May 26, 2023  

Credit Committee Checks in on Market Conditions, Program Planning

With the Fed continuing its rate increase campaign to tamp down inflation and a lot of headline banking news this year, the GBA Credit Committee had plenty to cover during its meeting this week at GBA’s offices. Committee members shared credit and overall business trends in markets throughout the state. Some of the major trends they noted include managing customer expectations on loan renewals as rates are going up, credit quality is generally holding up, and in some markets economic development success is stressing housing affordability, labor availability, education resources and infrastructure. Some members expressed an increased focus on attracting and retaining deposits, while others had seen deposit balances grow recently. And, loan demand and appetite for new loans among members was mixed. Incoming committee Chair Michael Tesler, Ameris Bank, and incoming vice chair Rebecca Abraham, Signature Bank of Georgia, led the committee’s work to begin planning the annual Credit Conference, which will be Nov. 30 - Dec. 1 at the Westin Buckhead in Atlanta. Thanks to committee Chair Wade Johnson, Durden Banking Company, for his leadership, as his term is winding down. Be on the lookout for details about the conference program and registration access in the coming weeks. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau, 404.420.2034.



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RDLC Conference Confidential

It was an honor to have Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper kick off the GBA Rural Development and Lending Conference last week. Commissioner Harper’s message and details about how the department’s work affects the lives of every Georgian, every day, was the perfect stage setter for the rest of the conference. In addition to the work on the well-known Georgia Grown products, he mentioned the department does all sorts of less recognized work, including regulation and calibration of gas pumps and ensuring the numbered balls used in the Georgia Lottery are consistently weighted to ensure a fair draw. Commodity, crop and ag economic updates are critical for the member bankers in attendance who serve the state’s ag-related businesses and rural markets, and the program hit all those marks. Brian Bolt of Clemson University shared a beef industry overview. Peanuts were covered by Marshall Lamb of the USDA/ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory. Mike Giles of the Georgia Poultry Federation shared details on the poultry industry and efforts to combat avian flu. Shane Stephens of StaplCotn covered the evolving cotton industry and Roger Cryan from the American Farm Bureau gave and ag economy talk. The program also featured an overview of regulation affecting rural and ag-related banking by Stewart Thigpen of Steve H. Powell & Company, a crop insurance outlook from Plenn Hunnicutt, details on a new meat and poultry producer loan fund and rural-focused new market tax credits by CSRA Business Lending’s Randy Griffin (read the related story below) , and a banking industry and advocacy update by GBA’s Joe Brannen. Congratulations to GBA’s Agriculture Committee, led by Chair Rachel Thompson of Bank of Newington and Vice Chair Matt Rushton of AB&T, for putting together such a strong program. Thanks to sponsors CSRA Business Lending and Point to Point Environmental for their support. With questions, contact GBA’s Alison Moreau.



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Randy Griffin

Nation’s First USDA Meat and Poultry Intermediary Facility Loan Made in Georgia

CSRA Business Lending recently closed the nation’s first USDA Meat and Poultry Intermediary Loan. The funds will be used to renovate and add 12,000 square feet to 920 Cattle in Millen. Read more about the project here. This is one of the deals being funded by the new Georgia Meat and Poultry Revolving Loan Fund that CSRA’s Randy Griffin outlined at the Rural Development and Lending Conference. The loan fund was made possible by an initial $15 million grant from the USDA. CSRA Business Lending worked in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business and Cooperative Service, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Bankers Association Ag Committee, to become one of 15 entities in the nation selected to operate this new program targeted at launching more beef, pork, and poultry processing facilities domestically. Access a full guide to the Georgia Meat and Poultry Revolving Loan Fund here.


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Check Fraud Stays in Spotlight

Awareness and consumer education about fraud prevention is always a good thing, so it was nice to see continued media focus on the issue this week. The Wall Street Journal Thursday published an article about check fraud with some common-sense tips for its readers to limit their risk. There’s a local angle, as the article references David Maimon, a professor at Georgia State University who is a check-fraud expert and directs the University’s Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group. Among the tips are for people to consider alternate payment channels for transactions, check their accounts daily, use pens with gel ink and avoid sending your checks from your home mailbox or USPS blue box. If you’ve got a subscription, you can read the story here.


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Protecting Your Bank from Check Fraud: When to Obtain a GBA Thumbprint Signature

Despite continuous developments in the technology to safeguard our money, we unfortunately continue to hear about regular cases of check fraud among our membership. It’s still happening at banks big and small. Your bank can lower the odds of being affected by participating in GBA’s Thumbprint Signature Program. The program was designed to deter check fraud by collecting a thumbprint “signature” from non-customers when cashing checks. A thumbprint signature should be obtained when:

  • A non-customer presents an on-us or not-on-us check for cashing. (This includes employees of commercial account customers who present payroll checks drawn on the bank

  • A non-customer presents an on-us check for exchange to a cashier’s check.

  • A non-customer presents a government check for cashing.

To learn more about participating in the Thumbprint Signature Program, contact GBA’s Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


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Host-State Loan-to-Deposit Ratios Set

Federal bank regulatory agencies have issued the host-state loan-to-deposit ratios used to evaluate compliance with a law designed to ensure that interstate bank branches will not take deposits from a community without the bank also reasonably helping to meet the credit needs of that community. Georgia’s host-state ratio is 76%, up one percentage point from last year. In general, a bank looking to establish a branch in Georgia must have a loan-to-deposit ratio for the state of at least half the published host-state ratio. Read more details here.


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Sofia Aun

Member Profile

Serving Intentionally with Sofia Aun

Truist’s Community Affairs Manager and Government Affairs Liaison Sofia Aun learned a valuable lesson from one of her mentors, Doug Shipman, who is now the Atlanta City Council president. During a meeting, they were discussing her community service, and at the time, Aun was serving in eight different leadership positions for local boards and organizations. “He looked at me and said ‘you’re doing too much. You need to cut back and only do half of this.’ I was floored because I thought I was doing a great job, and he asked me ‘can you honestly say you’re giving 100% to every one of these organizations? When you stretch yourself so thin, it’s not helping anyone - yourself, your community, or others. You need to serve intentionally,’” she said. An At Large member of GBA’s Public Affairs Committee, Aun shares about how she puts this intentionality into practice in her career and personal life, what she learned while working with her parents at their dental office in Dahlonega while in high school and college, and much more in the latest GBA Member Profile.


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Leader Updates

Early Presidential Poll, Fed Regulatory Focus, Mental Health

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

  • Presidential Politics: We shared an early poll with some insight into Georgia voter mindset about possible presidential matchups.


  • Fed Regulatory Priorities: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman was candid with members earlier this month when we met her in Washington, D.C. She noted the headline bank closures this year will inform exams. She said to expect questions about deposit trends, diversity of contingency funding plans and funding sources. We also shared highlights from the Fed’s Supervision and Regulation Report.


  • Mental Health Month: May has been designated as mental health awareness month since 1949. We reminded GBA Insurance Trust members that as part of their benefits, SentryHealth (formerly Wellview) provides members with access to mental health services without cost or copays. Of course, mental health coverage is available similar to all other medical coverage through your health insurance plan.

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


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Last Chance to Register!

Inaugural BSA Peer Group Meeting, Virtual Session, May 31

Join GBA's BSA Summit lead facilitator, Kristen Stogniew, for our first BSA Peer Group meeting. We will be focusing on the account opening process and enhanced due diligence. Registrants can also submit industry hot topics during the registration process to discuss during the meeting. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Still Time to Participate in The Georgia Banking Compensation Survey

An extended due date for reporting salary data will be announced next week, but we encourage everyone to send that in ASAP. The comprehensive report that will be available later this summer contains detailed data on base salaries, salary ranges, short-term and long-term incentives, total cash compensation, and total compensation. Also, the in-depth policies and practices portion of the report includes information on salary increases, merit increases, structure adjustments, outsourcing, turnover and recruiting.


The survey schedule:

  • Survey Submission Due Date: May 26, 2023 (extended due date to be announced next week)

  • Survey Results Published: Week of Aug. 14, 2023

There's plenty of incentive to participate. Save more than 60% off the price of the survey by contributing. The cost is $595 for survey participants and $1,475 for non-participants. To get started with data submission, please contact Rhonda Snyder at


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Don’t Miss President/CEO, Bank Accountant, Bank Counsel Conferences

Georgia’s only President/CEO-level concurrent conferences focused specifically on top-management skill-building, intelligence sharing and connections, will be Sept. 24-26 at the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District. The President/CEO Conference is planned and hosted by the GBA Community Bankers Committee and features sessions relevant for attendees of all three conferences. The Bank Accountant and Bank Counsel Conferences are planned and hosted by the GBA Bank Accountants Section Board and the Bank Counsel Section Board, respectively. Each agenda has sessions tailored to address the unique needs of those peers. Be sure your bank or firm is represented!  A detailed agenda is coming soon. Click here to reserve your space and for hotel information. GBA’s room block is getting full, so reserve your room now. Thank you to our event sponsors: American Bankers Association (ABA); Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors; EBS; Elliott Davis; Fenimore Kay Harrison LLP; FHLBank Atlanta; First National Bankers Bank; James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Nichols, Cauley & Associates, LLC; ServisFirst Bank - Correspondent Division; Symphona; Troutman Pepper; and Warren Averett, LLC. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


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Explore What Choice in Debit Looks Like with GBA Partner Discover Debit

A robust debit card portfolio can help you generate more revenue right now. Has your bank’s debit card program been on autopilot for too long? VISA and MasterCard will likely fight to keep your business, but Discover Debit wants to invest in your bank, your customers and your community. Recently-introduced cardholder benefits like credit monitoring and dark web monitoring backed by Experian® mean customers can feel more secure with their new debit card. By implementing Discover’s debit card program, you will also realize an immediate impact on your interchange income and expense. Discover® Debit is the only program that delivers superior economics, simplified rules, fee transparency and unmatched program flexibility. To find out more, contact Brian Harbin,, 678.325.9910.


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Registration Now Open!

Compliance Conference and HMDA Workshop - Oct 18-20, Jekyll Island

Your program, your choice!  Planned by GBA’s Compliance Committee, the GBA Compliance Conference has two components this year. First is our pre-conference workshop, led by Brad Washburn, president at Steve H. Powell & Company, will focus solely on HMDA reporting.  The traditional conference follows. 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. We’d like to thank these GBA associate members who are showing their support through sponsorship – Platinum: Steve H. Powell & Company and Silver: Mauldin & Jenkins, Ncontracts, Troutman Pepper and Compliance Alliance. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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IntraFi® Assetpoint® Connects Buyers and Sellers of Bank Assets

IntraFi® Assetpoint® is a single point that connects buyers and sellers of bank assets locally, regionally and nationally. IntraFi Assetpoint can help you build valuable connections by providing personal introductions to banks that have identified themselves as having complementary loan interests. Learn more about loan purchase programs below that can help you meet your balance sheet and profitability goals.

IntraFi Assetpoint is brought to you by IntraFi® Network. Contact Danny Capitel, 703.292.3476, to learn more.


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ISO's Role, Creating Exceptional Customer Service, TRID Hot Spots 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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Save the Date!



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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:


Albany - Georgia Community Bank

The bank hosted an Albany Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event at its Albany branch on May 18.


Athens - BankSouth

BankSouth and BankSouth Mortgage recently tabled at the Athens Area Association of Realtors’ Annual picnic and business partner expo.


Atlanta - Truist

On May 19, Truist Foundation announced a $1 million grant to Emory University’s Goizueta Business School’s Start:ME Accelerator program, the largest gift in the program’s 10-year history. Start:ME is a free, 14-week accelerator training program aimed at supporting small businesses in underserved communities in Atlanta. Read more here.


Cornelia - Traditions Bank, a division of Rabun County Bank

The bank held a Customer Appreciation Day event on May 19.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

The bank delivered donuts to Coast-to-Coast Medical Transportation in honor of EMS Appreciation Week.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank spoke to Heart Homes in Hawkinsville residents about savings, credit history, tips on avoiding identity theft and valuable information about consumer protection for older adults.


Metter - Pineland Bank

The bank awarded Smith Dekle and Brooks Longgrear its Metter Junior Board Scholarship.


Sandersville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company

The bank’s Washington County Youth Advisory Board made and gave baskets to each child at First Love Kids filled with things to help them through the summer like snacks, learning aids and crafts.



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GBA Newsmakers


Alma - Pineland Bank

Chief Credit Officer Thomas V. Bennett and Information Security Officer Lorie Bennett Hyers were elected to the South Banking Company and Pineland Bank Board of Directors during the annual shareholders meeting for South Banking Company on April 24. Read more here.


Atlanta - Metro City Bank

Bank President and CEO Farid Tan was recently named to the FDIC’s Minority Depository Institutions Subcommittee to the Advisory Committee on Community Banking. Read more here.


Atlanta - Piedmont Bank

The bank announced it will expand its operations in North Fulton County with a new branch opening at Avalon, located at 2775 Old Milton Parkway, Suite 100, in Alpharetta. Greg Tyre, the current Forsyth market president will relocate to lead the bank’s efforts in the Alpharetta area at the new Avalon branch when it opens this summer. With Tyre moving to the new branch, Taylor Watson will assume the role of Market President of the Forsyth market.


Boston, GA - Barwick Banking Company

The bank recently hosted a ribbon cutting for its new Boston branch.


Calhoun - North Georgia National Bank

Amy Collier has been appointed senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer. Read more here.


Cleveland, GA - Apex Banking Company of Georgia

The bank broke ground on a new building in Cleveland on May 18. Located at the corner of the Jessie Mae Thurmond Connector and Parkway Plaza, the building is scheduled for completion in 2025. Apex will have a temporary building on site to serve customers during construction. Read more here.


Milledgeville - Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company

Shawn Mercer has joined Queensborough Investments as vice president and wealth planner in its Milledgeville market. Read more here.


Monroe - Legacy State Bank

The bank recently opened a new loan production office in Monroe. Keith Prather will lead the office as Monroe market president.


Perry - Planters First Bank

W.D. "Dey" Palmer IV has joined the bank as Perry market president. Read more here.


Richmond Hill - Great Oaks Bank

Charlie Lovering, Jr. has joined the bank as senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer. Read more here.



Thomas Bennett Lorie Bennett Hyers Farid Tan Barwick Banking Company Amy Collier


Apex Banking Company of Georgia Shawn Mercer Legacy State Bank Dey Palmer Charlie Lovering, Jr.



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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