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June 14, 2024

McLanahan Caps off Second Term

GBA’s 135th Chairman, Rhodes McLanahan, closed out his second term this week. During his state of the association remarks at the annual meeting he emphasized that an enduring strength of the association is the sense of community that exists among members. “Perhaps most importantly, the GBA fosters a spirit of camaraderie and collaboration among us,” he said. “In an industry where competition can sometimes be fierce, the GBA reminds us that we are all part of a larger community with shared interests and a common goal – to serve our local communities to the best of our abilities.” He also noted the association’s strong advocacy record during the past year, how well-attended educational programs were and ongoing strength in products and services for members. Read his full remarks here.

Barber Installed, Williams and Moss Elected, New Board Members Installed

At the 132nd GBA Annual Meeting June 11, Brad E. Barber, president and CEO, First National Bank, Bainbridge, was installed as the 136th GBA Chairman. GBA members also elected two other officers for 2024-25, Philip G. Williams, president and CEO, The Claxton Bank, Claxton, is our new Chairman-Elect, and Susan Moss, president and CEO, Planters & Citizens Bank, Camilla, is the new Vice Chairman.
Philip Williams
Susan Moss
In addition, five new board members were installed for their terms beginning July 1:
  • North Group: Colin Stokes, president and CEO, Classic City Bank, Athens
  • Central Group: Wade Johnson, president and CEO, Durden Banking Company, Twin City
  • South Group: Perry Revell, CEO, AB&T, Albany
  • At Large: Ryan Earnest, president and CEO, First National Community Bank, Rome
  • Leadership GBA Chair: Brad Sheffield, Sr. VP, Retail Banking, Synovus Bank, Statesboro.
Jay Torbert, president and CEO, Southeastern Bank, Darien, will serve in the dual role on the Board as the Community Bankers Committee chair concurrent with his term as a South Group representative.
Colin Stokes
Wade Johnson
Perry Revell
Ryan Earnest
Brad Sheffield
Jay Torbert

Barber to Focus on Member Listening and Engagement

The fact that Brad Barber will serve as GBA’s chairman during a time of significant leadership transition for the association is not lost on him. “When I was thinking about what to say tonight, I went back through some of the speeches of prior incoming Chairmen. I noticed that each of those speeches highlighted something unique to that leader’s term as well as in the life of the association and industry,” he said. “So, what struck me most in figuring out the unique thing about my time to lead is that our Association is making more than its usual annual banker leadership transition.” Barber said he and incoming GBA President and CEO Tripp Cofield will embark on a member listening tour during the year. “We want to make sure to use the next 12 months as a time of intentional listening and feedback so that we take full advantage of the strong engagement and sense of community our members share. What won’t change is the association’s position as your primary resource for unified advocacy for all banks, the best in ongoing banker education and value-add products and services,” he said. Read his full remarks here.

Outgoing Board Leadership Thanked for GBA Service

During the annual GBA Board Dinner, Chairman Rhodes McLanahan thanked the following board members for their service, as their terms are wrapping up this month.
  • Parrish Clark, Guardian Bank, Valdosta, represented the South Group.
  • John Childs, Exchange Bank, Milledgeville, represented the Central Group.
  • Bill Stump, Community Bank and Trust-West Georgia, LaGrange, represented the Central Group.
  • David Voyles, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton, represented the North Group.
  • Bill Easterlin, Queensborough National Bank & Trust Company, Louisville, served as an At Large Member.
  • Kelly Smith, First National Bank of Griffin, is the outgoing Leadership GBA Chair.
  • Rick Basinger, Northeast Georgia Bank, Lavonia, served as the Community Bankers Committee representative.
Parrish Clark
John Childs
Bill Stump
David Voyles
Bill Easterlin
Kelly Smith
Rick Basinger

Members Salute Brannen for Four Decades of Leadership

As the events of this year’s GBA Annual Meeting wrapped up Tuesday night, GBA Chairman Rhodes McLanahan made sure part of the program included a much-deserved show of appreciation for Joe Brannen for his leadership of GBA. Brannen will retire July 15, capping 44 years of service to GBA. Fourteen past chairmen and their families attended this year’s meeting. They flanked the stage during the ceremony, with Dan Blanton, Jim Edwards, United Bank, and Luke Flatt, AB&T, leading toasts to Brannen in thanks to all he’s done for banking in Georgia. The ceremony also included a tribute video featuring GBA members, staff, elected officials and other special guests from throughout Joe’s career. Thanks to GBA Strategic Partner Financial Marketing Solutions for producing the video. Watch the video here.

Quick Summary of Annual Meeting’s Educational Slate

The 2024 GBA Annual Meeting was packed with insightful sessions for members. See the photo album from the event here. Here’s a brief overview of what we learned:
Economic Update: Dr. Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist at The Stifel Group, kicked off the meeting with a detailed analysis of the current economic landscape. She discussed future growth projections, interest rates, and trends in consumer spending. The bulk of her talk focused on a variety of options the Fed may consider to address stubbornly persistent inflation.
Bank Strategy Update: Jonathan Hightower from Fenimore Kay Harrison and James Stevens from Troutman Pepper shared their insights on the strategic opportunities available to banks and board members. They focused on regulatory issues, nontraditional deposit growth, strategies for compensation, retention, and leadership succession, and the potential for the revival of community bank mergers and acquisitions.
Net Interest Margin Management: Todd Taylor, president of HUB / Taylor Advisors, provided strategies for improving profitability while balancing risk. Using up-to-date peer data, he highlighted key performance metrics such as net interest margin and cost of funds, offering actionable insights for banks to improve performance.
Dr. Lindsey Piegza
Jonathan Hightower and James Stevens
Todd Taylor
Leadership and Talent Development: Dr. Melissa Furman, founder of Career Potential, addressed the challenges associated with leading a diverse workforce with different levels of workplace maturity. She provided recommendations to help bank leaders navigate, elevate and accelerate the success of their team members.
Conversation with Key State Legislative Leaders: Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives Jon Burns, Senate President Pro Tempore John Kennedy, House Banks and Banking Committee Chairman Rep. Noel Williams, and House Majority Caucus Chairman Rep. Bruce Williamson engaged in a conversation about key issues in the Georgia General Assembly. They highlighted important legislation dealing with infrastructure, public safety, tax reform and education, and urged bankers to stay engaged with personal outreach to their elected officials.
National Legislative/Congressional Issues and 2024 Landscape Conversation: ABA Chair Julieann Thurlow, ABA’s EVP Kirsten Sutton and GBA’s Elizabeth Chandler discussed the major national legislative and congressional issues that will shape the banking industry in 2024. Areas of focus continue to be legal challenges to a host of regulations such as the CFPB’s 1071 small business data collection, the proposed new CRA rule, CFPB’s ongoing attack on fees and more.
Dr. Melissa Furman
State Legislative Leaders Panel
National Legislative Issues Panel
CEO Panel - Bank Team Tune Up: Moderated by Dr. Melissa Furman, the panel featured Ryan Earnest, First National Community Bank; Palmer Proctor, Ameris Bank; and Charles Sweat, First Peoples Bank. In a twist on the usual panel discussion, the bankers asked questions of Dr. Furman about talent and culture management issues they face in their banks with an eye toward answers that were helpful to all members. They discussed talent and culture development within banks, emphasizing the importance of boosting engagement, unlocking creative talents and aligning employee and company objectives.
Future of Financial Services: Ben Metz, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Digital Officer at Jack Henry, explored the future of financial services through the lens of emerging technologies and fintech ecosystems. He highlighted the significant opportunities available for community financial institutions over the next 5-10 years.
Closing Session -- Lessons from the Foxhole to the Office: Joe McNamara, a former Marine Corps Infantry Officer and CEO of The Iron Leader, gave a high-energy closing presentation with powerful leadership lessons from his experiences in the military, athletics and business. His stories underscored the importance of developing prepared leaders, cultivating strong teams and building winning cultures.
CEO Panel
Ben Metz
Joe McNamara

GBA Insurance Trust Elects Directors

The GBA Insurance Trust (GBAIT) held its annual business meeting June 10 and elected three directors. The following bankers were elected by their peers to serve a three-year term, expiring in 2027:
  • Chris Edwards, United Bank, Zebulon
  • Ryan Earnest, First National Community Bank, Rome
  • Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust Company, Athens.
GBA Insurance Trust Chairman Rick Whaley, The Citizens Bank of Americus, made a special point of thanking Jud Vann, Planters and Citizens Bank, Camilla, for his many years of service on the board as his term is expiring.
Chris Edwards
Ryan Earnest
Rhodes McLanahan
Jud Vann
Whaley and GBA Retirement Services Chairman Chuck Copeland, First National Bank of Griffin, gave an update about their respective affiliates during a discussion led by GBAIT/Retirement Services CEO Tripp Cofield.
GBAIT Highlights:
  • 163 banks & Associate Member companies covered
  • 12,000 lives covered
  • Cost to cover 20% less than industry peers
  • Rates 25% less than individual company private plans in the Southeast
GBARS Highlights:
  • 65 banks participate
  • 6 new member companies in past 12 months
  • 3,500 bankers
  • 65% on target to retire at 70% of current income, well above national average of less than 30% on target to retire at that income level
  • $300+ million in assets managed.

50+ Year Bankers Honored

Each year at the Annual Meeting we say thanks to bankers who have served the industry for 50 years or more. Here are the eight bankers recognized this year:
  • Peggy Antwine, loan operations assistant, Classic City Bank, 57 years
  • Karen Edwards, senior commercial banking assistant, Synovus Bank, 50 years
  • Bob Evans, chairman of Cordele Community Advisory Board, Colony Bank, 50 years
  • Tom Lanier, executive vice president, Classic City Bank, 50 years
  • Jane Pitts, senior vice president, Oconee Federal Bank, 50 years
  • Claudette Sasser, CSR, Durden Banking Company, 53 years
  • John Seay, director, Northeast Georgia Bank, 50 years
  • David Coxon, president and CEO, Georgia Primay Bank, 50 years.
Peggy Antwine
Karen Edwards
Bob Evans
Tom Lanier
Jane Pitts
Claudette Sasser
John Seay
David Coxon

Regulators Hosting Valdosta Community Development Resources Meeting

The FDIC and OCC are offering a forum June 27 to learn about resources for community development in Valdosta.
Key topics:
  • Safe & Sound Investments in LMI Communities
  • Partnerships & Services for LMI Borrowers
  • Hurricane Idalia Impact
  • Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
Target Audience:
  • Banks interested in community development
  • Organizations focused on revitalization.
Agenda: Access here
Date: Thursday, June 27th, 2024
Time: 8 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Rainwater Conference Center, Valdosta

Deadline Extended to June 28

There's Still Time to Participate in the Georgia Banking Compensation Survey

Take part in the most comprehensive Georgia report for detailed data on base salaries, salary ranges, short-term and long-term incentives, total cash compensation, and total compensation. Also, the report's in-depth policies and practices portion includes information on salary increases, merit increases, structure adjustments, outsourcing, turnover, and recruiting. The deadline to submit data is now June 28, and the survey reports will be published the week of Aug. 12. The report purchase price for participants is $595. The purchase list price for non-participants is $1,475. Remember, with every year that you participate, you become that much more familiar with the process as a whole, which improves the quality of the data reported. To access the survey materials, please contact Rhonda Snyder at

FHLBank Atlanta 2024 Election of Directors

Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta has begun the election to fill four directorships on its board of directors, including the member directorships in North Carolina and Virginia and two independent directorships, one of which will be a public interest independent director. The term of the directorships to be filled in this election begins on Jan. 1, 2025, and ends on Dec. 31, 2028. Pursuant to the bank’s board-approved Equal Opportunity Policy Statement, which is available on the bank’s website, the bank encourages the consideration of diversity in nominating or soliciting nominees for positions on the bank’s board of directors. Individuals interested in being considered for an independent directorship who meet the independent director requirements must complete and return to the bank, by 5 p.m. EDT on July 8, 2024, the application and related forms that are available on the bank’s website. If you have questions, please contact Courtney Tobin, Associate General Counsel, at 404.888.5343 or

Crime and Punishment

Macon Man Sentenced for Bank Robbery

Gabriel Bell, 29, of Macon, was sentenced to 111 months in federal prison for robbing a Truist Bank branch on Riverside Drive. On June 5, Chief U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell sentenced Bell to 87 months for the robbery and an additional 24 months for violating his supervised release, plus five years of supervised release. Bell, wearing a blue surgical mask, handed a demand note to a teller on Feb. 16, 2023, threatening to shoot if she didn’t comply. After a second teller gave him cash, Bell fled, but was later identified and arrested thanks to citizen tips and surveillance evidence. Bell was previously convicted of armed robbery in 2015 and illegal possession of a firearm in 2021. He was also ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to Truist Bank. Read more here.

Next BSA Peer Group Meeting Set for Sept. 24

Registration is now open for our next BSA peer group meeting in-person Sept. 24 at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Join GBA's BSA Summit lead facilitator, Kristen Stogniew, along with your peers for our next in-person meeting, Sept 24. With a large focus on banking COAM accounts, registrants will also be able to 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.

Welcome GBA's Newest Associate Members

GBA Associate Membership is offered to individuals and organizations that want to do more business with banks as clients. These members also provide invaluable support to GBA's activities and programs throughout the year through attendance, sponsorships, exhibits and shared expertise. Be sure to get to know them and thank them for supporting the GBA. You can get information about any of GBA's Associate Members by using the Associate Member search function on our website. For more information, contact Bo Brannen at or 404.420.2014.
BOK Financial is a top 25 U.S.-based bank offering sophisticated wealth, commercial and consumer products and services. They do business one client at a time, focused on delivering thoughtful expertise and tailored advice.
Platinum Security Plan
Columbus, GA
Tommy Bridges
Executive Benefits Plan solutions to assist banks, reward and retain top talent, all while managing cost.
Metric Financial
Atlanta, GA
Nikola Miskovic
Metric Financial offers Managing Broker Dealer Services for Private Placement Securities, Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Debt, and Equity Financing.
McMickle, Kurey & Branch, LLP
Alpharetta, GA
Casey D. Baker
From loan workouts to foreclosure to litigation, the firm provides a full range of assistance to banks, non-bank lenders, and loan servicers to help them resolve their troubled loans and other legal issues.
Birmingham, AL
William C.Bryant
Advanced enterprise balance sheet management platform designed to effortlessly merge all data sources, streamline analytical and reporting tasks, and monitor essential key performance indicators specific to banking operations.
Upgrade partners with financial institutions as a complement to internal goals, ALCO strategies and return hurdles through the use of prime consumer assets. Upgrade offers personal loans, credit lines, indirect auto, home improvement and travel-related credit products as flexible balance sheet solutions. This short duration, high yield can be used as organic production fluctuates. They can also sweep consumer deposits to loan buyers.

Detailed agenda coming soon!

Compliance Conference, Oct. 23-25, at The Westin, Jekyll Island

The agenda for our Compliance Conference is shaping up to deliver the latest regulatory updates and tools needed to elevate your bank’s compliance management program. Planned by GBA’s Compliance Committee, the compliance conference is for any compliance professional needing to sharpen their skills. Get all the details and register here. We’d like to thank these GBA associate members who are showing their support through sponsorship – Platinum: Steve H. Powell & Company and Centrant Community Capital and Silver: Mauldin & Jenkins, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Compliance Alliance, Ncontracts, and Troutman Pepper. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Upcoming Seminars in Macon – Registration now open!

Personal Cash Flow Seminar - Aug. 20

Join Shannon Fortson, EVP, Chief Credit Officer of Pinnacle Bank, for an in-depth, comprehensive understanding on how to analyze personal cash flow and personal tax returns. Learn how to calculate sources and uses of personal cash flow to support a borrower’s loan request to ensure a strong and healthy loan portfolio. Get all the details and register here.

Loan Documentation Seminar - Aug. 21

Shannon Fortson returns as the leader for our Loan Documentation Seminar. Prevention of loan losses is crucial and begins with proper loan structuring and documentation techniques. Connect with peers and walk away with all the best tips and tools. Commercial loan officers, commercial loan personnel, loan assistants and closing specialists will benefit from this program. Get all the details and register here.

Business Cash Flow Analysis Seminar - Sept. 10

Peter Faser, business strategy adviser for The Profitability Coach and a faculty member of the Georgia Banking School, will lead an introduction and practical approach to business cash flow analysis for those needing a hands-on learning experience to determine a borrower’s capacity to repay a loan. Get all the details and register here.

Opening New Accounts Seminar - Oct. 1

Customized to Georgia Law, Matthew Dickinson of JM Consultants will focus on documentation and compliance during this full-day seminar. Attendees can expect to learn essential new account opening procedures, best practices, and compliance requirements. Matthew will answer complex questions asked by customers and staff while focusing on vital information for every new account type. Get all the details and register here.
Shannon Fortson
Peter Faser
Matthew Dickinson

Webinars - Great for Fundamentals Training

Branch Manager Best Practices, The Rise of Generative AI in Banking and Financial Services, Do’s and Don’ts on Checks 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.

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.

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. Here's our latest installment:

Atlanta - Ameris Bank
The bank is donating $2.23 million to 40 rural hospitals in Georgia, as part of the Georgia HEART Hospital Program in 2024. Ameris has been participating in the state income tax credit program since 2018, contributing more than $12 million. Read more here.
Dublin - Morris Bank
As a participant in the Georgia HEART Hospital Program, Morris Bank recently donated $200,000 to local hospitals in middle Georgia, including Dodge County Hospital, Candler County Hospital, and Effingham Health System.
Morris Bank

GBA Newsmakers

Check out these Georgia bankers making news this week:

Atlanta/Savannah - Citizens Trust Bank/Carver State Bank
The Boston-based custody bank State Street will place deposits at GBA member banks Carver State Bank and Citizens Trust Bank as part of its broader effort to help reduce the wealth gap by supporting minority depository institutions this year.
Our sympathies to the family, friends and former colleagues of Joyce Curry Wammock, who died June 5. Wammock was an employee of Planters Bank from 1973-1999 and from 2006-2019 where she served as an internal auditor and part-time teller. Read more here.
Milledgeville - Citizens Bank of the South
Lynde Schubert has joined the bank as vice president, lending officer. Read more here.
Moultrie - Commercial Banking Company
David Buckridge has joined the bank as Moultrie market president and senior vice president. Summer Richmond has joined the bank as Moultrie branch manager and vice president. Jake Mobley has joined the bank’s Moultrie team as a commercial lender and vice president.
Savannah - Colony Bank
Rob Sparks will assume the role of coastal regional president in August when Drew Hulsey, current coastal regional president, retires. Read more here.
Athens - University of Georgia Terry College of Business
Our sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Jim Verbrugge, a professor emeritus who served as head of the Department of Finance for 25 years and died on Monday in Athens. Verbrugge held the Georgia Bankers Association Chair of Banking for many years. Read more here.
Lynde Schubert
David Buckridge
Summer Richmond
Jake Mobley
Rob Sparks

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 David Oliver and Katina Prokos.
Webinars by topic: