Jan. 19, 2024  

Legislative Forum & Reception

Last Call! Save Your Seat Now for Next Wednesday’s Legislative Event

With the Iowa caucuses behind us and the New Hampshire primary coming up on Tuesday, political analyst and expert John Ashford, The Hawthorn Group, will have plenty of insights and information to share when he speaks at our Legislative and Economic Forum Jan. 24 at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta. Attendees will also get a Georgia banking update from Georgia Department of Banking and Finance Commissioner Kevin Hagler, and an inside look at Georgia’s economic picture from Commissioner Pat Wilson from the Georgia Department of Economic Development. House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration is the latest speaker to be added to the lineup. Seats are still available for GBA’s biggest one-day event of the year. Click here for details and to register. The forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the reception from 6-7:30 p.m. A big thank-you to our event sponsors: BDS Yarmouth & Choate; BHG Financial; EBS Strategies; FHLBank Atlanta; Olsen Palmer, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division. Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.


John Ashford Kevin Hagler Pat Wilson Chuck Efstration


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General Assembly Update

Budget Hearings Took Center Stage This Week

The Georgia General Assembly has been in recess this week as it held budget hearings for revisions to the 2024 fiscal year budget and developing a 2025 budget. House and Senate Committee assignments carry over from last year, and here’s a link to all of the committees for each chamber. The General Assembly is slated to go back in session Jan. 22, and we will publish our next Legislative Update the end of that week. Follow legislation we’re monitoring at our State Issues page on gabankers.com.


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CFPB Proposes Sweeping Overdraft Rule

The CFPB this week proposed a rule that would significantly alter banks’ ability to offer overdraft services. The provisions in the rule would apply Regulation Z to overdraft fees at banks and credit unions with assets over $10 billion, unless the fees are at or below break-even costs to the institution. There would be two ways to determine cost: the institution could calculate its own based on standards proposed by the bureau, or it could use a benchmark fee set by CFPB. Comments were sought on proposed benchmarks of $3, $6, $7 or $14. Institutions would also have to disclose APR if using the Reg. Z pathway. And the bureau proposed a Reg. E amendment related to restricting certain preauthorized electronic fund transfers. “Simplified, this is just an attempt by CFPB to set a price cap on overdraft services or to make overdrafts impossible for banks to offer,” said Joe Brannen, GBA president and CEO. “While it’s aimed at the midsize and larger banks CFPB is statutorily authorized to oversee, the agency said it was considering ways to apply the restrictions to all banks and credit unions. If the proposal is adopted, consumers will be forced to seek less-regulated, more costly alternatives.” Read the proposal and other resources here. Comments are due April 1. We’ll be working with members and our colleagues nationally on a response. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027, or Bo Brannen, 404.420.2014.


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Beige Book

Inflation Slows, Lending up, but Overall Growth Slow

A sharp decline in inflation from previous periods was reflected in the feedback from businesses and consumers in the Southeast says the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book economic report out this week. Overall lending increased, primarily from a bump in multifamily and home equity loans. Those were the headline positive trends noted. The report said overall economic growth in the region was slow from mid-November through December. Stresses included muted transportation activity, falling office occupancy rates and slightly slower manufacturing activity.


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Leader Updates

MALPB; Interchange Meeting, Primaries and Economic Sentiment

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

  • Merchant Acquirer Limited Purpose Bank (MALPB): Fiserv has announced it has applied for this special purpose charter, authorized by the Georgia General Assembly in 2012. The MALPB charter has essentially one purpose: to allow direct access to payment card networks without having a bank as a BIN sponsor. We shared details and background.


  • Interchange: We re-capped the meeting last week called by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Carden Summers among all the stakeholders to discuss the idea proposed by the merchants that financial institutions be prohibited from charging interchange on the sales tax portion of card transactions. We also shared a copy of Joe Brannen’s remarks opposing the legislation.


  • Primaries: The National Journal ran an interesting comparison of historical results from past seven Iowa and New Hampshire Republican Primaries. The winner of the New Hampshire primaries has gone on to win the nomination in five of the past seven election cycles, and the past three in a row.


  • Economy: There are varied opinions about the state of the economy and the outlook for growth. One member-bank survey of middle-market businesses shows a pretty even three-way split among those optimistic, pessimistic and neutral. Another survey, however, leans more positive overall, with about half expecting an improved economy.

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


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Kristen Stogniew

Last chance to register – earn your CAFP, CRCM, and CERP credits!

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

This year’s summit has been approved for 24.75 CAFP, 24.75 CRCM, and 11 CERP credits. Organized and facilitated by Kristen Stogniew, Esq., CFE, Saltmarsh, Cleaveland and Gund, attendees can expect a deep dive into the world of BSA compliance through a variety of sessions led by industry experts. See the full agenda here.


Join us in beautiful Peachtree City at the Hilton Conference Center, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1. Get all the details and register here.


Thank you to our silver sponsor, Mauldin & Jenkins CPAs and Advisors.


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Patrice Konarik

A Word from Patrice

IRA Merry-Go-Round In-Person Training, Feb. 6-7, MGSU, Macon

Facilitated by Loni Porta, director of education, Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, anyone even remotely involved in IRAs will benefit from this intensive in-person training. Porta comes highly recommended as an in-person instructor by Patrice Konarik, who is no longer doing in-person IRA training. Here is what Patrice has to say about Loni Porta.

Hello, my fellow IRA banker friends in Georgia. My name is Patrice Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. You may remember me from my 28 years of providing live IRA training seminars in Georgia through the Georgia Bankers Association. As many of you may know, I sold the live training part of my business to my friends and associates at Convergent RPS last year. I had several companies who were interested in purchasing my company, but I wanted to hand it off to an organization who would maintain the high quality of IRA training I have provided over the years.


I have had a wonderful partnership with Convergent RPS for the last 8 years marketing their IRAstuff.com web portal and consulting services. They were always my support system when I had an IRA question. Loni Porta, who is scheduled to provide the training in Georgia this year is very much an IRA expert. We became fast friends when we met last year because of our similar philosophies on presenting complicated IRA material in a way that can be understood. I am very excited you will get to meet her this year. I’m looking forward to hearing how much you enjoy her training style like bankers in the other states have mentioned to me. Have a great class and Happy New Year.

Get details and register here.


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GBA’s Bank Record Retention Guide is Now Online

Featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, by Carl Pry

The GBA is proud to offer members the GBA’s Guide to Bank Record Retention, featuring Bank Record Retention Quick Notes©, by Carl Pry. It is designed to be a fast and easy-to-use reference for the most common types of customer records questions in a completely online format. Please note we do not have printed copies available for purchase. This guide is intended to help develop a simple, yet complete and understandable record retention program for your bank.


The Quick Notes© refer to federal or general industry practices in six broad topic areas: General; Deposits and Operations; Loans; Securities; Human Resources; and Tax. They also contain the available requirements of FinCEN, CFPB, OCC, NACHA, IRS, SEC, FDIC, FRB and other relevant state agencies.


Including over 75 recent changes, the current edition is streamlined to assist bankers at every level. Additions include new independent sections on both Trusts & Estates and Audit as well as numerous other updates throughout. We hope that you will find this to be a valuable resource to help your bank. Please contact GBA’s Bo Brannen at bbrannen@gabankers.com, to place an order.


Pricing (does not include sales tax)

  • One user - $125

  • Up to five simultaneous users - $495

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Free Webinar with GBA Partner Abrigo Jan. 30 @ 2 p.m.

The Check Fraud Ecosystem: Fraudulent Checks and Their Complexities

Fraudulent checks pose multifaceted threats to your bank, including fraud loss, operational complexities, and heightened vulnerability to additional scams. As check fraud evolves, detecting and preventing it in financial institutions becomes more challenging. Join Abrigo, a GBA Strategic Partner, for a session focusing on the impact of check fraud and the risks of financial loss, reputational damage, and compromised customer trust.


Key Takeaways:

  • Check fraud trends and the rise in total fraud dollars

  • The connection between check fraud and other fraudulent activities

  • Strategies to combat check fraud.

This live webinar is eligible for 1 CFCS credit, and 1.25 CRCM, CERP, and CAFP credits. Click here to register.


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Georgia BankPAC Sporting Clays Tournament Just Three Weeks Away

Our annual fundraising event for the Georgia BankPAC* is just three weeks away. There’s still room to sign up to shoot at this fun event, Feb. 8, at Old Hudson Plantation in Sparta. Event registration includes 100 targets, cart, one mulligan, an entry into the cotton ball drop contest and a delicious barbecue lunch. There are registration options for four-person teams, individual shooters and sponsorships. If you don’t have a team put together, that’s OK. You may go ahead and sign up and let us know your teammates closer to the shoot. Click here for more details and to register.


A big shout-out to our event sponsors: Banc Card of America; Bank of Madison; Cash Transactions LLC “CashTrans”; CSRA Business Lending; Farmers and Merchants Bank; FHLBank Atlanta; First Carolina Bank; First State Bank; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Northeast Georgia Bank; Peach State Bank & Trust; Pinnacle Bank; Point to Point Environmental; Safe Systems; and Steve H. Powell & Company.


Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions. If you’re a golfer and enjoy supporting the Georgia BankPAC, block your calendar for the Georgia BankPAC Golf Classic, Oct. 16 in Forsyth!


* The GBA StatePAC contributes only to candidates running for state-level office 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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Elizabeth Madlem

GBA Partner Compliance Alliance

'An Ill Wind that Blows No Good:' Economic Headwinds and Asset and Liability Management

By Elizabeth Madlem, Vice President Compliance Operations and Deputy General Counsel

Banks are facing ALM headwinds on account of burgeoning non-performing assets, corporate malfeasance, a slowdown in the economy, and a mismatch between the maturity profile of assets and liabilities. Severe liquidity strains caused the failures of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank. It is now critical for banks to assess the three pillars within an ALM program to include: ALM Information Systems, ALM Organization and ALM Processes. These pillars address the four key components examiners test on: board and senior management oversight policies, procedures, and risk limits; management information systems; and internal controls and audit. How do banks get there? Read more from Madlem’s article for some helpful insight.


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2024 Banking Benefits and HR Policies Survey Now Open

In partnership with GBA partner Pearl Meyer, we are pleased to announce that the 2024 Banking Benefits and HR Policies Survey questionnaire is available now. If you have not received your participation email, please contact Rhonda Snyder at rhonda.snyder@pearlmeyer.com.


Key Dates and Pricing:

  • Survey Effective Date:  Jan. 1

  • Submission Due Date:  March 8

  • Survey Results Published:  May 13

  • The price for the results of the survey is $695 for participants.

This survey covers the following topics:

  • PTO programs, vacation, sick days, holidays, etc.

  • Health (medical, dental, vision) and wellness plans

  • Flexible spending accounts

  • Short and long-term disability benefits

  • Life insurance

  • Retirement plans (401(k), ESOP, defined benefit plans, etc.)

  • Work life benefits

  • Retiree benefits

  • Payroll and organization costs

  • Work from home practices.

As in prior years, the survey will include a designated section to collect and report information on “Bank Executive” Benefits and Perquisites. Please note: Only participants who complete the Bank Executive Benefits & Perquisites Section will have access to this portion of the survey report. To make your survey submission process easier, those who participated in the last Banking Benefits and Human Resources Policies Survey will be provided access to a printable version of their previous survey responses.


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Zach Duke

Conversational AI – Best Practices and Risk Mitigation Strategies

Ops/Tech Conference, Feb. 28 - March 1, Savannah

Conversational AI is changing the way we work. Zach Duke, Finosec, will review best practices for risk mitigation of Conversational AI, explore strategic, low-risk implementation areas, and solutions for documentation and governance. Click here to take a look at the full agenda. This conference is hosted annually by GBA’s Operations & Technology Committee under the leadership of Chair Shan Venable, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, and Vice Chair Mindy Green, Citizens Community Bank. Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know.


Thank you to our generous Associate Members who are supporting this conference through sponsorship. Platinum Sponsor: Liberty Technology. Gold Sponsor: Wolf & Company, P.C. Silver Sponsor: Ncontracts.


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Convenient Training for New Lenders

Commercial Lending Training – Webinars


Breaking into Banking 101 – Fundamentals of Commercial Banking, Thursday, Feb. 22

Commercial banking can be intimidating because of its complexity and the risk-oriented nature of the work. This course is a clear and thorough introduction to the key concepts, terminology, and processes involved in credit and lending. It doesn’t assume much prior knowledge of the topic, so it’s ideal for those in their first year in the industry. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of their job and how their specific role fits into the bank’s overall profitability goals. Click here to register.


Breaking into Banking 201 – Analyzing Repayment Sources, Wednesday, March 27

This 9-module online course is a “sequel” to the 101 course 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: analyzing a borrower’s balance sheet, income statement, collateral, and risk ratings. Click here to register.


Both are presented by Andy Keusal, Keusal Learning. These online courses will be held by Zoom from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. EDT. The recording will be available to registered participants for one month after the live training. Here's an intro to the courses from the instructor:



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Ken Fehner

Marketing Conference and The Power of Video Workshop, Jekyll Island, March 20-22

Get the scoop on the latest bright ideas for marketing your bank and its products and services. Planned by GBA’s Marketing Committee, Haley Barnes, BankSouth Mortgage, chair, the GBA Marketing Conference has two components. Our pre-conference workshop, presented by Ken Fehner, owner of The Social Gloo, will equip attendees with the knowledge and tools needed to create compelling videos for social media posts. The traditional conference follows, with programming covering the full spectrum of skills, best practices, latest trends and good ideas for practitioners. See the full agenda here. Attendees have the option to register for both workshop and conference, conference only or workshop only. See the full agenda and register here.




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New Year, New Goals!

HR Professionals Institute, Jekyll Island, March 20-22

Invest in your people, invest in yourself and join us for GBA’s annual HR Professionals Institute, where you will gain invaluable insights, strategies and tools needed to excel in your career. Planned by GBA’s Human Resources Committee, Lance Whitley, Colony Bank, chair, the institute is the premier in-person learning experience for Georgia bank human resources professionals. Make it a goal to attend, and register today! Agenda highlights include:

  • Communication, Tonya Parker, Georgia Tech

  • Embracing Change, Lon Langston, Engaged Banker Experience

  • Recruitment and Retention, Shonda Sammons, Advocate Builders

  • Legal Update, Jason Willcox, Moore Clarke DuVall & Rodgers, P.C.

  • Mental Health De-Escalation, Sergeant Eric Rooks, Gwinnet PD

Get all the details and register here. Thank you to our sponsors! Platinum: Engaged Banker Experience. Silver: Yarmouth & Choate.


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Shannon Fortson

Peter Faser

Registration now open!

Spring Programming at Middle Georgia State University in Macon

Registration for our spring programming is now open. Connect with your peers and gain the tools and expertise needed to excel in your role.

  • GBA’s Compliance Peer Group will meet on March 5. Attendees will discuss the industry’s latest hot topics and learn best practices to strengthen their bank’s compliance management program. Get all the details and register here.


  • Personal Cash Flow Analysis Seminar, March 5: Shannon Fortson of Pinnacle Bank will present a combination of lecture and casework, and participants will learn how to calculate sources and uses of personal cash flow. Secure your spot and register today.


  • Loan Documentation Seminar March 6: Fortson will be back to present the fan-favorite Loan Documentation seminar. Learn what’s needed to prevent loan losses through the implementation of proper loan structuring and documentation techniques. Register here.


  • Business Cash Flow Seminar, March 7: Get hands-on analysis training you need to determine a borrower’s capacity to repay a loan from Peter Faser, a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School. Don’t miss out! Register today.

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Bank Security Conference, April 10-12, The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St. Simons

Planned by GBA’s Security Committee, Melissa Dasher, SouthState, chair, the conference agenda is shaping up to deliver the latest insights, trends, and tools needed for bank security professionals to excel in their careers. Registration includes a policies and procedures workshop, sessions on bank security technology and equipment, artificial intelligence, fraud, mental health and more. Secure your spot today!


Get all the details and register here.


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First Year Slots are Filling Up

Georgia Banking School – 2024

There is still time to register for the 2024 session of Georgia Banking School. Save $130 on tuition through March 1!




Georgia Banking School Details and Enrollment Access Here


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Additional Enrollment Opportunity!

GBA Compliance School – Now Offering Year 1 and Year 2 Simultaneously

GBA’s Compliance School Board has been hard at work bringing an additional opportunity for bankers looking to grow in their career. Whether you are new to banking or need to brush up on recent regulatory changes, this school will equip you for what’s next. For the first time ever, Year 1 and Year 2 of Compliance School will both be offered in 2024! Compliance officers as well as anyone who has compliance responsibilities, including department managers, will benefit from the school. Enroll today for career growth, personal growth, and an added value to your institution. Get the details and register here.


GBA’s Compliance School will be April 28 – May 3, 2024, at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens.  With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.


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Mark your calendar!

GBA 2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference

Make a big note on your calendar for the GBA 2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference May 16-17 at the King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort, St Simons Island. Look for program and registration details in upcoming GBA E-Bulletins and email outreach.


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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: Regarding escrow shortages, is 12 months the maximum time over which we can spread out a shortage?


Answer: Regulation X states that a shortage may be repaid over a minimum of 12 months, as set out here: “…If the shortage is less than one month’s escrow payment, then the servicer:

  • May allow a shortage to exist and do nothing to change it,

  • May require the borrower to repay the shortage amount within 30 days, or

  • May require the borrower to repay the shortage amount in equal monthly payments over at least a 12-month period.

If the shortage is equal to or more than one month’s escrow account payment, then the servicer:

  • May allow a shortage to exist and do nothing to change it, or

  • May require the borrower to repay the shortage in equal monthly payments over at least a 12-month period.

See more in the regulation in item #4. Note that as always, the bank should also consider UDAP/UDAAP and fair lending implications when making these decisions.


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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Webinars – Great for Fundamentals Training

State of HMDA in 2024, Nailing Your Job of Head Teller, Regulation CC for Tellers 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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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.



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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 s6onsor this content, let us know. Here's our latest installment:


Albany - Colony Bank

The bank was a presenting sponsor of the recent 31st-annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner hosted by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and Albany State University.


Atlanta - Citizens Trust Bank

For its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, bank team members served hundreds of families at Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, Inc. by providing canned goods, fresh vegetables, meat and more to those in need.


Blairsville - River City Bank

The bank’s Blairsville team recently presented a sponsorship check to student-athletes from Union County High School's men's and women's basketball teams.


Carrollton - Southern States Bank

The bank’s Carrollton team recently led an elder abuse awareness class for seniors.


Greenville, SC - United Community Bank

For its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the bank’s teams across all branches volunteered in their communities, including those in Georgia, with a variety of activities, from encouraging voter registration to advocating for health and wellness at the ML5K.


Tifton - South Georgia Banking Company

The bank sponsored the Worth County Farmers Appreciation Dinner.



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Save the Date!



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GBA Newsmakers


Albany - AB&T

The bank’s board of directors has unanimously elected Charlene Parker as a bank officer and audit coordinator.


Alpharetta - Touchmark National Bank

Steve Cope has started a new position at the bank as portfolio manager.


Alma - Pineland Bank

Michelle Meyer was voted # 1 teller in Camden County for 2023 by the readers of The Tribune and Georgian newspaper.


Douglas - Colony Bank

Tate Bullard has joined the bank as commercial banker and market lead in Douglas. Read more here.


Edison - The Bank of Edison

The bank recently celebrated Frank Miller Day to celebrate Frank Miller upon his semi-retirement after 40 years with the bank.


Fitzgerald - Colony Bank

Tammie Sheppard has been promoted to Chief Compliance Officer. Read more here.


Irwinton - Wilkinson County Bank, a division of Apex Banking Company of Georgia

Allen Mills has been promoted to consumer lending officer.


Lawrenceville - Embassy National Bank

Brett Poole has joined the bank team as a credit analyst.


Thomasville - Thomasville National Bank

Josh Cone has been promoted to senior vice president.



Charlene Parker Tate Bullard Tammie Sheppard Brett Poole Josh Cone



Michelle Meyer Frank Miller Day at the Bank of Edison



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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