July 7, 2023  

Leadership Conference Set to Make a Splash

Over 400 members and their families are set to gather next week for GBA’s annual Leadership Conference in Ponte Vedra, FL. Built for our member banks’ emerging leaders, the agenda features educational sessions, time with exhibitors, informal networking opportunities and relaxation time with friends and families. Sessions will include topics ranging from the economy, fraud prevention, a CEO panel conversation, a coaching session on building and competing with culture, and closing speaker Ross Bernstein, a best-selling sports author who discusses the common leadership traits of champion athletes and how you can recognize and develop those traits in yourself and those you lead. A hearty shout-out to the GBA Associate Members who are providing tremendous support through sponsorship:

  • Presenting Sponsors: American Bankers Association; Aubrey Thrasher; CSRA Business Lending; and Point to Point Environmental

  • Platinum Sponsors: Anthem and Safe Systems, Inc.

  • Gold Sponsors: CRS Data; FHLBank Atlanta; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; First National Bankers Bank (FNBB); and ServisFirst Bank

  • Silver Sponsors: The Holmes Shaw Agency; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks &  Co., LLC; Troutman Pepper; and Wipfli.

Questions regarding the conference? Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad.


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Georgia Trend Features Member Bankers

This month’s edition of Georgia Trend magazine has a nice feature on how bankers serve their communities. The importance of relationship banking was a point made by most of those interviewed. Kelly Stone, president and CEO, and Perry White, vice president and commercial lending officer at Community Bank of Georgia, Baxley, discussed their local market and how the bank is expanding to other markets through loan production offices. White, a member of GBA’s Agriculture Committee, talked about how a personal relationship with a third-generation hardware store owner morphed into a business relationship. Stephen Lewis, market president of First National Bank of Coffee County, Douglas, discussed the importance of one-on-one knowledge of customers’ businesses, especially agriculture producers, a focus of his and the bank’s. Colony Bank’s CEO Heath Fountain and Chief Innovation Officer Christian Ruppe pointed out that innovation is not just about technology but internal processes that could be changed to improve customer’s experience. Wells Fargo’s South Central Regional Bank director Chad Gregory discussed his bank’s focus on philanthropy, volunteerism and relationships with entities such as UGA’s Small Business Development Center and the Georgia Council on Economic Education to help serve their entrepreneurial clients and equip teachers with tools to teach financial literacy. The takeaway is that Georgia’s bankers stand ready to serve the needs of individuals, families and businesses in their communities. Click here to read the article.


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Robert Duvall

GBA Member Profile

All Hands on Deck Helping Customers Through the Pandemic with Robert Duvall

For Robert Duvall, first vice president/branch manager at Bank of Madison, the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic was a period that required nothing less than the best from local bankers. “Many employees went above and beyond to assure our customers that our bank was there to support and help get them through this difficult time,” he said. “It was important for us to show our customers we cared, and it was rewarding to see the gratitude our community had.” The At Large member of the Leadership GBA Board of Directors returned to his hometown of Madison to join the bank after college, and in addition to his career in banking, he also runs a beef cattle business with his dad on the family farm. He discusses his start in banking, the Golden Rule that has shaped his professional style, his biggest pet peeve and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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Bill Introduced to Help Small Banks Raise Capital

There’s a bill we’re watching with interest that was recently introduced in the U.S. Congress. H.R. 4346, would raise the threshold for small bank holding companies from $3 billion to $10 billion. Raising the threshold would allow more banks to operate at higher debt levels, which can enable them to raise less-expensive capital. The bill would not change capital rules or regulations for subsidiary banks. Read the bill here.


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Leader Updates

Broadband, Clean Transit, A Closer Look at CFPB Complaints, Frozen Peaches

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

  • Broadband Update: Georgia’s allocation of the latest broadband infrastructure support grants ranked 9th at $1.3 billion. This latest funding comes from Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program. We detailed $23.6 billion in additional grants previously awarded and provided a map of access to high-speed internet in Georgia.


  • Clean Transit: We also noted a $22.2 million grant from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act for Georgia State University to buy electric buses and charging equipment to replace older diesel buses.


  • Context on CFPB Complaints: The CFPB was out last week with its annual report on customer complaints. While it listed Georgia as the top state per capita for complaints, there’s some important context that’s worth sharing. Most of those complaints were not about banks at all. More than 81% of the complaints were about credit or consumer reporting companies like Equifax. And only 6% of the complaints were about bank products such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and mortgage loans.


  • Frozen Peaches: Georgia’s peach crop suffered a devastating freeze in March, and last week USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack came through and issued a natural disaster declaration for several Georgia counties related to the March freezes. The declaration covers 18 primary counties and 38 contiguous counties. Get more details here.

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


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Attention Attorneys!

Status of Important Cases - July 2023

The ABA Newsbytes Banking Docket for July 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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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 and 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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Advertising Opportunity

GBA Membership Directory Taking Shape

GBA and our publishing partner E&M Consulting are gathering data for the 2023-2024 Georgia Bank Directory. The publication will be available in print and digital formats. E&M continues to manage advertising sales and layout/graphic design. This is a great opportunity for GBA Associate Members to secure additional promotion and exposure. If you have any questions or want to advertise, please contact an E&M sales associate at 800-572-0011 ext. 8005 or advertising@eandmsales.com. As always, your support is greatly appreciated.


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Women in Banking Conference – A Cool Way to End Your Summer

We’ve got a great program coming up to refresh your professional and personal mindset as summer winds down. GBA’s Women in Banking Conference is coming up Aug. 10-11 at the lovely Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. We’ve got a strong crowd of almost 100 members registered, but if your bank or company isn’t represented, there’s still room for you. The agenda features sessions including economic development, managing generational differences, a session on prioritizing your mental health and how that benefits those around you, an executive leadership panel featuring three veteran bankers as they share lessons learned about work/life balance, and a mini-workshop on boosting your personal effectiveness and communication skills. Exceptional professional development, informal networking time and a beautiful location merge to make this one of GBA’s most highly anticipated events of the year. A big shout out to these generous Associate Members supporting the WiB Conference through sponsorship:

  • Platinum Sponsors: BHG Financial; Southern Bank Equipment & ATMs

  • Gold Sponsor: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC

  • Silver Sponsors: Abram Armored; Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; Elliott Davis; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins LLC; and Troutman Pepper.

Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions about the conference. 


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Reminder: Complimentary GBA Member Decals Available by Request

We have heard recently from a few GBA member banks needing additional GBA member decals to display on the doors and drive-through windows at their branches. If your bank needs additional decals for new locations, or to replace torn or faded decals, please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com, and we’ll be happy to send you some more.


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Sign Up Today!



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Andy Keusal

Lending Training

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.

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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.


Registration Now Open!

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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Peer Networking at Its Best! Discussion-Rich Roundtable and Open Q&As

Compliance Conference & HMDA Workshop, Oct. 18-20, Jekyll Island

Planned by GBA’s Compliance Committee, led by Chair Tabitha White, First State Bank of Blakley, and Vice Chair Lindsay Holloway, The Four County Bank, the Compliance Conference program is packed with chances to learn from your peers. Discussion-rich roundtables around common compliance findings, solutions, resource needs and availability and management expectations will give you the insight you need to strengthen your skills as compliance professionals. In addition, Q&A opportunities are available throughout the conference for deeper insight into what other banks are doing or should be doing to prevent findings and enforcement actions. Secure your spot today and register here. We’d like to thank 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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GBA Partner Dart Appraisal Offers the Best Custom Appraisal Management Solutions

GBA-endorsed Dart Appraisal is committed to blending state-of-the-art technology and first-class service to deliver honest valuations quickly. And, you retain the ability to use your bank’s preferred appraisal panel. GBA wants to ensure you and your mortgage customers can easily get to closing, and the GBA believes Dart Appraisal can help you do that. They offer a complete selection of commercial and residential appraisal products and a variety of alternate valuation solutions, including Fannie Mae’s new Value Acceptance + Property Data product. With questions, please contact John LaBriola at jlabriola@dartappraisal.com. Dart Appraisal is a nationwide, independently owned and operated Appraisal Management Company with offices in Cobb County, GA.


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Registration Open!

Financial Risk Management Conference - Nov 2-3, The Westin Buckhead Atlanta

Planned by the GBA’s Asset/Liability Management Committee, the conference sessions will include:

  • Economic Update - Ryan Hayhurst, The Baker Group

  • Panel discussion around Funding Alternatives

  • ALM & Liquidity Panel

  • Examinations Panel Discussion

  • Loan Pricing and Hedging in the Current Environment - Ed Kofman, SouthState Bank

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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Marketing Resource

How to Find Other Georgia Bank Marketing Peers for Solutions

If you’re looking for a quick way to get some feedback about a particular marketing challenge or need help with finding resources, join the GBA Marketing Peer Group page on Facebook. One topic this week has been tips for getting ads approved by Meta when they’re incorrectly flagged by the algorithm as credit opportunities or other policy violations. The specific question was, “For people doing social media marketing and boosting posts on Facebook and Instagram, are you having a hard time getting ads approved by Meta,” followed by a more detailed description of the member’s frustrating experience. Several members have chimed in with helpful tips. This bankers-only resource is an outgrowth of feedback from GBA's Marketing Committee.


Click here to access the group page and request membership if you’re not already part of the community.


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Roger Tutterow

Registration Open!

Credit Conference - Nov. 30 - Dec. 1, The Westin Buckhead Atlanta

Planned by the GBA’s Credit Committee, the 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

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 Questions of The Week


Question: For a bank's privacy notice, is the bank's holding company considered an affiliate?


Answer: Reg P defines an affiliate as follows: "(1) Affiliate means any company that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with another company." Because the holding company has "control," it is an affiliate. That said, you'd only need to list the affiliate (including holding companies) with whom you share information. If you do not share information with the holding company, it does not need to be listed, but if you are sharing information, it should be listed on your privacy notice. Read more here.


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

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Real-life Success Stories from GBAIT Wellness Partner

GBA Insurance Trust’s wellbeing partner, SentryHealth, is making a difference in people’s lives. Read two real stories of success here. The GBA Insurance Trust provides health insurance and wellness plans for employees and their families at member companies. If you need one-on-one support, members participating in the Trust have access to covered virtual appointments with mental health care professionals and a variety of other health professionals, such as registered dieticians and personal trainers, through SentryHealth. 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 mysentryhealth.com or on the MySentryHealth app, available on the App Store or Google Play.


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Creating Your Teller Training Program, Robbery Basics & Beyond, Deposit Operations and 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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Registration Opening Soon!



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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:


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Bank team members recently read to children at the Hart County Library.


Perry - Planters First Bank

The bank participated in the Perry Patriot Parade during last weekend’s Independence Day Celebration.

Perry - SunMark Community Bank

The bank recently donated $700 to Jay's HOPE Foundation, which improves the quality of life of children with cancer and their families in Georgia.


Additionally, the bank participated in the Perry Independence Day Celebration.


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GBA Newsmakers


Albany - AB&T

Maggie Lewis has been promoted to bank officer.


Atlanta - Hyperion Bank

The bank has named Toni Hughes, CRCM, as EVP and compliance department manager; Carlos Laverde as senior vice president and relationship manager; and Bill Young as vice president and director of technology services. Read more here.


Blairsville - River City Bank

Kathy Kozak has joined the bank team as a universal banker in its Blairsville office


Cordele - Planters First Bank

Commercial Administrative Assistant Rene Connor has retired after 46 years of service in the banking industry.


Gray - Exchange Bank

Barbara Merritt has been promoted to assistant vice president. Read more here.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Derek Shelnutt has been appointed executive vice president and CFO, effective July 1. Shelnutt has served as senior vice president, chief accounting officer and acting CFO of the bank since January. He will continue to serve as senior vice president and chief accounting officer of Colony Bankcorp. Also, Colony Bankcorp and Colony Bank CEO T. Heath Fountain will remain acting CFO of the bank holding company. Read more here.


Greensboro - Century Bank and Trust

Senior Vice President Ed Sowell has retired after 12 years with the bank and many more years as a banker.


Greenville, SC - United Community Bank

United Community Banks Inc. recently completed its acquisition of First Miami Bancorp. Read more here (subscription required).


Gwinnett/Duluth - BankSouth Mortgage

Stephen Hester has joined the BankSouth Mortgage as a loan officer.


Gwinnett - Oconee State Bank

Gwinnett Community President Joe Godfrey was recently inducted as president of the Rotary Club of Gwinnett. Read more here. Additionally, Kevin Jones has joined the bank as vice president, retail sales and business development. Read more here.


Newington - Bank of Newington

The bank was named Effingham County’s Most Fabulous Bank for the third consecutive year by Effingham Living Magazine.


Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank

Sherry Aziz has joined the bank as vice president and director, human resources. Read more here.



Maggie Lewis Kathy Kozak Rene Connor Barbara Merritt Derek Shelnutt Ed Sowell


Stephen Hester Joe Godfrey Kevin Jones Bank of Newington Sherry Aziz



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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