July 28, 2023  

Security, Marketing and HR Committees Meet

A trio of our volunteer committees gathered this week to share the latest trends affecting their areas within their banks and to plan their programming for the year. Here’s a roundup.


Security Committee – Fraud and Physical Security Take Precedence

The committee, led by Chair Melissa Dasher, SouthState Bank, met by Zoom conference Tuesday. Fraud mitigation is a major challenge for all. Also taking center stage in the discussion were the need for various approaches for ensuring customer and team member safety at their banks. Of note, a number of members shared the challenge of addressing mental health challenges and de-escalating interactions with irate customers or team members. New committee members welcomed were Vance Green of Planters & Citizens Bank; Amanda Cobb of Affinity Bank. The committee made good progress on lining up a strong agenda for the 2024 Bank Security Conference that will be April 20-22 at the King & Prince on St. Simons. Stay tuned for registration and detailed program information.


Marketing Committee – AI Tools, Deposit Competition, Measuring ROI

There’s fierce competition in the marketing space these days related to attracting and retaining deposits. Marketers continue to look for unique ways to promote their rates as well as long-term relationship value to clients once they win new business. The committee, led by Chair Haley Barnes, BankSouth Mortgage, also discussed a variety of new AI-related tools available to them, discussed the challenges of measuring return on investment for campaigns and sponsorships and compared notes on search engine optimization strategies. We also welcomed new committee members Heather Mead of Georgia First Bank and Russ Schoper of CashTrans. Also in the works is a fall Peer Group Meeting, date and location to be announced. The 2024 GBA Marketing Conference will be March 20-22 at the Westin Jekyll Island. Registration and program details coming soon.


HR Committee – Talent, Development and Succession Planning on Minds of HR Pros

Talent retention and recruitment, staff development, succession planning, compensation trends and workplace culture were among the variety of topics the committee discussed during their meeting Thursday in Macon. Committee Chair Lance Whitley of Colony Bank led the meeting. New members welcomed were Jesse Ledford, Rabun County Bank; Cheryl Winfrey, Bank of Dudley; Mary Ellen Levie, American Pride Bank; and Abbie Snow Robbins, Bank of Newington. The 2024 HR Professionals Institute will be March 20-22 at the Westin Jekyll Island. Registration and program details coming soon.


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GBA, Others Urge Strong Regulatory Oversight for Stablecoin

We’ve joined other state bankers associations and the ABA in raising concerns about a draft bill in the U.S. House Financial Services Committee related to the regulation of stablecoin. The main thrust of the proposal is for state banking regulators to approve and supervise stablecoin issuers with no federal oversight. In a letter to the committee leadership, we share our concern that the proposed regulatory regime is insufficient to mitigate the risks to financial stability and consumer protection posed by stablecoins, and it could lead to charter shopping for the most lenient supervisory environment. A better path would be for the same level of Federal oversight to be applied to state-licensed stablecoin issuers as is currently applied to state-chartered banks in order to limit the risk of charter arbitrage, the letter says. Read the full letter here.


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FDIC Reminder for Correct Reporting of Uninsured Deposits

This week, the FDIC reminded banks that deposits that are above FDIC insurance limits but collateralized by assets pledged as collateral, such as securities, are still required to be reported as uninsured deposits. The collateral, in and of itself, has no bearing on the portion of a deposit that is covered by federal deposit insurance, the FDIC said. The rule applies only to banks with $1 billion in assets or more. Banks below that threshold do not report estimated uninsured deposits. Read the letter here. Collateralized or otherwise protected deposits and whether that coverage should change the treatment of these deposits are among the issues expected to be considered as part of an overall deposit insurance reform package should Congress choose to open that debate.


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Georgia Peanut Bank Week – Oct. 16-20

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

GBA and our friends at the Georgia Peanut Commission 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, maddie@gapeanuts.com, 229.326.0141.

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Leader Updates

Surprise, Tightening Lending Standards, Elder Abuse Reporting & Training, Check Warranty Breach Claims

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

  • Surprise. We shared a positive chart recently posted from Citi’s U.S. Economic Surprise Index, a snapshot of how the economy is doing compared to what economists and others expected it to be. Citi’s Surprise Index just reached its highest level in two years, which is better than expected.


  • Tightening Lending Standards. In an earlier email, we commented on the Fed’s Quarterly Senior Lending Officer survey reporting lending standards continue to be more restrictive among the banks surveyed. That’s the result the Fed hoped for as it raised rates to cool the economy and bring inflation down. We shared a chart out from Axios last week tracking each of the consumer lending categories and the percentage of those surveyed who reported tightening standards.


  • Elder Abuse Reporting & Training. At the recent Leadership Conference, Morris Bank’s Pete Stuart gave real-life examples of bankers playing critical roles in reporting and helping stop elder abuse. After the session, several attendees asked about the free training program Pete recommended. It’s called the Certified At-Risk Adult Crime Tactics Specialist (CACTS) class and is offered virtually and in person. We shared a schedule of upcoming classes.


  • Check Warranty Breach Claims. We shared a link to the ABA Check Fraud Claim Directory now available to all banks. There's no cost and there's no requirement for ABA membership. GBA participated in an industry working group that helped develop the tool. This tool is based on the “I’ll help you if you’ll help me” concept. Banks participating in the check fraud program will agree to provide contact information along with documentation you require to respond to a claim filed by another bank. In return, participants get full access to the directory.

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


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Tripp Cofield

GBA Staff Profile

Asking Questions, an Almost 2,000-day Exercise Streak and More with Tripp Cofield

Many members have gotten to know new GBA Insurance Trust, Inc., Paragon Benefits, Inc., and GBA Retirement Services, Inc. President and CEO Tripp Cofield over the past six months, and introducing himself to the membership is Cofield’s cup of tea. “I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them, so our members can definitely expect a talker who asks lots of questions. I’m likely to ask for feedback about the products and services we offer through GBA Insurance Trust and GBA Retirement Services, as our team is always looking for ways to serve our membership better,” he said. The Valdosta native shares about his weight-loss journey and incredible daily exercise streak for the past five years, his love of family experiences and sports, discovering Ted Lasso during the pandemic and much more in his GBA Staff Profile. For more information about GBAIT, GBARS and Paragon Benefits, contact Cofield at tcofield@gabankers.com or 617.909.9530.


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2023 BankPAC Campaign Still Gaining Ground

Support for the 2023 BankPAC campaign continued this week, and we are thankful for all the contributions we are seeing for this year’s efforts. Materials were mailed to CEOs a few weeks ago and can also be found on GBA’s website. 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 meet next week to organize a calling plan to encourage more participation in this critical effort for Georgia’s banking industry. Help us secure a seat at the table with our congressional delegation, members of the Georgia General Assembly and statewide elected officials by contributing today.


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

  • Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia, Brent Sammons, president and CEO

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

  • First National Bank, Bainbridge, Brad Barber, president and CEO

  • First State Bank of Randolph County, Cuthbert, Scott Curry, president and CEO

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

  • South Georgia Banking Company, Tifton, Glenn Willis, CEO

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

  • Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia, Brent Sammons, president and CEO

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

  • F&M Bank, Washington, Ed Pope, president and CEO

  • Georgia First Bank, Soperton, Maury Beasley, president and CEO

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

  • South Georgia Banking Company, Tifton, Glenn Willis, CEO

With question, 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

Tee Off and Support a Good Cause

Are you a banker who loves to golf? Or maybe you just want to spend a beautiful fall day outside with your fellow bankers, directors, co-workers or legislators? Then you won't want to miss the 2023 Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic! This annual event is a great way to entertain customers, prospects or team members, and all proceeds go to the GBA StatePAC*. So whether you're a serious golfer or a weekend warrior, come out and support this important cause. Here's what you need to know:

  • 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

  • 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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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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Coming Next Month!

It’s Not Too Early to Order the 2023 Georgia Bank Compensation Report

The results of GBA’s Bank Compensation Survey, conducted by GBA Associate Member Pearl Meyer, will be available next month, so don’t wait to order 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 rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com 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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Customized for Georgia Law

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

A unique feature of our Opening New Accounts Seminar is that you can bring your bank’s signature cards, account agreements, resolutions and disclosures for thorough review. With a focus on documentation and compliance, this full-day seminar, customized to Georgia state law, teaches essential new account opening procedures, best practices, and compliance requirements.  It answers complex questions asked by customers and staff while focusing on vital information for every new account type. Join Suzie Jones of Training Resources Consulting and network with your peers for this fan favorite seminar. 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

GBA is excited to welcome Shannon Fortson, EVP, Chief Credit Officer of Pinnacle Bank, as the new leader for our Loan Documentation Seminar. Prevention of loan losses is crucial and begins with 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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Compliance Conference and HMDA Workshop - Oct 18-20, Jekyll Island

GBA’s Compliance Committee invites you to attend our annual Compliance Conference at the Westin, Jekyll Island. This year’s program has two components with an optional pre-conference workshop focused on HMDA. The conference lineup features a Washington update, findings from recent reviews, enforcement actions, compliance leadership, and more! Attendees have the option to register for the workshop and conference, conference only or workshop only. Click here for all the details and to register.


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.

With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Financial Risk Management Conference

Economic Outlook and Regulatory Experience Sessions in Spotlight

Registration is open for the 2023 Financial Risk Management Conference, Nov. 2-3 at The Westin Buckhead Atlanta. Hosted annually by the 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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Sign Up Today!



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

Evans on CRE, Tutterow on the Economy among All-Star Lineup

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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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: Are banks required to give all housing-related applications a second review before taking adverse action?


Answer: There is no explicit requirement under the fair lending group of laws and regulations to perform a second review for adverse action. However, the ECOA / Reg. B offers a method of privileged self-testing to ensure financial institutions can self-identify and self-correct potential fair lending violations. Read more here. The FDIC Fair Lending Manual discusses the differences in self-tests and self-evaluations 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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Registration Now Open!

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

Registration is now open for GBA’s BSA Summit in Peachtree City at the Hilton Conference Center, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1. Facilitated by Kristen Stogniew, 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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GBA Partner Abrigo Offers New AI-driven Banking Intelligence

GBA partner Abrigo recently announced a big upgrade to their Abrigo Connect banking intelligence solution. Abrigo Connect now includes new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to help bankers make strategic and operational decisions. The Abrigo Connect platform curates relevant information to quickly deliver intuitive and actionable dashboards across lending, credit risk, financial crime management, enterprise risk and banking operations. These dashboards give bankers insights into institutional performance, opportunities for growth and employee efficiency. Abrigo Connect features a new user interface powered by ThoughtSpot Everywhere. It uses AI, GPT-3.5, and natural language search capabilities so bankers can find their data using the words they speak daily – improving the speed and quality of results. Learn more about the new Abrigo Connect at abrigo.com/software/abrigo-connect/. Contact Laura Wahl at laura.wahl@abrigo.com or 919.906.5649 with questions.



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Save the Date!



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Artificial Intelligence in Banking, IRA Update, Financial Statement Mapping, and More

Here’s a sampling of upcoming webinars.

Supervisor Training Spotlight

HR Basics for Supervisors, New Supervisor Essentials, When to Coach, When to Supervise, and More

Here’s a sampling of on demand webinars to help managers and supervisors.

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:


Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

Interns Cara Brownlee, Jordan Dozier and Olana Jebel represented the bank during the Atlanta Business League’s Money Basics - Financial Independence Training. They shared financial independence tips with over 20 students from the ABL Student Business Shadow Project.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Every third Thursday, the Bainbridge Salvation Army hosts Supper on Scott, where bank team members hand out dinner plates to those in need of food. Jaden Bush, Elva McNair, Brandi Dean, Bree Maxwell, Janalyn McLendon, Marquita Kinder and Stacy Warren from the bank volunteered.


The bank also honored new teachers in Decatur County with lunch and giveaways to start orientation off right.


Brunswick - Southeastern Bank

The bank recently created the Edward R. Gray, Jr. Memorial Scholarship at the College of Coastal Georgia in honor of Gray’s work and strong support of education. Gray served as chairman and CEO of Southeastern Bank (formerly The Darien Bank) from 1959 to his passing in 1997 at the age of 70. Read more here.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

The bank provided goodies for the local new teacher orientation to help them get started on the right foot.


Johns Creek - American Commerce Bank

The bank is presenting a four-part Financial Literacy course to the participants in Family Promise of North Fulton/Dekalb covering topics from the basics of managing your finances to budgeting to rebuilding your credit.


Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia

The bank enjoyed a creative afternoon of team building and supported The Splatter Studio, a unique local business in Sandy Springs.


Watkinsville - BankSouth

The bank recently hosted an ice cream social and was recognized for volunteer efforts during ESP’s Friend Fridays.



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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Georgia Banking Company

Sean Mabey has joined the bank as director of core banking. Read more here.


Claxton - The Claxton Bank

This week 50 years ago, Emmitt Daniel joined the bank board of directors, where he is still serving today. The anniversary was featured in The Claxton Enterprise.


Dalton - Builtwell Bank

Trey Watkins has joined the bank team as business relationship banker in its Dalton market.


Lake Oconee/Greensboro - BankSouth

Sarah Peacock has rejoined the bank team as vice president, business development officer for the Lake Oconee/Greensboro market.


Perry - Planters First Bank

Elizabeth Padgett has joined the bank team as a universal banker in its Perry banking center.


Seneca, SC - Oconee Federal Savings & Loan Association

Hartsville, SC-based Mutual Savings Bank agreed to merge with and into Oconee Federal Savings and Loan Association, with the latter as the surviving entity. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023 or the first quarter of 2024, subject to certain conditions, including approvals from Mutual Savings Bank's depositors and other customary regulatory approvals.


Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

The bank recently announced the promotion of three people to the executive management team. Melinda Moore has been elected to serve as Chief Administrative Officer. Victor Pires has been named executive vice president and Chief Retail Banking Officer. Sebrina Sweeney, executive vice president, has been named Chief Risk Officer. Read more here.



Sean Mabey Emmitt Daniel Trey Watkins


Sarah Peacock Elizabeth Padgett South Georgia Banking Company



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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