yang Soon Hae Ahn Maggie Martin Tessa Nolan



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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