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May 10, 2024

Congrats to Banking and Compliance School Grads

It was an electric week in Athens with a record number of graduates in GBA’s two advanced bank management schools. Nearly 200 bankers participated in the week-long school session. Congratulations to the 49 bankers who earned their Georgia Banking School diplomas and the 18 bankers who earned Compliance School diplomas. There were 55 First Year banking school class members, 53 Second Year banking school class members, and 13 bankers participated in Year One of Compliance School. GBA Chairman Rhodes McLanahan, First American Bank & Trust Company, gave a commencement address to the graduates of both Schools. “You, as emerging leaders in banking, are tasked with weaving integrity, innovation and insight into the fabric of your careers. Remember, it’s not just the roles you hold, but the values you uphold that define your true success in this industry,” he said. One of the Banking School honor graduates this year, Taylor Jenkins of Flint Community Bank, summed up his experience particularly well. “With as fast and complicated as life gets these days, it is so special to have time set aside with colleagues and friends where we can share and learn from one another,” he said. “The knowledge in and of itself is a huge takeaway and worth the price of admission each year, but the relationships and connections are, like most things in life, the sweetest reward.”
Class of 2024 Graduate of Distinction:
Matthew Ashe, Synovus Bank, Alpharetta
Class of 2024 Honor Grads
(From L-R) Top row: Matthew McClure, American Commerce Bank, Bremen; Taylor Jenkins, Flint Community Bank, Albany; Ryan McShane, Renasant Bank, Duluth. Bottom row: Jessica Lynch, Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, Milledgeville; Anna Bryant, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton; Cayce Baver, Pinnacle Bank, Monroe.
Winning Bank Exec Team: Community A (A1)
(From L-R) Sam Marsh, Altamaha Bank and Trust Company, Vidalia; Seeb Lacey, Morris Bank, Warner Robins; Sarah Peacock, BankSouth, Greensboro; Shea Campbell, First National Bank, Bainbridge; Kaleb Holton, United Bank, Jackson; Ryan McShane, Renasant Bank, Duluth.
Winning Bank Exec Team: Community B (B4)
(From L-R) Robert McLean, HomeTrust Bank, Suwanee; Anna Bryant, Pinnacle Bank, Elberton; August Shearouse, Bank of Newington, Springfield; Mario Davis, F & M Bank and Trust Company, Manchester.
Winning Compliance School Case Study Team
(From L-R) Compliance School Board Chair Thomas Williams, United Bank, Griffin; Brittany King, The Citizens Bank of Georgia, Cumming; Malissa Allen, First Bank of Pike, Molena; Elizabeth Jordan, Citizens Bank of the South, Sandersville; Beverly Walter, United Bank, Griffin; Eddie Cole, Great Oaks Bank, Eastman; Compliance School Director Jim Bedsole, BankSouth, Greensboro.

Bedsole Gets Special Compliance School Honor

BankSouth’s Jim Bedsole, GBA Compliance School Board member and co-founder of the school, is retiring Aug. 1, so this was the last school session for him as a faculty and board member. During the school graduation ceremony last week, United Bank’s Thomas Williams, school chair, recognized and honored Bedsole for his contribution to the community of Georgia’s banking compliance professionals. “Thank you for all you have done for GBA, as well as for all you have done to make the Compliance School a success. I have enjoyed developing course curriculums and teaching side by side with you, but most of all, I appreciate your friendship.” Read his full remarks here. Williams presented Bedsole with an award recognizing his leadership and service to the school and GBA, and he presented Bedsole with an honorary Compliance School diploma.

Housing Survey Offers Glimpse into Homeowners’ and Renters’ Thinking

As our members are the key lenders for single- and multifamily residential construction, we follow surveys tracking consumer attitudes, which help developers and bankers alike plan for the future. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York published its annual housing survey this week, and we poked around to see what consumers were thinking.
  • Renters guessed their probability of ever owning a home was 40.1%, down from 44.4% a year ago
  • Over the next 12 months, they predicted home prices would increase by 5.1% and rents would increase by 9.7%
  • Mortgage rates were predicted to rise to 8.7% in 12 months and to 9.7% in three years
  • Homeowners were more optimistic about refinancing within the next as 6.3% felt that would be an option compared to 4.1% last year.
The news release and links to components of the full survey may be found here if you want to compare those attitudes to those you’re hearing from your local builders and consumer clients. Renters may be less optimistic about their chance of homeownership, although the graph below from the survey shows they clearly prefer owning a home over renting.

Last Call!

2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference

Ag bankers, you still have a shot to snag a last-minute ticket for the GBA 2024 Rural Development and Lending Conference, May 16-17 at the King & Prince on St. Simons.
  • Agenda Highlights: Economic development panel, fruit and vegetable update, crop insurance, and more.
Get all the details and register here. Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor: CSRA Business Lending and Silver Sponsor: Point to Point Environmental.

Successful Trip to Washington, DC, This Week

GBA's advocacy team spent several days this week making the rounds with the Georgia congressional delegation and their staffs sharing our views on a variety of issues. Tripp Cofield, Bo Brannen and Elizabeth Chandler delivered a letter from the GBA Agriculture Committee about the pending renewal of the Farm Bill and its components. They also encouraged support of the ACRE Act, which would provide a tax exemption for interest earned on loans secured by farm real estate, the SAFE Banking Act that would enable banks to serve state-licensed cannabis businesses and legislation designed to tailor the pending small business data collection requirement from the CFPB. Additionally, our delegation members were encouraged to oppose the Credit Card Competition Act, which would upend credit card routing requirements and the payments ecosystem generally. Other items were on the agenda as well, but those are the highlights. Please reach out to any of these three with questions.

How to Help Rural Hospitals and Get a Tax Credit

Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns has asked us to make sure members know about a tax credit program that can benefit qualified rural Georgia hospitals that need significant financial assistance. The Georgia Heart Program was established through legislation that took effect in January 2017, with eligibility categories for individual and corporate taxpayers who contribute to qualified rural hospital organizations (“RHOs”) located in Georgia. The program is accepting applications through June 30. Get more details here, and here is the list of participating hospitals throughout the state that would benefit.

Fed Lending Officer Report Indicates Cautious Approach

The Federal Reserve’s April 2024 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey from the first quarter shows overall lower loan demand and that banks continue to be cautious with underwriting. It did note that fewer banks reported they’d tightened lending standards. See how or if heir views, summarized below, reflect what you’re seeing in your bank, as this survey is among large national and regional banks.
  • Business Loans: Banks tightened standards for commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, with weakened demand across all firm sizes.

  • Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Loans: Widespread tightening of lending policies observed, accompanied by weaker demand, particularly in construction and land development sectors.

  • Residential Real Estate (RRE) Loans: While lending standards tightened for some categories, demand weakened across most RRE loan types and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

  • Consumer Loans: Banks tightened standards and terms across all consumer loan categories, with notable adjustments in credit score requirements and interest rate spreads, leading to declines in demand for auto loans and credit cards.

Notice of GBA Insurance Trust Annual Meeting

The Georgia Bankers Association (GBA) Insurance Trust’s Annual Membership Meeting will be held during the 2024 GBA Annual Meeting on Monday, June 10, 2024, at 7 a.m. in Naples, Florida. This meeting is for employees covered under the various insurance plans offered by the GBA Insurance Trust. The purpose of this meeting will be to receive a report about GBA Insurance Trust operations, elect directors, and ratify the various acts of the directors since the last meeting. For further details regarding the GBA Annual Meeting, please visit the event website here, or find it at CEO’s of participating member companies have been notified and have been asked to post or email the meeting notice for all their employees to see. With questions, contact Tripp Cofield, GBAIT president and CEO, 617.909.9530.

Crime and Punishment

Waycross Man Gets 14 Years for Ameris Robbery

Matthew McCloskey, 34, of Waycross, was sentenced to 168 months in prison after pleading guilty to robbing an Ameris Bank branch in Waycross in September 2022. The judge ordered that McCloskey’s sentence run concurrently with a state sentence on a kidnapping conviction related to the bank robbery, ordered him to pay $877 in restitution, and to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Read more here.

Attention Attorneys!

Status of Important Cases - May 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.)

Deadline is May 24

Only Two Weeks Remain to Complete GBA's Banking Compensation Survey

Data collection is still open for the GBA Banking Compensation Survey, and we hope we can count on your bank to participate this year. Our survey provides best-in-class compensation information, offering a combination of accuracy and affordability. Data is provided for more than 280 jobs and positions, and the in-depth policies and practices portion of the report includes information on salary increases, merit increases, structure adjustments, outsourcing, turnover and recruiting.
Important Upcoming Deadlines:
  • Survey Submission Due Date: May 24
  • Survey Results Published: Week of Aug. 12.
The report is $595 for participants, and $1,475 for non-participants. If you have not received your participation email, please contact Rhonda Snyder at She will follow up with you to make sure you have access to the survey materials.

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.

Spots filling fast!

Information Security Officer Seminar, June 5 at 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.
With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

GBA Partner Abrigo

Understanding and Preventing Check Fraud - Free Webinar May 16 @ 2 p.m.

We know every bank is looking for ways to protect against the increased threat of check fraud. In an age where digital transactions dominate, traditional methods of payment such as checks still pose significant risks. Check fraud, in particular, remains a persistent challenge for banks in Georgia, with hard dollar losses at an all-time high. During this upcoming webinar on May 16, GBA partner Abrigo has asked a U.S. postal service inspector to reflect on their experiences with check fraud, discuss specific cases, and identify key tips for identifying check fraud. Key takeaways include:
  • Recognizing red flags and common scams of check fraud
  • Implementing robust fraud prevention measures
  • Leveraging technology for enhanced security
  • Establishing effective policies and procedures for check processing
  • Educating employees to spot potential fraud attempts.

Registration now open!

BSA Peer Group Meeting, Virtual Session, June 6

Registration is open for our next BSA Peer Group Meeting. Join GBA's BSA Summit lead facilitator, Kristen Stogniew, from the comfort of your office.
Registrants will be able to submit industry hot topics during the registration process to discuss during the meeting.
With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Registration now open!

Inaugural Internal Audit Peer Group Meeting, Macon, June 18

Be a part of our first ever Internal Audit Peer Group meeting on June 18 at Idle Hour Golf & Country Club in Macon. Darren Shuster and Mike Thomas with Crowe LLP will facilitate the meeting covering industry hot topics.
With questions, contact Aimee Corcoran, 404.420.2035.

Spotlight on Mental Health Month from GBAIT Wellness Partner

May is Mental Health Month, a reminder to prioritize your emotional wellbeing. Taking care of your mental health is as important as your physical health. Don't hesitate to reach out for support or seek professional help if needed. GBA Insurance Trust wellness partner SentryHealth's Mental Health Specialists are available to help with whatever you may be struggling with. All services are available at no charge to member bankers covered by the GBA Insurance Trust. Contact Lee Monroe and Jayn Lawson for information. If you are an employee of a participating member company and are ready to do something good for your health today, schedule an appointment at or on the MySentryHealth app, available on the App Store or Google Play.

Webinars - Great for Fundamentals Training

Opening Accounts for High Risk Customers, Consumer Lending Program, Motivating and Managing Your Team 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.

Compliance Alliance – Question of The Week and Did You Know?

Question: We have a customer who has made three withdrawals on three consecutive business days of $8,000, $7,000, and $2,500. At what point can we, or do we say they are structuring?
Answer: This will likely ultimately require an internal determination by the bank based upon any applicable internal/investor guidelines or historical practices, as the definition of "structuring" seems to suggest that the term can be applied to a transaction of "any amount," so long as the facts of the situation meet the definition of the term below:
"Structuring transactions occurs when a person, acting alone or in conjunction with, or on behalf of, other persons, conducts or attempts to conduct one or more transactions in currency, in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner, for the purpose of evading the CTR requirements."
Did You Know? Did you know that a review of ACH originators should be conducted annually?
This review can be done with other customer visits, like onsite reviews for online banking business customers (remote deposit capture, ACH, and wire online banking customers).
An annual review can assist in meeting Corporate Account Takeover (CATO) and ACH guidance.
Live Demo Signups for Compliance Alliance:

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 - Citizens Trust Bank
The bank hosted the Basics in Budgeting and Savings workshop for the families of Fulton County Schools at the Family Financial Literacy and College Awareness Night.
Atlanta - Georgia Banking Company
The bank sponsored the 2024 Root Ball, an event that supports the mission of Trees Atlanta.
Bainbridge - First Port City Bank
In celebration of Nurse's Appreciation Week, the bank treated the nurses at Memorial Hospital and Manor to ice cream.
Dublin - The Citizens Bank of Laurens County
The bank named Paris White, Derick McRae and Allie Grace Johnson as recipients of the June Moore Scholarship.
Hinesville - Queensborough National Bank and Trust Company
In celebration of Nurse's Appreciation Week, the bank’s Hinesville branch staff celebrated the nurses at Diversity Health Center by bringing lunch.
Macon - Planters First Bank
The bank was a Bronze Sponsor and had a team participate in the recent Salvation Army of Macon Golf Tournament, including Taylor Calhoon, Jamie Langham, Bailey Eberhardt and Gray Way.
Milledgeville - Exchange Bank
The bank has awarded Evan McGalliard the Exchange Bank Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. Read more here.
Citizens Trust Bank
Georgia Banking Company
First Port City Bank
The Citizens Bank of Laurens County
Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co.
Planters First Bank
Exchange Bank

GBA Newsmakers

Check out these Georgia bankers making news this week:

Athens - Bank of America
Our sympathies to the former colleagues, family and friends of Dunbar Harrison, who died recently. Harrison held roles of increasing responsibility, beginning with C&S National Bank, now Bank of America. More here.
Calhoun - North Georgia National Bank
President and CEO Lesa Downey recently received the Whitener Award at the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Small Business Awards Ceremony. Read more here.
Donalsonville - First Port City Bank
Lien Rosas joined the bank as a teller at its Donalsonville branch.
Greenville, SC - Southern First Bank
Chris Zych has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer and executive vice president.
Hahira - Citizens Community Bank
The bank announced several promotions: Mindy Green to Chief Operations Officer, Jim Doyle to Chief Financial Officer and Shelby Miller to vice president. Read more here.
Lawrenceville - Embassy National Bank
Suzanne Tracy-Schumacher has joined the bank as a deposit specialist.
Newington - The Bank of Newington
The bank recently won Effingham Living's Most Fab Bank award for the fourth consecutive year.
Rome - River City Bank
RCB Financial Corporation, the holding company of River City Bank, announced the retirement of C. King Askew as Chairman of the Board effective May 21. Read more here.
Sandy Springs - Signature Bank of Georgia
The bank recently announced its Movers & Shakers of Q1 2024: Government Guaranteed Lending Specialist Mandy Chang, Senior Portfolio Manager and Team Leader Devon Nurre and Director of Loan Operations Anna Conley. Read more here.
Swainsboro - The Citizens Bank of Swainsboro
Eric Wheeler has joined the bank as vice president.
Atlanta - Mauldin & Jenkins
Tim Messman, CPA, joined the assurance, tax and advisory solutions firm as a partner within its Financial Institutions practice. Read more here.
Lesa Downey
Lien Rosas
Chris Zyck
Mindy Green
Jim Doyle
Shelby Miller
Suzanne Tracy-Schumacher
Bank of Newington
King Askew
Signature Bank of Georgia
Eric Wheeler
Tim Messman

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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