Jan. 5, 2024  

GBA's Advocacy Team

Ready to Roll for General Assembly Session

The Georgia General Assembly convenes Monday, Jan. 8, to begin its 40-day session. GBA’s advocacy team is ready for action. As this is the second year of a two-year legislative cycle, there’s a healthy docket of carryover legislation we’re already monitoring. We will again support the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance’s annual housekeeping bill, and we’re again opposing a carryover bill, SB 126 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro), which prohibits the collection of or a rebate to merchants for credit and debit card interchange fees paid by retail merchants on the sales tax portion of a transaction. GBA will be represented throughout the session by Executive Vice President for Government Relations & Advocacy Elizabeth Chandler, 404.372.7893, Government Relations Consultant Steve Bridges, 404.420.2037, Bo Brannen, Sr. VP, Member Services & Advocacy, Tripp Cofield, 617.909.9530, president and CEO of GBAIT and GBARS; and GBA President and CEO Joe Brannen, 404.401.0274. Contact any of them with questions about legislation, information about your legislator's stance on a particular issue or to request any other information related to the Georgia General Assembly.


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Two Ways to Track Key Legislation

We’re geared up to help you keep track of all the news and key bills during this year’s legislative session. Each week of the session we’ll publish our Legislative Update email newsletter after that week’s activities are adjourned. And set a web browser bookmark for our State Issues page on the GBA website to track details about specific bills during the session. Check in frequently as we add bills as they are introduced and the links to the bills on the General Assembly website update their status as the bills move through the process.


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Legislative Forum & Reception

Get Election Outlook, Georgia Economic Development Overview, Advocacy Priorities

Join fellow members Jan. 24 at The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta for our largest single-day event of the year, the annual Legislative & Economic Forum and Reception. The forum program will feature national political expert John Ashford for an overview of election-year possibilities, Georgia’s Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Wilson, Banking Commissioner Kevin Hagler and numerous guests from the General Assembly. All GBA member bankers, associate members, strategic partners, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant section members are invited. Get details and register here for the Forum & Reception, the Forum Only, or the Reception Only. The Forum will be from 3-6 p.m., followed by the Reception from 6-7:30 p.m.


John Ashford Kevin Hagler Pat Wilson


A big thank-you to our event sponsors: BDS Yarmouth & Choate; BHG Financial; EBS; FHLBank Atlanta; Olsen Palmer, LLC; Point to Point Environmental; and ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division. Sponsorships are still available for this event; click here for details.


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Leader Updates

Population, Economy, Chair of Banking, 1071 Veto

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

  • More People: Georgia’s population is estimated to be 11,029,227, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimate, up 1.1% from the prior year. We shared additional stats.


  • Southern Economy: The South continues to grow at a faster clip than other regions. We also shared a study released last month by the Bank of America Institute about why the South has done so well.


  • GBA Chair of Banking at UGA: In 1980-81 Georgia’s banks raised more than $3 million to endow a GBA Chair of Banking at the University of Georgia. According to the UGA Foundation, the fund for the chair now is at than almost $4 million, and the GBA Chair of Banking continues to be long time Finance Department Head Jeff Netter.


  • 1071 Veto: As expected, President Biden recently vetoed a bipartisan resolution passed by Congress that would have repealed the CFPB’s 1071 small business data collection rule. The Senate would need to get 67 votes to override the veto, which is unlikely. Section 1071 is currently under a nationwide stay for all covered entities pending the results of the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of a Texas lawsuit. The constitutionality of CFPB’s funding mechanism is in question. We will continue to advocate opposing the rule.

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


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Attention Attorneys!

Status of Important Cases - January 2024

The latest ABA Newsbytes Banking Docket is now available. Click here for the details of the status of important cases. (Each article contains a “Read more” link with access to additional details on the issues, case summaries and links to related documents.)


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Kristen Stogniew

Breaking News – CAFP, CRCM, and CERP Credits Available!

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

This year’s BSA Summit is set to deliver! 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, including:

  • Jason Bradley, 5iron, Cyberfraud Update

  • David Kukura, Retired FBI, Investigating Fraud

  • Emily Dent, Mauldin & Jenkins CPAs and Advisors, Lessons from Recent Enforcement Actions

  • Sarah Beth Felix, Palmera Consulting, Enhancing your Risk Assessment; Operationalizing your Sancations Program

  • Melba Moody, Saltmarsh, Cleaveland, & Gund, CTRs and Continuing SAR Filings

  • Brad Rustin, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Banking MSBs

  • Kristen Stogniew, Boot Camp for new BSA Officers and Supporting Staff, Training Lenders on BSA/AML, and value-added AML System Validations

And even more, including a Law Enforcement/Prosecution Panel featuring fan favorites, Taylor Fernandez, USPIS, and Rueben Fernandez, DHS, and our fireside chat with Melissa Sneed of the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance.


You don’t want to miss this lineup!  Join us in beautiful Peachtree City at the Hilton Conference Center, Jan. 29 - Feb. 1. The cut-off date for reservations at the GBA rate is Monday, Jan. 8. Get all the details and register here.


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


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New Fundamentals Program Begins Jan. 10

Strengthen Banking Knowledge with Understanding Bank Performance Program

Whether your organization is full of seasoned professionals or has a new group of bankers, understanding how the bank makes decisions is vital for every position. We’ve got a new offering that can help. We’ve partnered with our peers at other state associations to bring you a program from the Washington Bankers Association titled Virtual Understanding Bank Performance. Designed to help bankers of all levels understand bank performance, students will:

  • Learn to assess and analyze a bank’s financial performance using real data

  • Become familiar with balance sheets and income statements

  • Learn how to apply key performance metrics to data in those documents.

  • Put skills to work with by concluding with a proforma capstone exercise evaluating Silicon Valley Bank.

Who should participate: Newer employees who need to get up to speed on how the banking industry works and experienced individuals wanting to further their careers.


The eight-part program begins Jan. 10. Get full details and access registration here. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.


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100 Shots to Support GBA StatePAC at Sporting Clays Tournament on Feb. 8

Join your banking colleagues, fellow shooters, legislators, customers and friends for a great day outdoors and all to support the Georgia state PAC*. Event registration includes 100 targets, cart, one mulligan, an entry into the Cotton Ball Drop Contest and a fabulous barbecue lunch. There are registration options for four-person teams, individual shooters and sponsorship opportunities. Click here for more details and to register.


A hearty thank-you to our event sponsors: 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; Point to Point Environmental; Safe Systems; and Steve H. Powell & Company.


* 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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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 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 for1 CFCS credit, and 1.25 CRCM, CERP, and CAFP credits. Click here to register.


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

Facilitated by Loni Porta, director of education, Convergent Retirement Plan Solutions, anyone even remotely involved in IRAs will benefit from this intensive training. Portia comes highly recommended as an in-person instructor by Suzie Jones, who is no longer doing in-person IRA training. Whether you are looking to gain basic knowledge of IRAs, raise your comfort level, or sharpen your skills with the most up-to-date rules and regulations, the IRA Merry-Go-Round will cover it all. Click here for more details and to register. Contact Aimee Corcoran with questions, 404.420.2035.




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Overdraft Compliance Resource

GBA Partner John M. Floyd Announces Rebrand to ADVANTAGE, powered by JMFA

GBA Partner John M. Floyd has announced a rebrand to ADVANTAGE, powered by JMFA. ADVANTAGE is a leading provider of consultation services for community banks. Their solutions include the GBA-endorsed overdraft compliance service. ADVANTAGE’s overdraft service offers the industry’s only 100% written compliance guarantee for all state and federal regulations. Their fully-communicated and fully-disclosed overdraft service provides a financial safety net for those who need it and their expertise comes from more than 2,500 customized programs in all 50 states. In addition, ADVANTAGE now provides account acquisition and retention services, contract negotiation, and FinTech strategy evaluation and selection services. Read more about the rebrand here. Visit www.advantage-fi.com to learn about the ways they can help.


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2024 Ops/Tech Conference - Feb. 28 - March 1, Savannah

Early Bird Pricing ends Feb. 13, Sneak Peek at Agenda

Early bird pricing for the Operations and Technology Conference ends Feb. 13. The full agenda will be available soon, but here is a sneak peek. 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. A huge thanks to Platinum Sponsor Liberty Technology and Gold Sponsor Wolf & Company, P.C. Click here to access the event website with everything you need to know.


Related: Exhibitor Booths - Limited Space. Associate Members and GBA Strategic Partners are invited to exhibit. Available slots are limited, so don't wait to sign up. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.


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Why Market Your Fair Lending Practices?

By Neal Reynolds, president, GBA Partner Bank Marketing Center

The answer to the question above is simple. Marketing fair lending practices isn’t just about compliance; it’s a demonstration of a bank’s commitment to its core values and the community it calls home. By communicating your practices transparently, banks can continue to foster trust, promote inclusivity and reinforce their positive impact within their communities. See more in Reynolds’ blog post and visit www.bankmarketingcenter.com for more helpful marketing tips.


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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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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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Marketing Conference and The Power of Video Workshop, Jekyll Island, March 20-22, 2024

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:


1. The Power of Video Workshop

  • Unleash the potential of social media with Ken Fehner, owner of The Social Gloo.

  • Craft compelling videos, master storytelling, and elevate your bank's online presence.

  • Practical hands-on guidance to create videos aligning with your bank's unique identity.

2. Traditional Conference. Highlights include:

  • Mastering Analytics for Smarter Digital Marketing with Hunter Young of the HIFI Agency

  • Leveraging LinkedIn for Marketing Success with Amber Farley of Financial Marketing Solutions

  • AI Demonstrations

  • Extended Peer Sharing Opportunities

Attendees have the option to register for both workshop and conference, conference only or workshop only. Get all the details and register here.


Ken Fehner Hunter Young Amber Farley


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Bank Communicator Resource

Complimentary 2024 Consumer Awareness Observances Calendar

As bank communicators plan for customer outreach initiatives in 2024, here is a new complimentary member resource: a calendar highlighting consumer awareness observances throughout the year. It’s available in digital and printable forms. Click here to view the calendar and download or print the full-size version.


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New Year, New Goals!

HR Professionals Institute, Jekyll Island, March 20-22, 2024

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, Gwinnett PD.

Get all the details and register here.


Thank you to our sponsors! Platinum: Engaged Banker Experience. Silver: Yarmouth & Choate.


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Register Today

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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GBA Compliance School Board Offering Simultaneous Year 1 and Year 2 Sessions

In a groundbreaking move, the GBA Compliance School is set to offer both Year 1 and Year 2 concurrently in 2024! This unique opportunity is tailored for compliance officers and banking professionals with compliance responsibilities, including department managers. Seize the chance to enhance your career, foster personal growth, and bring added value to your institution. Enroll now to secure your spot.


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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GBA 2024 Annual Meeting – Block Your Calendar for June 9-11!

As we greet the new year, make sure your 2024 calendar is blocked, circled and highlighted for the GBA Annual Meeting, June 9-11 at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL. Bank executive teams, directors, GBA Strategic Partners and Associate Members, Bank Counsel and Bank Accountant Section members, and your families are invited. We’re excited to announce these confirmed speakers:

  • Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist, The Stifel Group

  • Todd Taylor, CFA, CPA, President, HUB / Taylor Advisors

  • Dr. Melissa Furman, Founder, Career Potential

  • Elizabeth Chandler, Executive Vice President, Government Relations & Advocacy, GBA

  • Julianne Thurlow, Chair, American Bankers Association

  • Jonathan Hightower, Partner, Fenimore Kay Harrison

  • James Stevens, Partner, Troutman Pepper

  • Ben Metz, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Digital Officer, Jack Henry.

There are more sessions in the works. The newly transformed Ritz-Carlton offers breathtaking views of the beach and sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, creating an oasis on Florida’s Paradise Coast. There is so much to do at the resort and in and around Naples – we can’t wait to meet you there! Registration will open in early spring.


A huge shout-out to these associate members for their support of this event through sponsorship: CRS Data; EBS; FHLBank Atlanta; FHN Financial; First National Bankers Bank; McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Safe Systems, Inc; ServisFirst Bank, Correspondent Division; Steve H. Powell & Co.; and Troutman Pepper. Click here to get details and reserve your company’s sponsorship and click here to learn more and click here to reserve an exhibit space.


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Bank Security Conference – 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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Compliance Alliance Question of The Week


Question: If we have a customer with a credit card which is currently delinquent according to the agreement, are we required to provide an Adverse Action Notice before closing it out due to charge off?


Answer: Subject to any language within the loan agreement providing otherwise, the definition of "adverse action" within Regulation B provides a specific exemption for accountholders that are currently delinquent at the time an action is taken, as you can see below. Therefore, an adverse action notice is not necessary when closing an account due to a current delinquency. Read more from the regulation here.


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

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Fair Lending Essentials, Elder Financial Exploitation, Nailing Your Job of Head Teller 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:


Alma - Pineland Bank

The bank helped make Christmas possible for 130 kids in Alma/Bacon County through its Christmas for Kids Golf Tournament.


Bainbridge - First Port City Bank

Bank employees recently volunteered to ring the Salvation Army Bell in Bainbridge.


Claxton - Tippins Bank, A Division of Glennville Bank

The bank hosted the Grinch for a visit.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

The bank donated toys for the Kids Yule Toy Drive.


Dublin - Morris Bank

The bank recently donated $13,000 to Dublin-Laurens County Habitat for Humanity to help build the 42nd house in Laurens County.


Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank

The bank raised and donated $125 to Hercules' sponsor Christmas Box for veterinarian expenses and other assistance.


Perry - SunMark Community Bank

The bank recently donated to Happy Hour Service Center for its new activity center. Through the Community Access Group, the program provides structured services that enhance the lives of participants and help them develop meaningful connections within the community. The bank will be the sponsor of the Snack Shack, where the participants will learn customer service skills along with counting money and giving cash back.


Watkinsville - BankSouth

The bank’s Watkinsville branch and operations center collected toys for Toys for Tots and food for children and seniors.



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GBA Newsmakers


Athens - Pinnacle Bank

Sylvia Primm has been promoted to Pinny branch manager in its Athens branch. Read more here.


Barwick - Barwick Banking Company

Bank team member Yvonne Parker has retired after 29 years working in banking in various positions including teller, teller supervisor, customer service representative, loan processor, loan management/administration and loan compliance review.


Buford - Peoples Bank & Trust

Ted Williams has been appointed bank president, taking over for Douglas Nichols, who will continue to serve as CEO. Luanne Rosser has been promoted to vice president. Heather Adams has been promoted to assistant vice president.


Cairo - United National Bank

The bank’s board of directors recently announced several significant leadership changes at the bank. Charles Stafford, who has served as chairman for 22 years, has announced he will be stepping down as chairman effective Dec. 31, 2023, but will remain an active member of the board of directors. Also effective Dec. 31, Mike Chastain has stepped down as president and CEO, and the board unanimously elected him to succeed Stafford as chairman. Chastain will continue to work at the bank full-time throughout 2024. Matt McCaskill has been promoted as the new president of the bank and will also serve on the board. Additionally, Todd Harrell has been promoted to executive vice president and chief lending officer. Linda Drew Johnson has been promoted to executive vice president and chief technology officer and marketing. Seth Stanaland has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer. Sarah Clark has been promoted to executive assistant/loan officer. Read more here.


Calhoun - North Georgia National Bank

The bank received Calhoun Magazine 2023 Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Bank, Best Bank Teller - Kiley Abernathy and Best Mortgage Company.


Cordele - Planters First Bank

Enterprise Support Analyst Wanda Womack has retired after 46 years of service with the bank.


Edison - Bank of Edison

Senior Vice President Frank Miller retired Dec. 31, 2023, after 30 years with the Bank of Edison. The bank is hosting Frank Miller Day on Jan. 17 to celebrate his career. Effective Jan. 2, Jan Braswell has been promoted to loan officer, and Alyssa Swords has been promoted to loan clerk.


Hinesville - Ameris Bank

James Rogers has been promoted to market president of Ameris Bank’s Hinesville market. Read more here.


Macon - Planters First Bank

Wanda Colbert has joined the bank as a universal banker in its Macon Banking Center.


Savannah - First Chatham Bank

Our sympathies to President and CEO Ken Farrell, his family and friends in the death of his wife, Vonny, last week. Read more here.


Woodstock/Canton - BankSouth Mortgage

BankSouth Mortgage was named Best Mortgage Lending Company in My Woodstock/Canton's Best of 2023.


Tifton - Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE)

ACE South Georgia held its grand opening event Jan. 4. The new office is located at 1001 Love Avenue in Tifton.



Sylvia Primm Yvonne Parker Ted Williams Luanne Rosser Heather Adams



United National Bank Wanda Womack James Rogers Wanda Colbert



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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