Oct. 20, 2023  

47th Georgia Peanut Bank Week Highlights

Thank you to our friends at the Georgia Peanut Commission and all the GBA members who worked hard this week to promote the 47th-Annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week. Banks all across the state offered tributes to Georgia’s peanut farm families. To mark the occasion, a number of GBA members offered delicious peanut giveaways, contests and promoted other fun activities throughout the week on social media. Take a look at a few examples below.


Altamaha Bank
& Trust Co.
Bank of Newington Queensborough National
Bank & Trust Co.


BankSouth Georgia First Bank Planters First Bank United National


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Compliance Conference Gets it Going

We’ve got an engaged group of Georgia compliance pros gathered at our annual Compliance Conference. The program began Wednesday and wraps up Friday. Here are a few scenes from the event. Look for a full roundup of the content and more photos next week.



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South Georgia Symposium Delivers Big Program

A record crowd of members gathered last week at Valdosta State University for our annual South Georgia Community Bank Symposium. GBA hosts the event in partnership with the Harley Langdale College of Business Administration. Dr. Karin Hartman, dean of the school, welcomed attendees and gave a quick update about some of the major initiatives to prepare students for careers in banking and business, including success stories about internships. This year’s program kicked off with a unique look at the economy from Dr. Elvan Aktas, professor of finance, Valdosta State University, which included commentary on the effects of the “gig economy” on employment and thoughts on the global economy related to resources and ideology. His forecast was in general alignment with other economists in that a mild recession is likely in the next 12 months. Stewart Thigpen, CEO of Steve H. Powell & Co. shared analysis of credit quality among banks in his company’s portfolio. The trend there is that despite inflation and other market pressures, credit quality continues to be strong for banks. He also noted a number of recent regulatory exam areas of focus and possible friction points for various types of loans including CRE, hotel and mortgage loans. Another interesting session was a look at heirs property and its impact on communities throughout the state. Jasmine Helms and Wanda Strickland from the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center explained how heirs property refers to a home or land that passes through several generations without a legally designated owner, resulting in ownership divided among numerous individuals or entities as tenants in common. The center estimates that Heirs property in Georgia represents $47 billion in "Frozen Equity." The program concluded with an intriguing panel discussion about economic development in the South Georgia region, moderated by Tiffany Holmes, director of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Rural Prosperity. Panelists were Jason Dunn of the Fitzgerald Ben Hill Economic Development Authority, Jana Dyke of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development, and Scott Purvis of Georgia Power. Thanks to Matt Reed of Georgia CEO for coordinating the panel. Thanks also to Valdosta State’s Ellis Heath from the school’s Economics department for serving as master of ceremonies throughout the program and for working with us to coordinate the event. See photos here.


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Leadership GBA BankPAC Golf Classic

Members Swing Away at BankPAC Fundraiser

It was a beautiful day in Forsyth on Wednesday for Leadership GBA’s BankPAC Golf Classic. A capacity crowd of more than 90 members teed it up to raise funds supporting GBA’s advocacy efforts. A special thanks to Leadership GBA Board Chair Kelly Smith, First National Bank of Griffin, for leading the day’s program. Members of the Leadership GBA Board volunteered during the event and the whole board worked hard to make sure it was a great experience for members. “What a spectacular day on the links. We had a tremendous turnout in support of GBA’s important advocacy work, and the event was well-supported by generous sponsorships from member banks and Associate Members. To borrow a little bit of golf terminology, I really appreciate everyone who had a hand in making this year’s tournament a ‘major’ success,” Smith said. See photos here.


After a beautiful day on the golf course, golfers gathered for a reception where the following winners were announced: 

  • First Place Overall: Ryan Floyd, The Piedmont Bank, and Randy Griffin, CSRA Business Lending

  • Second Place Overall: Walker Jordan, Bank of Monticello, and Joel Foster, Raymond James & Associates

  • Third Place Overall: Robert Mize, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, and Cody Shepherd, CSRA Business Lending

  • Putting Contest Winner: Randy Griffin, CSRA Business Lending

  • Longest Drive: Walker Jordan, Bank of Monticello

  • Closest to the Pin: Ben Thaxton, Wipfli



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Emily Doherty

GBA Member Profile

Impactful PPP Experiences and the Five-Minute Rule with Emily Doherty

Emily Doherty’s career in banking began with a stroke of luck. After working in marketing across various industries, she found her calling as director of marketing at Great Oaks Bank in Richmond Hill while searching for a new position due to the pandemic. After the bank finalized its PPP loans, she and her team interviewed small businesses across the state, capturing their stories of how these funds saved their livelihoods. “Hearing firsthand how we, as community bankers, were able to help keep these companies afloat was so impactful,” she said. A member of the GBA Marketing Committee, Doherty says one piece of advice from a former boss has stuck with her throughout the years: "Give five minutes of your time to anyone who asks for it." In our latest GBA Member Profile, she shares about her 30+ year vegetarian lifestyle, competing with herself on her Fitbit app, the cherished morning routine she and her son have kept up for years, and more.


Related: GBA's Marketing Peer Group meeting is Nov. 1. Get details and register here.


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Beige Book

Slow Growth and Labor Market Shifts in Southeast Economy

The latest Beige Book report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta showed that the Southeast's economy experienced a slow growth phase from mid-August through September. Labor markets in the region have loosened, making it easier for employers to find and retain employees, while job candidate quality has improved. However, there are ongoing challenges, notably in the construction sector, where skilled labor shortages have caused project delays. Despite these labor changes, consumer spending appears to be normalizing. Housing affordability concerns persist, with some home builders offering to pay a portion of customers' mortgage interest for two or three years to attract buyers. Read more here.


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Leader Updates

Student Loans, Small Biz Optimism, CPI, Presidential Polls and Ghosts

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

  • Student Loan Debt: The U.S. Department of Education reports more than 1.6 million people in Georgia had federal student loan debt as of June 30, with a collective balance of $70.6 billion. With the pandemic-era grace period for student loans expiring, average Georgia student loan payments are expected to be about $200-$400 a month.


  • Small Business Optimism: NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index fell slightly, remaining below the index’s 49-year average, as it has for 21 consecutive months. Inflation and labor quality were top-of-mind concerns. However, we shared data from a JPMorgan Chase survey that showed more optimism from business leaders.


  • Consumer Price Index: We did a deep dive into recent CPI numbers and shared a detailed chart of adjustments made to all categories of the CPI since March. Food prices are up 3.7% while energy prices are down, -0.5%.


  • Presidential Polls: President Biden trails former President Trump slightly in a poll by prominent political observer Charlie Cook. President Biden leads Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.


  • Boo: Georgia ranks 39th among states for potential ghost sightings, according to one online source. Georgia has 14,795 cemeteries and 393 locations reported as haunted. Last year, there were 1,814 ghost sightings reported here, and 40 paranormal investigations are underway.

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


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2023 BankPAC Campaign Continues Swift Pace

The 2023 BankPAC campaign again enjoyed a successful week which is key to making sure our industry’s voice is heard across federal and state levels of government. Please consider your contributions to the two funds if you have not done so already. You can find the campaign materials on GBA’s website where 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 very much appreciate your participation.


Thanks to the directors, officers, and eligible employees of Ameris Bank, Palmer Proctor, CEO, for their contributions to the GBA FedPAC this week.


With questions, please call GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler at 404.372.7893 or Bo Brannen at 404.731.9886.


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2023 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey Reports are Now Available

In conjunction with Associate Member Pearl Meyer, we are pleased to announce that the 2023 Georgia Banking Compensation Survey reports are now available. The reports allow you to make well-informed business decisions by providing reliable benchmarks based on compensation trends in the banking industry, your bank's asset size, and other market competitors.


This year's survey reports represent:

  • 71 Georgia banks; 202 Southeast-based banks

  • Over 5,800 incumbents reporting in Georgia; over 29,000 incumbents in the Southeast

  • 167 positions reported in Georgia

  • 268 positions reported in the Southeast

  • Policies & Practices Report with data on base salary programs and incentive plans

Pricing for the survey reports:

  • $595 – Participants

  • $1,475 – Non-Participants

Pearl Meyer emailed all participants with instructions for purchasing the 2023 survey reports last week. If your organization did not participate and would like to buy the report or if you have not received a purchase email, please get in touch with Pearl Meyer's Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com.


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2024 Enrollment Now Open!



Enrollment is Now Open for Georgia Banking School April 28 - May 3

Online enrollment is now available for the 2024 session of the Georgia Banking School, which will be April 28 - May 3 in at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. For more than 60 years, the school has developed generations of Georgia bank leaders who shape the industry in our state. It offers everything you want and expect from an investment in banker education, specifically preparing the next generation of bank leaders, building the pool of management-level talent in your bank, and connecting students to the most knowledgeable industry experts and a community of fellow bankers. The Georgia Banking School Board, led by Darron Burnette of Synovus, has been hard at work reviewing the curriculum and planning next year’s session.


Georgia Banking School Details and Enrollment Access Here


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GBA Partner NContracts

Free Webinar: How to Work with Examiners, Oct. 26 @ 2 p.m.

What do examiners really want to see during bank exams? Join former OCC bank examiner Rafael DeLeon from GBA partner NContracts next week as he opens the vault to share stories and answer questions drawing from his past experience during exams. Presenters will dig into topics including:

  • How to build a strong relationship with your examiner

  • The dos and don’ts of compliance documentation, risk management, and effective communication with examiners

  • Examiner pet peeves

  • Best practices for exam prep.

Register today and submit your questions for this can’t-miss webinar. Visit www.ncontracts.com for more info.


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Place your order by Oct. 27!

Make Plans Now to Use GBA’s Holiday Closing Decals in 2024

For more than 30 years, the GBA has been the source for banks to purchase top-quality, thoughtfully designed Holiday Closing Decals, that provide a professional appearance and communicate the federal holiday closings recognized by the Federal Reserve Bank in accordance with FDIC rules. Each set includes 11 unique decals. To place a new order, please contact Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com, or 404.420.2014. GBA Holiday Closing Decals feature:

  • A unique decal for each holiday

  • Large 6"x 9" size to maximize visibility

  • No messy adhesive for easy removal and reapplication

  • All-weather durability.

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Financial Risk Management Conference - Nov. 2-3, Atlanta

Don't Put off Registration any Longer: Two Weeks Away!

Join Georgia bank CFOs and other finance professionals in Atlanta Nov. 2-3 at The Westin Buckhead for the annual GBA 2023 Financial Risk Management Conference, hosted annually by GBA’s Asset/Liability Management Committee under the leadership of Chair Haynes Standard, First State Bank, Wrens, and Vice Chair Holt Redding, South Coast Bank & Trust, Brunswick. Get all the details and register here.


We’d like to thank these Associate Members who are showing their support:

  • Platinum sponsorship: The Baker Group PC

  • Gold sponsorship: Brean Capital LLC and Raymond James & Associates

  • Silver sponsorship: Carr Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors, Empyrean Solutions, FHLBank Atlanta, ServisFirst Bank and Wiplfi LLP.

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Kristen Stogniew

Two Great BSA Programs


BSA Peer Group Winter Session Set for Nov. 28, Virtual

Sign up now for virtual winter session! Grow your BSA network and connect with your peers. Kristen Stogniew will be back to lead the group discussion and registrants can submit industry hot topics during the registration process to ensure those topics are covered. Get all the details and register here. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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

Hotel Block ends Wed., Nov 8 – Make your reservation today!

Registrations are building for the annual GBA 2023 Credit Conference hosted annually by GBA’s Credit Committee under the leadership of Michael Tesler, Ameris Bank, and Vice Chair Rebecca Abraham, Signature Bank of GeorgiaGet all the details and register here. Sessions include:

  • How to Evaluate a Borrower’s Ability to Survive Inflation and Recession, Dev Strischeck, Devon Risk Advisory Group

  • Current Challenges and Opportunities in Commercial Real Estate Credit, Cal Evans, Synovus

  • Ag Update, Will Bentley, Georgia Agribusiness Council

  • How Market Shifts Impact the Foundation of “Banking”, Dave Koch, Abrigo

  • Industry and Regulatory Update: A Chat with Kevin Hagler, Georgia Dept. of Banking & Finance and Joe Brannen, Georgia Bankers Association

  • Economic Update, Roger Tutterow, Kennesaw State University

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 and Wiplfi LLP.

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GBA Associate Member Haberfeld

Under Pressure: Cost of Funds Strategies in a Rising Rate Environment

When rates were at record lows for long periods, the true value of low-cost funding may have faded into the background; however, low-cost core deposits continue to be the driver of long-term franchise value. With rates continuing to rise – the one-year treasury exceeded 4.5% in January of 2023 – the importance of low-cost funding is again at the forefront. To grow low-cost deposits, you must follow a disciplined approach. Read about the four steps the team at GBA Associate Member Haberfeld recommends. Visit www.haberfeld.com to learn more.


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Save the Date!



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Operations & Technology Conference, Feb. 28 - March 1, Savannah

Registration is OPEN!

Join Georgia bank IT and operations professionals in Savannah Feb. 28 - March 1 at The DeSoto, Savannah, hosted annually by GBA’s Operations & Technology Committee under the leadership of Chair, Shan Venable, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia and Vice Chair, Mindy Green, Citizens Community Bank, Hahira. Sessions will include:

  • Fraud

  • Succession Planning

  • Leverage Your Next Core Contract Negotiation, David Saylor, Genesys Technology Group, LLC  

  • Phishing Protection Securing Azure AD with Conditional Access Policies, Eric Delgado, Safe Systems

  • Conversational AI and How to Leverage the Prompt

  • Evolving Expectations – The Next Digital Wave, Matt Herren, CSI

  • And More!

Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know.


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Save the Date – Registration Opening Soon!

IRA Merry-Go-Round, Feb.6-7, MGSU in Macon

IRA professionals, mark your calendars! GBA’s IRA Merry-Go-Round will be Feb. 6 – Feb. 7, 2024 in Macon at Middle Georgia State University. Facilitated by Loni Porta, Director of Education, Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, anyone even remotely involved in IRAs will benefit from this intensive 2-day seminar. Look for registration details soon. Contact Aimee Corcoran with questions, 404.420.2035.


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The Future of the Cyber Fiduciary, Making IT an Asset, HR Basics for Supervisors 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 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.


Save Big in Q4 with GBA Partner BankTalentHQ

Navigating the challenges of talent acquisition and retention is a daily task for banks. Beginning Oct. 1, bank employers can take advantage of 20% off a single 30-day job posting package with GBA partner BankTalentHQ. See the promo offer below for more information. Why post with BankTalentHQ?

  • Tailored Audience: The platform caters specifically to banking professionals, ensuring that your job post reaches the right people.

  • High Visibility: Partnering with 40 state banking associations across the country and the American Bankers Association, BankTalentHQ works collaboratively to promote your postings and attract talent to the industry.

  • Easy-to-use: With its user-friendly platform, posting a job and tracking applicants is easy.

To redeem your savings, visit www.banktalenthq.com, create an employer profile, and enter the code SAVE20BTHQ at checkout. Or, if you would like to set up a meeting with a member of the BankTalentHQ team to learn more, please email info@banktalenthq.com.




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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 - BankSouth

The bank recently hosted an Atlanta Customer Appreciation Event.


Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

Bank team members recently participated in the Girl Scouts Day of Service event.


Blairsville - Pinnacle Bank

The bank’s Blairsville branch employees recently promoted Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention by wearing pink.


Blairsville - River City Bank

The bank recently presented a sponsorship check to the local Union County team of U11 UFA “Wolfpack” Academy Girls Soccer.


The bank also recently hosted a Blairsville Customer Appreciation Tailgate.


Dublin - The Citizens Bank of Cochran & Community Bank of Dublin-Laurens County

The bank supported the inaugural Laurens County Bass Fishing Tournament by donating merchandise to be raffled off.


Additionally, bank team members also participated in the Dublin Chili Cook Off and Fall Festival at the “Red Hot Chili Bankers”


Hahira - Citizens Community Bank

Bank team members attended Hahira Elementary School’s Trick the Track event, where they handed out candy to over 700 PBIS Good Behavior students.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank was the popcorn and drink sponsor for the recent Movie Night event hosted by the Hawkinsville Chamber of Commerce, Family Connection and Broad Street Baptist Church.


Additionally, SVP Consumer Lender Bobbie Clemons was one of the volunteers at the Pulaski Tomorrow annual golf tournament fundraiser. The bank also donated swag items for the golfers


Bank team members also delivered letters for the military forces and civilians at Robins AFB to the traveling mailbox at Hawkinsville City Hall.


Lawrenceville - Georgia Banking Company

Last week, the bank donated office furniture to a local non-profit, Special Kneads and Treats, Inc.


Perry - SunMark Community Bank

The bank participated in the Perry Kiwanis Club and Georgia National Fair Farm City Days Parade.


The bank also sponsored the Sheriff Cullen Talton Golf Outing, with all proceeds benefiting the Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes, a residential care program that helps children who have been abandoned, neglected and abused.


Reidsville - Reidsville Bank (Division of Glennville Bank)

Reidsville Bank recently participated in the Tattnall Kiwanis Pumpkin patch event.


Thomasville - TC Federal Bank

SVP, Head of HR & Marketing Jami Lindgren Porter and Anna Vick visited Brookwood School to present the administration with an original watercolor piece depicting of Flowers Hall, a symbol of the school's history. The artist, Anna Vick, is the daughter of VP, Commercial Banker Kevin Vick, and both are alumni of the school. The painting was commissioned by the bank to be featured in its annual ad for the Brookwood Athletic Program.


Vidalia - Georgia First Bank

The bank hosted a popcorn bar at the recent Greater Vidalia Chamber of Commerce Expo.


Waycross - First Southern Bank

The bank hosted the First Southern Bank Halftime Challenge during the Ware County vs. Bradwell Institute high school football game. Easton Spikes was the successful kicker and a $100 winner, and all proceeds raised in this event are donated to Ware County High School Athletics.


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GBA Newsmakers


Atlanta - Ameris Bank

Sophia Goddard has joined the bank as end user services manager. Kate Williams has joined the bank as business marketing coordinator. Robbie Stinespring has joined the bank as a mortgage banker.


Atlanta - Truist

SVP, Head of Treasury Technology Jasmine Grant received the 2023 Woman of the Year in Engineering award from Women in Technology (WIT). Read more here.


Cleveland - Apex Banking Company of Georgia

The bank recently held a grand opening ribbon cutting for its new branch at the intersection of Appalachian Parkway and Parkway Plaza in Cleveland.


Columbus - Synovus Bank

IT Manager Scott Reynolds received the 2023 Build Her Up award from Women in Technology (WIT). Read more here.


Milledgeville - Exchange Bank

The bank’s New Horizons Travel Club recently completed a trip to Mackinac Island. Read more here.


Pooler - Great Oaks Bank

The bank received awards for 2023 Best Mortgage Originator and Best Teller/Officer from the readers of Pooler Magazine.


Rome - River City Bank

Matt Robbins has joined the bank as executive vice president, Chief Banking Officer. Read more here. Rachel Harris has joined the bank as vice president, director of Treasury Management Services. Read more here. Terri Ainsworth has joined the bank as vice president, mortgage loan officer. Read more here.




Sophia Goddard Kate Williams Robbie Stinespring Jasmine Grant Apex Banking Company
of Georgia
Scott Reynolds



Exchange Bank Great Oaks Bank Matt Robbins Rachel Harris Terri Ainsworth



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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