March 17, 2023  

David Oliver on WSB-TV

Keeping Tabs, Consulting with Members, Reassuring the Public

It’s sure been an active week of engagement with members, policymakers, elected officials and media.  We devoted significant resources to analyzing and understanding the effects of the closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, New York, as well as the government’s actions to protect depositors and stabilize markets. Our main goals were to make sure members had the best and most current information, take in and share helpful resources and be a vocal public advocate for the overall stability of Georgia’s banking industry. In his leader email Monday, Joe Brannen covered the full scope of weekend’s developments and shared all the resources available at that time. We also developed, updated and distributed a special Resource Guide for members and did a TV interview with Atlanta’s WSB-TV. Conversations with members included check ins on their operations, understanding possible local exposure to the closed banks, ideas for resources to maximize deposit protection if needed, analysis of the Fed’s actions and more. Our advocacy team was in regular communication with state and federal elected officials to provide them with the latest information, as well. We’ll continue to communicate news and information as it is available. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, David Oliver or Elizabeth Chandler.


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Advocacy in Action

Camilla Rotary Gets Timely Banking Update

We appreciated being the guest of Planters and Citizens Bank board member and Camilla Rotary Club President David Cooper at the club's meeting Thursday. It was a timely opportunity to be in front of local business leaders and residents to explain how Georgia’s banking system remains stable. As the bank closures last week were top-of-mind to the Rotarians, GBA’s Joe Brannen shared data about how Georgia’s banks are performing well and have more diversified deposit and business portfolios than the banks that were closed. And, he explained how the root cause of the closures were unique circumstances and how actions taken by regulators served to protect depositors. Brannen also noted some key bank advocacy and business priorities important to these customers and business leaders. Pictured are Planters and Citizens Bank Director David Cooper, Lender Vance Green, Chairman Jud Vann, President and CEO Susan Moss and Bank of Camilla's Mitch Bernier and Brannen. 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. 


Joe Brannen presents about the
banking industry to the Camilla
Rotary Club
Bankers at the meeting included
Mitch Bernier, David Cooper,
Susan Moss, Jud Vann
Vance Green


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General Assembly Counting Down to Sine Die

The Georgia General Assembly was in session Monday through Thursday this week completing Day 35 of their 40-Day session. Bills GBA is following saw action in committees and had floor votes. Be looking for this week’s Legislative Update Friday with news of an amendment we added to exempt banks from door-to-door sales restrictions, what GBA President Joe Brannen said when testifying before the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, and why we’re feeling good about where things stand with the major bills we’re following. The 2022 session is slated to end Wednesday, March 29. With questions about the session, contact GBA’s EVP for Government Relations and Advocacy Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.


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Jay Rajaee

GBA Member Profile

Lessons from the Construction Business and Seeing Customers through a Crisis

United Community Bank Chief Security Officer Jay Rajaee had his very first work experience at a construction company in the eighth grade, and he learned two lessons he still thinks about today: “(1) There is tremendous value and reward in physical labor, and (2) I should not be allowed to use demolition tools without supervision,” he said. Rajaee, a member of GBA’s Security Committee, shares the valuable advice he received early on his career about making your presence felt at your company, the joy in a customer’s voice after seeing them through a business email compromise situation, his hobby of fly fishing and more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


Related: Less than a month away!

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

Be sure to secure your spot at this year’s Bank Security Conference. Planned by GBA’s Security Committee, this year’s agenda is packed with the tools and knowledge needed to sharpen your skills as your bank’s security professional. Programming covers the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends, and good ideas for practitioners. Content includes security officer roles and responsibilities, cybersecurity and technology trends, fraud, and ATM security. This conference is planned for bank security officers and staff at all levels as well as anyone with security responsibilities at the bank. Click here for details and to register. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Last chance to register!

HR Professionals Institute, March 22-24, King & Prince, St. Simons
Details and registration access here


Last chance to register!

Marketing Conference and Creative Workshop, March 22-24
Details and registration access here


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Mike Allen

Lenders, Credit Analysts, & Underwriters – Don’t miss out!

Fan-Favorite Cash Flow and Loan Doc Seminars Coming Up Soon

Mike Allen, a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School with more than 40 years of industry experience, is presenting two fan-favorite seminars this spring. Get more info and register today for these seminars at Middle Georgia State University in Macon:

  • Personal Cash Flow Seminar - March 29 - Less than one week left for discounted pricing!
    Back by popular demand, Allen will cover the A-Zs of how to analyze personal cash flow and personal tax returns. This training will assist those bankers who originate loans as well as credit analysts and underwriters who want to get a clear picture of a guarantor’s cash flow to support loan requests.


  • Loan Documentation Seminar - April 26
    Learn the fine art of perfecting loan documentation for your institution at this seminar. Allen will share the secrets of what’s needed to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques.

With questions about either seminar, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Commercial Lenders & 1071: What You Need to Know Today

By Alesha Briley, CMCP, NContracts


If you’ve gone to any banking conferences or webinars lately, you know that 1071, also known as Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act about new data collection and reporting on small businesses is top of mind for commercial bankers. While the CFPB isn’t likely to release its final rule until March 31, that hasn’t stopped bankers from speculating about its impact. It was a big topic at our recent Compliance Peer Group meeting. GBA Associate Member NContracts has been tracking 1071 since June 2022--studying the proposal and reading through other relevant materials, including industry comment letters and expert opinions. In Briley’s article linked below, she shares some of the most common questions bankers are asking. Click here to read the full article. With questions, contact Rashida Holmes, 615.653.3244.


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Call Report Seminar, Middle Georgia State University, Macon

Sign up for our next Call Report Seminar, April 19, which will be presented by Mauldin & Jenkins’ experts, Michael Gordon, Nicole Cunningham and Bill Curtis. These experts will equip you with practical techniques and resources to improve your overall call reporting process. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


Michael Gordon Nicole
Bill Curtis


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Ten Red Flags to Help Identify Check Fraud from GBA Partner Abrigo

According to the FBI, losses from check fraud total $18 billion annually. That staggering statistic represents approximately 500 million checks, more than a million daily. Let’s be honest, sometimes traditional crimes persist, and in the case of check fraud, continue in a big way. On Feb. 27, FinCEN issued an alert to banks on the nationwide surge in check fraud schemes targeting the U.S. Mail since the COVID-19 pandemic. Why is check fraud still so prevalent when most consumers have moved away from check writing? FinCEN and the United States Postal Inspection Service have identified ten red flags to help banks detect, prevent, and report suspicious activity connected to mail-related check fraud. GBA partner Abrigo recently published an insightful blog post for a closer examination of those red flags. With questions, contact Laura Wahl, 919.906.5649.


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Information Security Officer Seminar, Middle Georgia State University, Macon

Join us for the Information Security Officer seminar on April 27 to get the knowledge you need to ensure your ISO responsibilities cover what the examiners are expecting. Learn from IT security experts Josh Dasher and Emily Strickland, Safe Systems, as they take a deep dive into managing risks and strengthening controls. Thank you to our sponsor, Safe Systems. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


Josh Dasher Emily Strickland


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Georgia Banks Receive $52,510 in Distributions from American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd

$97.3 Million Has Been Declared in Total Distributions Since 1991


American Bankers Mutual Insurance, Ltd., the reinsurer for the directors and officers (D&O), bond and cyber insurance program endorsed by the GBA, declared its annual distribution to be shared by qualified Georgia banks insured through ABA Insurance Services (ABAIS). This is the 33rd consecutive year that the industry’s leading professional liability and bond insurance provider has declared distributions to eligible banks. Georgia banks can access the ABAIS program directly, through your bank’s insurance agent. Additionally, GBA has always helped those banks who either don't have a local agent/broker or who don't want to go direct to the carrier by suggesting an agent who has experience in this specialized line of business. Our recommended agent is unaffiliated with ABA Insurance Services, nor is he exclusive to them. If you'd like more information, please contact Paul Halloran 404.423.4970. Contact Patricia Williams, 410.960.6878, if you’re not part of the ABAIS program and want to learn more.


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Support the Leadership Conference through Sponsorship or Exhibiting

A great crowd is building for our annual Leadership Conference, July 10-12, at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedra, FL. We’re really excited about the tremendous support being shown through sponsorship and exhibiting by our Associate Members, Strategic Partners, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant members. If this is an important target audience for your company, we encourage you to act now to reserve your sponsorship opportunity or exhibit booth. The relaxed conference atmosphere and easily navigable venue make it very conducive to networking and relationship-building for sponsors and exhibitors alike. Exhibit booths are set up in the general session room, making connections with attendees unforced and more natural. Click here to reserve your exhibit booth or sponsorship. Don’t forget to book your hotel soon, as this is a popular conference and summertime is the busiest time for resort properties. A hearty thank-you to our confirmed supporters: Presenting Sponsors: 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; ServisFirst Bank; Steve H. Powell & Company; Silver Sponsors: Holmes Shaw Agency - A Member of the PointeNorth Insurance Group; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., Inc.; Troutman Pepper and Wipfli. With questions, contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad, 404.420.2024.


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GBA Strategic Partner FMS Helps Banks Become Brands

Branding helps banks be themselves without compromise, differentiate from thousands of others, build sustainable relationships and be wildly successful. This has been the pursuit of GBA partner FMS for a long time. FMS is a group of strategists and creative thinkers who serve banks, and only banks. The brands and other projects they endeavor to create are unique, crafted with care, personal devotion and obvious passion. Creativity is critically important to them, but their work also has to be strategic or it’s just marketing fluff. FMS knows that a solid brand will enable banks to create truly unique experiences with their customers and maximize marketing dollars. Their work is custom-created for your bank, because your bank is like no other. Check out their brand work online here. For more information, contact Sean Hockenbery, 615.591.2073.


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Avoiding Check Fraud Liability, ACH Basics, New Compliance Officer Training 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,, and David Oliver,, or if your company would like to sponsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Blairsville - River City Bank

The bank’s Blairsville office recently donated money pouches to all of the students at Union County Elementary School to help teach the children to save.


Donalsonville - Georgia Community Bank

The bank recently contributed $75,000 to Donalsonville Hospital through the Georgia HEART Hospital Program in the largest Georgia HEART donation the hospital has received since the program’s inception in 2017. Read more here.


Dublin - Morris Bank

The bank recently presented a check for $3,739.22 to J.O.Y. Foods in Dublin, along with donated items to help restock their shelves. These donations were collected and raised during the annual Shamrock Your Ride event, hosted by the bank.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

The bank recently provided Putnam General Hospital with a $25,000 check to help offset losses incurred by poverty-stricken patients. The bank contributed through the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, which was created in 2016 due to the increasing number of rural hospital closures since 2008. Read more here.


Richmond Hill - Great Oaks Bank

The bank is hosting a Free Community Shred Day April 21 from 9-11 a.m. at its Richmond Hill office located at 42 Town Center Drive. Read more here.



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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Remer Brinson has been promoted to state president. Elizabeth Dobers has joined the bank as managing director of business banking.


Atlanta - Signature Bank of Georgia

The bank issued a strong press release and email statement to customers affirming its safety and soundness to avoid any confusion with the New York bank with a similar name that was closed by regulators. Read the release here.


Elberton - Pinnacle Bank

Dee Cook has joined the bank as vice president and business banker.


Rome - Greater Community Bank

Liz Kelly has been promoted to BSA/OFAC/red flag officer. Read more here.


Rome - River City Bank

The bank’s Blairsville office received the Business of the Quarter Award from the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. Greg Spiva has joined the bank team as IT manager supporting bank locations. Wealth Advisor and Senior Vice President David Tomlin received the Rome Floyd Chamber's Ambassador of the Year Award at its recent Annual Meeting. Brittany Ely has joined the bank as client services associate.


Statesboro - Morris Bank

Faren Rushing has been promoted to mortgage loan originator.


Suwanee - HomeTrust Bank

Our sympathies to Georgia Market President Bryan Cohen, his family and friends of the death of Bryan’s wife, Arlene, this week.


Warner Robins - Planters First Bank

The bank is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of its new office at 361 South Houston Lake Rd in Warner Robins from 4-6 p.m. on March 23.


Watkinsville - BankSouth

Susan Bogardus has joined the bank as market president for the Watkinsville market.



Remer Brinson Elizabeth Dobers Dee Cook Liz Kelly River City Bank Blairsville



Greg Spiva David Tomlin Brittany Ely Faren Rushing Susan Bogardus



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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