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March 29, 2024  

Final Day of General Assembly Session

Thursday was the final day of the 2024 Georgia General Assembly Session. Legislators were working throughout the day and into the night to finalize bills being considered before the session was adjourned Sine Die. Our advocacy team was on site throughout to handle any issues with bills affecting members, and we’ll get you a full report in the session's final Legislative Update Friday.

A Tale of Two Conferences

Bank marketing and human resources pros got together last week for their annual conferences. Here are the highlights.
Marketing Conference
Sessions included a hands-on video workshop, getting the most out of Google analytics, two extended best practices roundtables, a peer presentation about AI uses in marketing, a tune up on leveraging LinkedIn for marketing and brand awareness and an update on consumer attitudes. Photos here.
Thanks to committee Chair Haley Barnes, BankSouth Mortgage, and the whole committee for a great program. Sponsors were Bond.AI (Gold), who also exhibited, and CashTrans (Silver).
HR Professionals Institute
Sessions included a close look at how to build a service culture, an extended peer roundtable, an industry and advocacy update, coaching on managing change, DISC assessments for everyone and how to use it for recruiting, tales from Margie Blanton’s 45-year banking career, a detailed legal update and tips for understanding mental health challenges in order to de-escalate employee and customer conflict situations. Photos here.
Colony Bank’s Lance Whitley served as committee chair this year. Sponsors were EBX (Platinum), NetChex (Gold) and BDS Yarmouth Choate (Silver), and exhibiting was OnCourse Learning, GBA’s webinar partner.

Industry Roundup

Here are some headlines from the industry over the past week.
  • Big Interchange Settlement: Visa/Mastercard and other parties announced a settlement that will lower posted credit card interchange rates by 4 basis points and cap rates at the Dec. 31, 2023, level for five years. See all the details here.

  • FDIC Merger Evaluation Policy Proposal: In a split 3-2 vote, the FDIC is moving ahead with a proposed update of its bank merger policy. The FDIC says the policy would broaden the number of competitive factors it will take into consideration when deciding whether to approve or deny applications, and require a “thorough accounting” of the potential effects on communities, including possible branch closures or relocations. Read the proposal here.

  • CRA Public File Posting Requirement Delayed: The Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC last week jointly issued an interim final rule extending the applicability date of certain provisions in the Community Reinvestment Act rule issued in October 2023. Specifically, the agencies extended the applicability date of the facility-based assessment areas and public file provisions from April 1, 2024, to Jan. 1, 2026. Read the official info here.

Leader Updates
Low Taxes, Cyber Attacks, Economy and Politics

Our series of regular email updates to CEOs, committee members and other key leaders continued this week and included these topics. If you’d like more information about the weekly leader updates, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026.

New Leadership Resource
Prioritize the Bank Executive Academy in Your 2024 Professional Development

Our new Bank Executive Academy resource, presented in partnership with the Illinois Bankers Association, needs to be on your leadership's 2024 professional development plan. The program starts June 12. Based on the curriculum taught in an executive MBA, but created for leaders & managers of banks, fully virtual learning & networking program occurs over six months, with meetings every other week.
  • 300+ engaging eLearning modules, templates, & resources
  • 6 hours of live coaching & insights from experts in our industry
  • A community of collaboration with industry peers across the country.
It's the perfect opportunity to elevate yourself and your managers to prepare them for success! Get details and register here.

Data Collection for 2024 GBA Compensation Survey Opens

April 1 kicks off the annual data collection period for new edition of the Georgia Bank Compensation Survey, compiled in partnership with Pearl Meyer.
Why Participate?
  • The survey provides the most detailed data on Georgia banking compensation and pay practices
  • It covers over 280 positions by asset size and region
  • The more members that participate, the better the comparison data is
  • Participants receive a 60% discount on the report
  • The survey report will be available beginning Aug. 12, just in time for budgeting.
A participation email will be sent soon for returning participants. If you’ve not participated previously and would like to, please email Rhonda Snyder at or Bo Brannen at

Annual Meeting Session Spotlight
Dr. Melissa Furman on Navigating and Accelerating Team Success

We’re excited about Dr. Melissa Furman returning to the GBA Annual Meeting, June 8-10 at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL. Here are some notes on her session and a bonus appearance:
  • Dr. Furman will offer insights into the mindsets, perspectives, and preferences of team members and prospective employees.
  • Recommendations will be provided to maximize employee and bank success.
  • She also will facilitate the CEO Panel, addressing questions on talent development, culture building, and boosting engagement.
Click here to access the event website, a detailed agenda, register, and more. Space is still available at the Ritz beginning June 9. If you're interested in staying Saturday night, June 8, go ahead and book for June 9 and email GBA’s Kathy Friestad to be waitlisted for a Saturday arrival. Exhibit space and sponsorships are also still available.

Last Call!
Volunteer with GBA and Make a Difference

More than 300 members serve on one of our 24 committees or boards each year to shape the industry policy priorities, educational programs and other resources provided by GBA. If you or a banker you know would be a good fit to carry on that tradition, now’s the time for committee volunteer nominations.

Coming up!
Bank Security Conference - The King & Prince, St. Simons

Planned by GBA’s Security Committee, Melissa Dasher, SouthState Bank, chair, the conference agenda will cover everything needed for bank security professionals to excel in their careers. Registration includes sessions covering:
  • Policies and procedures tune-up workshop
  • Bank security technology and equipment
  • Bank robbery lessons learned
  • Artificial intelligence and bank security
  • ATM and other fraud trends
  • Mental health and security.
Thank you to our wellness sponsor: SentryHealth.

Accelerate Your Compliance Career
GBA Compliance School – Now Offering Year 1 and Year 2 Simultaneously

Looking to strengthen your compliance skills and advance your banking career? GBA’s Compliance School will prepare you for what’s next. GBA’s Compliance School Board has built the school’s curriculum and has secured the school’s faculty, sure to deliver!
For the first time ever, Year 1 and Year 2 of Compliance School will 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.
GBA’s Compliance School will be April 28 - May 3 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education and Hotel in Athens. With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Check out the Ag Conference Agenda
Wild Hogs, Deer, Weather, Crops and More

Register now for the GBA 2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference, May 16-17 at the King & Prince on St. Simons. Planned by GBA’s Agriculture Committee, Matt Rushton, AB&T, chair, and Jake Cleghorn, Atlamaha Bank & Trust Company, vice chair, the conference will help bankers sharpen their skills, share the latest intel and make essential connections helpful in serving their communities. Secure your spot today! Get all the agenda details and register here.
Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor: CSRA Business Lending and Silver Sponsor: Point to Point Environmental.

New marketing webinar!
Blending Marketing and Technology for New Levels of Success, May 14

Get ready for an exciting webinar tailored for marketing professionals, executives, and operations audiences. Trent Fleming, CEO, Trent Fleming Consulting, will delve deep into the relationship between marketing and operations and provide you with solid ideas that you can put to work at your bank. You'll learn:
  • Smart growth concepts
  • Enhancing your online presence
  • Leveraging data to improve messaging and the customer experience.

Sign up today!
Information Security Officer Seminar - June 5, MGSU, Macon

Join IT security experts Emily Strickland and Paige Hembree, Safe Systems, on June 5 in Macon at Middle Georgia State University. Strickland and Hembree will take a deep dive into the exam expectations and provide the tools and skills information security officers need to succeed in this critical role. Get all the details and register here.

Women in Banking Conference Perfect Cap on Summer Learning

Registration will open next week for GBA’s 9th-annual gathering of women bankers, associate members, bank accountants, and bank attorneys at our Women in Banking Conference, Aug. 15-16 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Braselton. Check out the planned sessions:
  • Fireside chat with GBA’s EVP of Government Relations & Advocacy Elizabeth Chandler
  • National and global economic outlook by Jessica Kearney, AVP at Travelers Institute/Travelers
  • Importance and impact of mentoring by veteran HR professional Cindi Lewis
  • Managing the capacity for change with Whitney Ott from Jackson Spalding and Leocadia Zak, president of Agnes Scott College
  • Unleashing brand potential and personal branding with Tammy Brown, Director of Accounts at Mighty 8th Advertising Firm
  • Executive Leadership Panel
  • Closing Speaker Kim Gravel, entrepreneur, author, QVC personality, and former Miss Georgia, sharing stories of her journey and success, and inspiring purpose
Thanks to these associate members who are sponsoring: Gold Sponsor: McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC; Silver Sponsors: Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs and Advisors; CRS Data; Elliott Davis; FHLBank Atlanta; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Troutman Pepper; and Wipfli. Sponsorships are still available – click here for details and to reserve! Contact GBA’s Kathy Friestad with questions.

Register Today!

Compliance Alliance – Question of The Week

Question: When is an Anti-Steering Disclosure required?
Answer: The Anti-Steering Disclosure is not required by regulation to be provided to a customer. The disclosure is provided as a safe harbor to protect the bank from claims that the consumer was steered to a product. It may be required by investor or internal policy.
The GBA-owned Compliance Alliance offers a comprehensive suite of compliance management solutions. To learn how to put them to work for your bank, call (888) 353-3933 or email and ask for the Membership Team.

Webinars - Great for Fundamentals Training
Teller Training Procedures, 10 Ways Your Teller can Prevent Check Fraud, Lending 101 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 - First Horizon Bank
The bank is commemorating its 160th anniversary with the launch of the Grants for Good campaign. Through this initiative, First Horizon Bank is donating $1.6 million through the First Horizon Foundation to support nonprofit organizations. Read more here.
Ashburn - South Georgia Banking Company
The bank recently sponsored the local annual Fire Ant Festival.
Bainbridge - First National Bank
The bank recently donated to Memorial Hospital and Manor through the Georgia HEART Hospital Program. Read more here.
Blairsville - River City Bank
In celebration of Youth Art Month, the bank's Blairsville team partnered with Union County Schools to host its second-annual Youth Art Show.
Cordele - Planters First Bank
Bank team members participated in the Keep Crisp Beautiful Spring Countywide Cleanup.
Griffin - Georgia Banking Company
The bank’s Griffin branch recently hosted a Business After Hours with the Griffin Spalding Chamber of Commerce.
Hawkinsville - Planters First Bank
The bank sponsored and took part in Hawkinsville's Annual Blessing of the Crops Prayer Breakfast on March 19.
McRae - The Merchants & Citizens Bank
The bank sponsored the recognition luncheon for the employees of Telfair County where were several long-term employees were recognized for their years of service.
Metter - Queensborough National Bank and Trust Company
The bank recently became the first home of a SWIRL Literacy Council book bench. The goal of the program is to place book benches in local businesses to provide easy access to books and literacy resources.
Newnan - United Bank
The bank donated to the Coweta Samaritan Clinic’s “Enhancing and Expanding Care” initiative, which will help convert a portion of the current facility into a new dental services wing.
Perry - SunMark Community Bank
Bank team members recently took part in Career Day at Kay Road Elementary School, where they spoke to 4th and 5th graders about jobs in banking and led a financial literacy exercise.
Soperton - Georgia First Bank
The bank has sponsored the Dublin-Laurens County Chamber of Commerce 2024 Ambassador Program.
Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank
Bank team members recently presented to Rocky Branch Elementary 5th graders for Career Day.
South Georgia Banking Company
First National Bank
Planters First Bank
Georgia Banking Company
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.
United Bank
SunMark Community Bank
Oconee State Bank

GBA Newsmakers

Check out these Georgia bankers making news this week:

Atlanta - Ameris Bank
Martha Dunn has joined the bank as branch market manager.
Atlanta - Georgia Banking Company
CEO Bartow Morgan Jr. was recently featured in the This Month in Banking podcast.
Augusta - BankSouth Mortgage
BankSouth Mortgage was voted Best Mortgage Lender and Alan Rabun (from the Rabun lending team) was voted as Best Loan Officer in the Home Builders Association of the Greater Aiken-Augusta Region Stellar Awards.
Douglas - Douglas National Bank
The bank was named by Douglas Now as its Small Business Partner of the Year for 2024.
Griffin - United Bank
Bank team member Cathy Laseter recently retired.
Jasper - Community Bank of Pickens County
Ashley Fagan has joined the bank as a teller.
Macon - American Pride Bank
Rolando Dixon has been promoted to assistant vice president/commercial relationship manager.
Macon - Planters First Bank
The bank’s Macon location won Gold awards in the Local Financial Institution and Financial Planning categories at the 2024 41NBC Viewer's Choice Awards. Read more here.
Pine Mountain - First Peoples Bank
Melissa Harman has been promoted to banking officer, branch manager.
Valdosta - CBC Bank
Taylor Biddle has been promoted to Chief Lending Officer and senior vice president. Read more here.
Watkinsville - Oconee State Bank
The bank recently received the Georgia SBA award as the Top Third-Party Lender for fiscal year 2023.
Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins
The assurance, tax and advisory firm has been recognized as one of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms, Regional Leaders, and Fastest Growing Firms in the U.S. for 2024. Read more here.
Martha Dunn
Cathy Laseter
Ashley Fagan
Rolando Dixon
Melissa Harman
Taylor Biddle
BankSouth Mortgage
Douglas National Bank
Oconee State Bank

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.
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