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Communities First Official Publication of the Community Bankers Association of Georgia

JAN/FEB 2020

INSIDE: Small Business Day at the Dome Interview with Sen. William Ligon Cybersecurity Q&A CBA’s Preferred Service Providers PLUS: Learn more about Committee Chair Richy Everly & QwickRate’s Melissa Wallace

NEW BANKS ON THE BLOCK We interviewed the CEOs of the newest community banks in Georgia to learn their motivations behind starting a new bank and the unique services they are offering in their markets.


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F E AT U R E S January/February 2020

C B A S TA F F John McNair President & CEO Lori Godfrey Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, Government and Regulatory Relations Kristi Greer Senior Vice President Professional Development Charlie Crawford (l) and CBA’s John McNair (r) at Hyperion Bank (see “New Banks on the Block” on page 9)


Welcome to the New Decade!


Let’s Continue to Make Community Banking Great!

Lisa McNair Director of Finance


17 Cybersecurity Q&A

Tammy Maass Vice President, Accounting

19 Mortgage Bonds Keep Gaining Fans

l e g i s l at i v e


General Counsel Corner: New Bankruptcy Rules for Small Business Debtors


Meet Your Legislator: Senator William Ligon

21 CBA’s 2020 Conventions 21 2020 Compliance Program

Jeremy Thomens Assistant Vice President Marketing and Communications

member services

New Banks on the Block

13 Membership Committee Chair: Richy Everly 14 Preferred Service Provider Spotlight: Melissa Wallace, QwickRate

24 CBA Scholarship Applications Available

Cassie Conklin Assistant Vice President Digital Strategy and Professional Development Marketing

24 Sponsorship Opportunities 25 2020 Preferred Service Providers

Cover: CBA’s John McNair (l) with Charles DeWitt (r) at the opening of Tandem Bank s ta y connected

Lindsay Greene Vice President Member Services, Marketing and Communications

23 CBA’s Leadership Academy

s p ot l i g h ts


p ro f es s i o n a l d e v e lo p m e n t



@company/ cbaofgeorgia

Community Bankers Association of Georgia 1640 Powers Ferry Road SE, Building 28, Suite 100, Marietta, GA 30067-1425 (770) 541-4490 or (800) 648-8215 • Fax (770) 541-4496 | •

Connie Shepard Assistant Vice President Professional Development and Member Engagement Donna Coutant Professional Development Associate

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Welcome to the New Decade!

John McNair President & CEO Community Bankers Association of Georgia

“Control your own destiny or someone else will.”

– Jack Welch When I was in college in the mid 80’s and in graduate school during the mid 90’s, almost every business professor I had referenced the success of Jack Welch at GE- and for good reason. During his tenure from 1981-2001, Mr. Welch is credited for growing GE’s value by 4,000%. So, as we start a new decade, what lessons can we learn from a leader that was once named “Manager of the Century?” Mr. Welch noted three key measurements that tell you everything you need to know about an organization; they are: Customer Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Cash Flow. How do these measurements apply to community banking? CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: Mr. Welch postulated that if you have satisfied customers, you can gain market share. In a recent release from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, community banks lead both credit unions and larger/ regional banks in overall customer satisfaction. This is remarkable when you consider credit unions have the advantage of a lower cost structure due to their tax exemption and larger/regional banks have numerous advantages over community banks with respect to technology and overall scale. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: As someone who has personally visited hundreds of banks across the country, I don’t need an official “study” to tell me just how engaged employees of community banks are relative to other financial services providers. Community bank employees know firsthand just how valuable their institutions are to the respective communities they serve. Community bank employees provide exceptional service and are active in local charities and organizations. Yes, community bank employees are fully engaged in their institutions and communities! Another plus for the community banking industry.

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CASH FLOW: According to Mr. Welch, if a company gets the first two right, cash flow will happen. While I do not take exception to this statement, I respectfully suggest that in our community bank world of margin compression and limited sources of non-interest income, community banks must look to technology to improve the overall efficiency ratio in order grow NOI, cash flow and overall shareholder value. As we begin the New Year and new decade, if the key measurements to success offered by Mr. Welch are valid, the community banking industry is well positioned for success in 2020 and beyond. Certainly, it is not all clear sailing for our industry as we have many challenges. Because the competition from bank and non-bank competitors is fierce and will intensify, what must community banks do to effectively complete for the next decade? In my humble opinion Georgia’s community banks must “control their own destiny or someone else will.” Since our industry has high levels of customer satisfaction and employee engagement already, IF individual institutions commit to changing with the times and become innovators, the sky is the limit. As President/CEO of The Community Bankers Association of Georgia, you have my personal commitment that your association will help in this endeavor in any way possible. By working together, I have every confidence that Georgia’s community banking industry will be strong and viable for this decade and many to come! Here’s to a successful decade!


Let’s Continue to Make Community Banking Great!

Ron Quinn President & CEO Peach State Bank & Trust, Gainesville 2019-2020 CBA Chairman

Wow, another year gone by and what a great year for the 162 Banks in Georgia. We have all enjoyed a strong economy and good solid growth in our communities. The Community Bankers Association of Georgia went through a year of change, as we hired a new President, John McNair. Our banking organization saw a burst of new energy and enthusiasm with the passion for community banking that John exemplifies. His leadership style of getting out and visiting with, at last count, over 125 banks in Georgia and asking what issues we were facing and offering solutions through our well vetted Associate members. A little reorganization with a great staff, to make it run even smoother. Working with Lori Godfrey and the Georgia legislators and Governor Brian Kemp to get SB157 passed to allow more funding opportunities for community banks, keeping money in Georgia to be loaned to local businesses. John McNair has guided our organization very well in just one year, and I am excited for what the future will bring.

The CBA of Georgia, has taken note of these risks and developed an updated educational curriculum that will help us all as we move in the new decade of 20/20 with perfect vision. I encourage all bankers to look at the most significant risks for your community bank and be proactive in meeting them head on, by sending staff members to these training events. Let’s continue to make “Community Banking Great!”

As we move into 2020, we have a clear vision that community banks are remarkably dynamic, flexible and an innovative segment of the banking industry, and we play an essential role in our economy and financial system. A recent survey of 571 banks around the country conducted by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) identified the day-to-day challenges faced by the more that 5,000 community banks operating in the U.S. Bankers consider core deposit growth, not regulatory costs, to bethemostimportantdeterminantoffuture profitability.Most banks prioritize deposit growth over loan growth for fear of “liquidity crunches” brought on by banks “running really ‘hot’ on the loan side” and chasing deposits. Although funding was cited as the most influential factor affecting future profitability, it was not the risk bankers feared most. Cybersecurity was top of the list with more than 70% of respondents. Other key risks identified were credit risk, management and Board succession risk, market risk, operational risk, and consumer compliance risk.

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legal news and updates for cba members

Have a topic you would like to see covered in “General Counsel Corner?” Email us at generalcounselcorner @



Michael N. White

Attorney (478) 749-9921

Doroteya N. Wozniak

Attorney (404) 997-6031

January/February 2020

New Bankruptcy Rules for Small Business Debtors By Michael N. White and Doroteya N. Wozniak

On August 23, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “SBRA”). The SBRA introduced significant amendments to the Bankruptcy Code as they relate to small business debtors. One of the most significant amendments is the creation of a new bankruptcy Chapter known as Subchapter V. Subchapter V will be available to qualified small business debtors and will become effective in February of 2020. The definition of a “small business debtor” is any person engaged in commercial or business activity with aggregate noncontingent liquidated secured and unsecured debts as of the bankruptcy petition date of not more than $2,725,625. Despite this threshold, businesses with debts even in excess of $2,725,625 may qualify for this new bankruptcy chapter because contingent and unliquidated liabilities (such as guarantee claims) are not counted towards the monetary threshold. In other words, even a business with liabilities in the amount of $5,000,000 can be a small business debtor if the liabilities over $2,725,625 are contingent guarantee claim liabilities. Subchapter V is a mix between Chapter 11 and Chapter 13. Subchapter V will have standing trustees (similar to the Chapter 13 trustees) appointed to administer cases; however, these trustees will not be operating the business. Unless some extenuating circumstances exist, the Subchapter V debtors will remain in operation of the business. Subchapter V cases are expected to move through the courts much faster than the typical chapter 11 case as the debtors are required to propose a plan within 90 days after the filing of the case. The courts are also required to hold a status conference within 60 days of the filing of the case, and the debtor is required to file a report with the court that outlines the steps the debtor has undertaken to obtain a consensual plan of reorganization within 14 days before the status conference. Subchapter V also has more debtor-friendly rules as it relates to the plan process. For example, Subchapter V debtors can confirm a plan without any creditors voting in favor of the plan. Subchapter V debtors also do not have to comply with the so-called “absolute priority rule.” In a typical chapter 11 case, the “absolute priority rule” requires the debtor to pay unsecured creditors (such as guarantee claims or deficiency claims) in full if

the debtor wishes to retain ownership of the business and assets. The SBRA eliminates this requirement for Subchapter V debtors which means small business debtors can retain their assets even if they pay no funds to the unsecured claims in the case. Subchapter V debtors will be required, however, to pay their “disposable income” to creditors for a period of three to five years. Subchapter V also eliminates the appointment of creditors’ committees and the need for filing of disclosure statement before plan solicitation begins. All of these changes allow a business debtor to effectuate a cramdown plan and obtain a discharge of its debts once the debtor pays its disposable income over either 3 or 5 year period. In other words, the Subchapter V case will mimic a chapter 13 case in terms of plan repayment and trustee oversight. The SBRA has also introduced some protections for creditors by revising the preference avoidance provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Code. The SBRA added a “due diligence” requirement which requires the trustee to perform a reasonable due diligence of the case and evaluation of knowable affirmative defenses before the trustee can file an avoidance claim against a creditor. It is also notable that this “due diligence” requirement applies to all bankruptcy cases not just Subchapter V cases. Furthermore, the SBRA amendments to the Bankruptcy Code require the trustee to commence small preference cases of up to $25,000 in the district court for the district where the preference defendant resides. The changes to the preference rules are expected to make it less enticing for trustees to assert preferences causes of actions against creditors. Currently, the bankruptcy courts are in the process of revising their local rules and forms to reflect the creation of this new bankruptcy Chapter. It is expected that a lot of business debtors would prefer to proceed under Subchapter V due to the more debtor-friendly provisions in effect. In light of this preference as well as the quick deadlines in effect for plan proposal and confirmation, any Subchapter V filings will need to be screened and reviewed promptly to avoid any unanticipated negative treatment of creditor’s claims.


“General Counsel Corner,” a recurring column featuring legal news and information of interest to CBA members, is brought to you by James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP. Visit us at


Under the Gold Dome:

Meet Your Legislator! This article is this is the first in a series designed to help community bankers get to know their legislators. firm and has served as a State Senator since being elected in November 2010. Senator Ligon’s law firm specializes in real estate law, elder law, personal injury and worker’s compensation, and corporate law. Formerly, Senator Ligon served as a Municipal Court Judge for 16 years.

William T. Ligon, Jr. State Senator, District 3 (Brunswick) Chairman of the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee The 2020 Georgia Legislative Session is well underway, and your CBA is at the center of all things banking-related, looking out on behalf of our member banks. CBA’s John McNair, President & CEO, and Lori Godfrey, EVP and Chief of Staff, Government and Regulatory Relations, recently caught up with Senator Ligon for an exclusive interview. What does it take to be a citizen legislator? “Balance. Balance is the key to everything though family is always the number one priority,” stated Senator Ligon. “As a citizen (aka part time) legislator, the focus is on the 40-day legislative session, all while balancing the day-to-day tasks of having a family and running your own business. A citizen legislator has the benefit of serving in a public capacity, while maintaining a livelihood from an occupation back home. This really keeps us in touch with the people in our districts.” Senator Ligon is married to his wife Kimberly, and they have five children ranging in age from 12 to 19. In addition to keeping his family as the number one priority, Senator Ligon owns his own law

You’ve worked with banks throughout the years on real estate closings; how does that experience help you serve as Chairman of the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee? “My professional experience in representing lenders during closings has helped me to understand the need for certainty and balance within the banking industry. One of the functions of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee is to help preserve this balance. For example, in 2018 a Georgia Court of Appeals decision held that loan guarantees could be terminated by verbal agreement. This imbalance was corrected by Senate Bill 37 by making it clear that loan guarantees could be terminated or amended only by mutual agreement of the parties in writing.” What is a legislative priority for you this session? “I will be introducing a Campus Free Speech bill which will prohibit so called ‘free speech zones’ which can be used to hinder the 1st amendment rights of students,” Senator Ligon stated. He explained that college campuses should be places where students are challenged by ideas and opposing points of view. The college experience falls short when speech that expresses a view point not favored by officials must be given only in an out-of-the-way free speech zone. “All of our liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights should be protected,” said Senator Ligon. “The loss of one of these liberties means that the others are at risk as well.”

Tell me a little more about your childhood and the something that is unique about you. “When I was four years old, my family moved to Spain to serve as missionaries. We lived in Spain until I turned ten,” he explained. “I actually learned to read and write in Spanish before I learned to read and write in English. When we returned to the States, my mother had to hire a tutor to help me read English!” Senator Ligon remains fluent in Spanish and can do a full real estate closing in Spanish. Do you and your kids have any cool hobbies? “Yes! The entire family loves the outdoors. In fact, I am a beekeeper and I love to fish and hunt,” he shared. The Senator explained that the family has two horses, and he and his youngest daughter ride together. While his daughter is learning to barrel race, Senator Ligon prefers a leisurely ride. “My oldest son raises cows and plans to enroll in college next year. My second son loves metal-working. My 16-yearold daughter loves technology -- she designed my law firm’s website and runs a blog. My 15-year-old daughter has her own YouTube channel. One of the girls has her own chicken house,” he continued. Tell me more about your wife and how she makes everything run smoothly at home all while home schooling all of your children. “Well…she is an amazing person, very organized, and a hard worker who loves family,” he said. “Her outdoor hobby is gardening, which we all enjoy at harvest time. We will have been married for 25 years in July. Kimberly used to be a schoolteacher. And to top it all off…she is beautiful!”

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Small Business Day at the Dome Wednesday, February 12, 2020 • Georgia State Capitol & Georgia Railroad Depot CBA has partnered with NFIB to present the Small Business Day at the Dome. This important event is a chance for you to hear from key government leaders as well as network with other small business owners to get a first-hand account to what is happening in the Peach State! Confirmed speakers include Governor Brian Kemp and Vince Dooley. View agenda and register.

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Gov. Brian Kemp

Vince Dooley





MARCH 8–12 ORLANDO, FLORIDA Join fellow bankers and innovators at ICBA LIVE GAYLORD PALMS RESORT & to support the community banking industry. CONVENTION CENTER This is the ultimate gathering for community bankers serious about starting the new decade with supercharged networking, education and exploration. REGISTER EARLY TO RECEIVE PERKS: WWW.ICBA.ORG/LIVE2020 6 | ww m | Jan/ F eb 2020


2020 Spring PAC/PR Golf Tournaments & Topgolf Showdown Mark your calendars and plan to tee it up for Community Banking! CBA is hosting three golf outings this spring that you won’t want to miss! Proceeds from these events go to the CBA Political Action Committee (PAC) and Public Relations (PR) funds. Since CBA maintains the only state PAC working exclusively for Georgia’s community banks, the funds provide Georgia’s community banking industry a voice in state politics. Learn more and register.







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New Banks on the Block Blending High Touch with High Tech three community bank startups, most recently Private Bank of Buckhead. With that history comes familiarity with a lot of top-flight banking talent experienced in the kind of fanatical customer service I espouse. I joined Hyperion in Philadelphia in August 2017, eventually leading an $18.3 million capital raise, much of that coming from the Atlanta market. So, we have a natural customer base in Atlanta, as many of our investors from here have encouraged us to bring Hyperion to Atlanta.”

Community banking is alive and well in Georgia. In recent months, two de novo banks opened in Georgia for the first time in over a decade, another bank is in organization, and others are moving into the state. CBA is pleased to feature four “New Banks on the Block,” who share their business strategies, target markets and how they meet the specific needs of the customers they serve. You will see these banks are very similar yet totally unique at the same time. Thank you to the following CBA member banks and CEOs for taking time to visit with us for this article. Charlie Brown, President & CEO, Loyal Trust Bank, Johns Creek; Charlie Crawford, Chairman & CEO, Hyperion Bank, Atlanta; Charles DeWitt, Chairman & CEO, Tandem Bank; and Ross Mynatt, Proposed CEO, Craft Bank I.O., Atlanta. What was the driving motivation to start a new community bank in Georgia or enter the Georgia market? “The continued growth in the Atlanta market, the number of companies moving in, the dearth of community

banks that are headquartered inside the Perimeter, and Truist, the SunTrustBB&T merger, is going to create market opportunities,” explained Mr. Mynatt. Mr. Brown shared that a lack of any community bank headquartered in Johns Creek, and the growing Asian American population were reasons for Loyal Trust Bank to start a new bank. “We believe, due to the recent consolidation, there was a void in local, community minded banks. Part of our philosophy is that people desire relationships, which is where a community bank shines. The larger the bank, the more impersonal and rigid - they are built for the purpose of serving as many people possible,” shared Mr. DeWitt. “That’s not what interests us. We think there’s greater value in close personal relationships, flexibility to make common sense lending decisions, and customizing services to meet the needs of a carefully selected community.”

Bringing an established community bank like Hyperion to a new market – Atlanta – provides the best of both worlds, as we’re up and running but also can foster exactly the kind of bank our natural customer base has asked for. I would also add that, anytime there are shifts in the market – this time, in part, due to M&A activity – it’s a good time to look at evolving a bank’s presence or establishing a new one. I like to think of Hyperion’s expansion into the Atlanta market as the best of both of those worlds.” What’s in a Name? Starting a bank is an arduous process, but selecting the right name apparently is no easy task. “The name Loyal Trust Bank is credited to the board of directors that looked at over 100 names presented by me and members of the board,” explained Mr. Brown. “It was easier naming any one of our firstborn children than getting a clear name for use and for the website!”

About entering the Georgia market, Mr. Crawford explained, “I have roots here, having been in banking in Atlanta for 30 years, including having been part of

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SPOTLIGHT According to Mr. DeWitt, “Tandem Bank was inspired by the idea of a tandem bike, where both riders need to be in sync in order to get where they both want to go. The power is in the association, and the idea that no one has to go it alone. It’s the right analogy for a community bank like ours.” Mr. Mynatt shared “The idea behind Craft Bank’s name, came from Beth Martin, co-founder and proposed Chief Experience Officer. We want to form an institution that allows clients to create or craft the experience that they want and how they want to be banked,” he said. “We have even discussed the possibility of naming some retail accounts ‘individual personal accounts’ or IPAs,” incorporating a type of craft beer into the marketing.” “One of the meanings of Hyperion is “he who goes above,” and I like to think of that as a reference to the enthusiastic, tailored approach our people take in partnering with our customers. We love a challenge and enjoy seeing it through to success,” explained Mr. Crawford. Tell us about the markets you are serving? “Being a truly multi-cultural community bank headquartered in the market from the board down through the staff, we have found there to be a greater comfort by many doing business with our organization,” stated Mr. Brown. “We do have high tech products we’ll be launching in the next few months.”

Charlie Brown, Loyal Trust Bank

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“Craft Bank proposes to be active in U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture lending, as well as asset-based lending, inventory and equipment financing, and all types of commercial real estate lending, including residential and commercial construction, office owner-occupied and investorowned, industrial warehouse, and possibly selective retail deals outside of SBA. The organizers plan for the Bank to leverage technology as a market differentiator in facilitating faster loan approvals,” explained Mr. Mynatt. “Members of the proposed executive team see an opportunity based on contacts they have had from customers at other banks in recent years, expressing frustration with 2to 3-month approval processes. We have each heard that multiple, multiple times.” “Hyperion was founded in Philadelphia in 2006 and continues today as a full-service community bank. Since we opened our doors in Atlanta in September, we’ve focused on many of the same things in this market – full-service lending and deposits for individuals, small businesses, serial entrepreneurs and professionals – with an emphasis on high-touch service and technology. The way in which we

lean into service and tech may be the most unique thing about us, as many of our customers never even come to the bank; we take the banker and, in a sense, the bank to them so they can keep moving with their busy lives and the many business hats most of them wear daily. This market has been keenly responsive to that enthusiastic and engaged response.” “We like the demographics and composition of the near suburbs of Atlanta, where we can use our natural advantages of personal relationships and a deep understanding of local market needs. We also have the advantage of opening Tandem at a time when digital technology has opened the doors to convenience and access like never before,” said Mr. DeWitt. “Being “local” is in our DNA. We’re rooted in the community and we tailor our products and our decisions to fit local needs and local context,” Mr. DeWitt continued. “We pride ourselves on listening and adapting to the changing circumstances faced by small and medium-sized businesses along with local retail customers. At every turn we treat them with the respect and personal attention they deserve.”

SPOTLIGHT Competitive Advantage - Technology is the key… But that’s not everything Technology and personal service is the common thread for these new banks. All four banks emphasized investing in technology, ensuring the customer experience was convenient with secure electronic account openings, and old-fashioned adage of taking care of the customer, would always be the key to their bank’s success. “Organizers plan for the proposed bank Craft Bank to equip team lenders and treasury services agents with tablet computers linked with the home office by virtual private network (VPN), so that they can meet clients anywhere — “their office, Starbucks, Piedmont Park” — and send information back to the chief lending officer, the chief credit officer or CEO in real time, so they can begin reviewing the loan scenario immediately and propose options if needed,” explained Mr. Mynatt. “While it wouldn’t be an immediate approval as the deal would still require due diligence and final approval, it would expedite the process. This will allow us to get a start on the underwriting because the credit memo template, the framework of that memo, is being written while the banker is with the client.”

Mr. Brown noted, “At Loyal Trust Bank, in addition to the cliché’ most community banks that a higher level of service, and many state a higher level of technology, we have added the multi-cultural mix to the formula for a truly personal and comfortable banking experience and that really sets the bank apart.”

Mr. DeWitt shared Tandem’s competitive advantage. “If there’s a secret sauce, it’s that we don’t try to fit people into a cookie-cutter approach. Unlike larger banks, we make banking work for our customers, not the other way around. We take the time to understand what they’re trying to achieve, and we propose responsible but creative ways to help them get there.

When you’re not running a bank, we might find you... Charlie Brown: “With family no doubt as my first priority. Followed by music composition and recording, followed by tennis and golf. Too many hobbies, with too little time.” Charlie Crawford: “I am an avid runner and would say it keeps me as mentally fit as it does physically, because I do some of my best thinking when I am running. (My PR guy, Drew Plant, would want me to share that I am past chair of the Atlanta Track Club, which is most known for putting on the annual Peachtree Road Race every July 4.) I also enjoy tennis and team sports. I also enjoy being involved in the community, including business organizations. I genuinely enjoy such service and the many friends made through it.”

Our business model is based on leveraging technology to make it easier to bank with us, utilization of small satellite office, rather than branches, and a relentless focus on the customer experience.

Charles DeWitt: My wife and I enjoy watching our boys complete in high school sports. I also like cycling and working out. You can also find me doing church related work and serving on various community boards.

At heart we see ourselves as entrepreneurs, just like many of our customers. So our success is all about leveraging a good idea, in this case a new form of community bank, into a lasting enterprise that makes a difference in people’s lives. Our growth is going to come from investing in the community and creating a positive customer experience at every turn that inspires people to do business with us.”

Ross Mynatt: I’m an avid tennis player and I love to bicycle. My wife and I love to travel and cook together. My second daughter Emma is a freshman at Western Carolina University and we have always gone rafting on the Nantahala River. Emma has become a raft guide on the French Broad River and I was recently was a client of hers on a tour. Interesting fact - the French Broad River is one of the oldest rivers in the country and is one of two rivers in the U.S. that flows North.

Mr. Crawford summed it up – “Atlanta is abuzz with new banking activity and we’re happy to be part of that exciting mix. It means customers, business opportunities, and talented bankers are all in play and we like to be on the field, building the team, building the customer relationships and creating win-win-wins for our customers, our investors and our communities.” Congratulations to these New Banks on the Block!

Mynatt fighting the rapids on the French Broad River

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Meet CBA’s Membership Committee Chair: Richy Everly

With ten standing committees, CBA offers member community banks a way to strengthen their association first-hand. The Committee Chair, along with committee members provide valuable feedback and guidance on the needs, challenges and opportunities of Georgia’s community banks. We are pleased to feature the chair of the Membership Committee. How long have you been in banking? I began my banking career in December 1994 with Knight State Bank in Dublin, GA, so I’ve just celebrated my 25th year in the industry.

What makes your bank different? Bank of Wrightsville was chartered in 1897 and remains to be a closely held, independent Community Bank with only one location here in Wrightsville. I believe that we differentiate ourselves by being able to provide all of our customers with the type of individual attention that they have come to expect and deserve. Despite our relatively small size, we have been able to evolve along with our industry to better serve our customers and our community with virtually all of their financial needs with a level of customer service that is second to none. How does the Membership Committee help CBA members? The Membership Committee is responsible for providing insight on membership recruitment, engagement and retention. Our primary goals are to identify the needs of CBA members and to provide recommendations and resources towards the development

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR PAYMENT PROVIDER IS? IT COULD BE FITECH We are a leading merchant services provider committed to helping community banks be competitive and relevant in today’s market.

of services to meet those needs. We continually strive to keep our CBA Membership fully informed and aware of the benefits available through CBA’s resources and services – particularly in the areas of education, vendor relationships, and advocacy. Tell us about your hobbies or interests outside of work: Outside of work and family, my primary interests involve the great outdoors, most sports, and music. In fact, some may find it “interesting” that I actually still play drums in a rock and roll band that consists of childhood friends of mine – mainly for “therapeutic” benefits. If you are interested in serving on CBA’s Membership Committee, please contact Lindsay Greene.

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Preferred Service Provider Spotlight:

Melissa Wallace, QwickRate In this issue, CBA is pleased to feature Melissa Wallace, Senior Account Executive at QwickRate®, a Preferred Service Provider located in Marietta, Georgia. CBA invited her to participate in this Q&A so you can learn more about QwickRate and Melissa, herself. Tell us about QwickRate and your role with the company: QwickRate has been helping community banks for more than 30 years, by bringing them affordable, easy-to-use products and services—and providing them with capabilities that have typically been available only to larger banks. I’m a senior account executive with QwickRate and will soon celebrate my 19th year of working with community banks and helping them take advantage of the many benefits that QwickRate offers. Your members have probably seen me at all of the bank shows. How do you help Georgia’s community banks? By enabling them to employ the kinds of solutions and efficiencies that, previously, just large banks with extensive resources were able to access. QwickRate has been focused on answering the needs of community banks for over 30 years. Our goal is to make their lives easier by developing products that bankers need and can easily utilize, saving them both time and effort. We offer unlimited support and regulatory guidance. Our support team and on-staff regulatory experts are always just a phone call away, with ready answers to any questions.

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What’s new? Any hot products? If a member bank hasn’t taken a look at QwickAnalytics® yet, they need to. This online tool provides such an easy way to see where the bank’s financial performance stands compared to its peers. And tools like CECLSolver™ and Credit Stress Test enable the bank to quickly meet regulatory requirements. QwickAnalytics brings in all of the public data, for all U.S. banks, and does all the heavy lifting in terms of calculations, etc. There’s little to no work on the bank’s part. In addition, we’ve introduced a brand new solution—IntelliCredit™— which changes the game for how community banks manage loan reviews and aggregate portfolio risk. IntelliCredit includes services, software and analytics, which can transform a process that is very dated in most banks. Unlike so many risk-focused fintech tools, IntelliCredit was created by true credit specialists whose decades of expertise in managing and analyzing credit risk inform every data point, chart and calculation. The solution blends both institution-specific public and non-published data, which is difficult for many banks to do on their own. The QwickRate Non-brokered CD Marketplace is especially popular right now, because there’s always more emphasis on liquidity and diversified funding as the economy nears the later stages of the current cycle. Regulators place real importance on a bank’s abilities to demonstrate diversified liquidity sources and maintain availability of contingency funding, and the Marketplace helps bankers address both requirements. Remember that all of the QwickRate products are subscription-based and available to an unlimited number of users in the bank.


Tell us a little more about you: I’m an Auburn grad who loves Auburn football. I have two kids, aged 19 and 13. If you asked someone here at QwickRate, they would probably tell you that I have an incredible eye for decorating and just about anything else that’s visual in nature. But I’m also known around the office for my love of research and learning. My customers are the best people ever, and they make my job of helping them a joy. Apparently I have a knack

for putting people at ease, because I seem to be a magnet for people who will tell me their deepest, darkest secrets. But don’t worry. Once something goes into my vault, it never comes out. What do you do for fun outside of work? I like to read, decorate and hang with the family, not necessarily in that order. In my down time, you’ll usually find me attending whatever sport the kids are into at the moment. Right now, that’s basketball.

For more questions on QwickRate, contact Melissa at (678) 797-4088 or



We often begin relationships with traditional tax or audit services, but clients quickly realize we can offer so much more. By listening to your needs, we connect you with our experts to help accomplish what’s important to you. From technology solutions and wealth management to transaction advisory services and executive recruiting, it’s time to take a closer look at Warren Averett and all we have to offer. Let’s Thrive Together.



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High-performance tools. For high-performance community banking. With QwickRateÂŽ, your bank can access tools and services that larger banks have long enjoyed. Community banks all over Georgia count on us for non-brokered CD funding and investing, performance analysis and regulatory tools. Now they can also stem credit losses with our loan review and credit risk management tools. Contact Melissa Wallace today to learn more and sign up for your 6-month free trial of QwickAnalyticsÂŽ.

Premier online source for non-brokered CD funding and investing

Powerful online analytics and regulatory tools that every bank can afford

High-tech risk management tools and cost-effective loan reviews that drive down credit losses

Schedule a private tour of our solutions at Sign up for 6 months of free access to QwickAnalytics at

Melissa Wallace 678.797.4062 800.285.8626


Solutions for Success:

Cybersecurity Q&A What are the regulators focusing on related to cybersecurity management?

The Solutions for Success series features timely issues and best practices from CBA Associate Members. “One of the benefits of my role at the CBA is that I get to have conversations with associate members who are on a mission to help community bankers. I recently visited with Zach Duke, Founder and President of Finosec, about the key areas that his team is seeing related to risk management,” explained Lindsay Greene, VP of Member Services at CBA. What are the cybersecurity risks that a community bank should be concerned about today? During my 20-year career in cybersecurity for banking, I have seen our industry continue to focus on protecting our systems. However, the hackers continue to target our systems with more sophistication, and the greatest concern currently are targeted phishing attacks. These phishing attacks, or spear phishing attempts, are emails that are prepared for a specific group or individual with verbiage that make the email all the more believable. Last year there was an attack that was a game changer in our industry, a spear phishing attack was sent to the BSA (Bank Secrecy Act) officers at credit unions across the country. By targeting the BSA officer, the attackers were able to have the email verbiage specific to money laundering and wire transfer. Money laundering and wire transfer are two areas that are a focus for BSA officers, increasing the likelihood of them clicking the attachment. To further our industry risk, getting emails and job titles of bankers is simple. There is an entire industry providing contact information at businesses, and I personally get multiple emails a week, soliciting banker contact lists by job role with email addresses. Unfortunately, getting a list of employees by job role at community banks is not difficult.

At Finosec, we see the regulators focusing on the independence of the information security officer. Per the FFIEC, the Information Security Officer (ISO) is mandated to be independent of IT. The concept of role separation is not new for the regulators, they have always focused on the independence in oversight for all areas of the bank. Bankers realize that regulators require the employees performing work in high-risk areas should not also be responsible for validation, and information security is not different. There are multiple challenges for community banks in providing independence of information security including technical and regulatory expertise, limited resources, and a reliance on outsourced IT management. There has been a trend in community banking over the last decade to outsource IT management and this process has naturally reduced the number of direct employees that have technical and regulatory expertise. Examiners expect that the ISO is independent, often requiring community bankers to select an employee that doesn’t have the technical and regulatory knowledge. This has started a trend where community banks are looking for third party partners to support their ISO, but the independence requirement isn’t alleviated, the information security vendor should also be independent of systems management including technology support, managed services, and core processing. Zach Duke is the President and Founder of Finosec, a fintech company whose mission is to simplify the validation of cybersecurity and information security management in banking. Zach can be reached at or 770.268.2765.

Zach Duke

President & Founder Finosec A CBA Associate Member

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Products. Education. Guidance.

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speaking engagements in 2018 years of community banking service

Balance sheet management can be complicated. Finding a team that can help your community bank learn and grow every step of the way doesn’t need to be.

Learn more from the professionals community banks trust. Visit us at or contact us at 800-422-6442. Institutional investors only. Members FINRA/SIPC.


Mortgage Bonds Keep Gaining Fans Community Banks Add Weighting to Loan Surrogates MBS is that the repayment of principal is almost entirely in the hands of the property owners. Nevertheless, it’s easy to understand why a community bank would own a lot of pools.

If your community bank’s bond portfolio looks like the rest of the industry’s, you own more mortgage-backed securities (MBS) than ever. There are a bunch of reasons for this, most of which you’re aware of, but some you may not be. The MBS that community banks tend to own are a small piece of the overall mortgage pie. Around 88% of all mortgage securities are backed by 30-year fixed rate loans, which have scant appeal to bank portfolio managers. Thirty-year fixed rate pools long durations, back-loaded cash flows and price volatility profiles are outside of policy limits for most community banks. Nevertheless, there are enough mortgage bonds that do fit these risk/ reward profiles to go around. We will discuss some of the more popular items, and where the current opportunities reside. Perhaps it’s time for a ride on the MBS Express. Growing trend The average community bank has around 60% of its bonds in some type of amortizing securities. These include the garden variety straight pass-thrus, adjustable rate MBS, collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and Small Business Administration (SBA) pools. They are almost all issued by the federal government or its agencies, have good liquidity and low risk weights. And, since they act like loans, bankers can get their minds around the cash flows. That’s not to say they can totally control them. One of the drawbacks of

Market machinations Over the past decade, there has been a supply shift in the mortgage bond market. The overall MBS market has barely grown since 2008, when total outstanding balances were about $9.5 trillion. Today, they are right at $10 trillion outstanding, which is only a 4% increase in more than 10 years. Also different is the noticeable growth in the multifamily MBS sector. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued around $140 billion in multifamily bonds annually in recent years, more than twice that of a decade ago. While they are still a minority of all outstanding MBS, they represent most of the overall mortgage market’s growth. They also have different cash flow characteristics, as there are principal lockouts and prepayment penalties attached to many of these pools that can help stabilize the overall portfolio’s duration swings. Value investing Yet another reason to consider adding MBS is the Fed’s still-active management of its still-large balance sheet. Since 2017, it has shed more than $350 billion of MBS and will continue to do so, even as it attempts to get down to an equilibrium level. All its recent additions to its balance sheet for the purpose of stabilizing the overnight repo market were in Treasury securities and were expressly not quantitative easing (QE), according to Chairman Jay Powell. The Fed is not adding any MBS to its holdings and has no plans to do so.

spreads to widen, if not dramatically, then at least noticeably. Recently, 15year fixed rate pools, which are the product of choice for many community banks, were available at spreads of around 60 basis points (.60%) over Treasuries. That may not sound like much, but that is around 15 basis point better than the beginning of the year; further, spreads on many of the other products that community banks own actually narrowed on the year. The skeptics of this sector (you know who you are) would possibly assume that the spread widening has caused the market value of their currently held MBS to crater. They, on balance, would be wrong. The Fed’s rate cuts produced enough of a tailwind to all investment sectors so that prices actually rose in 2019; it’s just that mortgage bonds’ prices didn’t rise as much as others. That would seem to indicate relative value. In sum, there are several back stories to the mortgage security market going on that have created “opportunities.” One need not step out of his or her comfort zone within the MBS market to take advantage. Maybe 2020 will be a year of relative stability with interest rates, which could cause yield spreads to return to historical levels. All these are reasons for your community bank to be a fan of mortgage-backed securities.

Jim Reber

President & CEO ICBA Securities A CBA Preferred Service Provider - Diamond Level

In the second half of 2019, the combination of the Fed being a net seller of MBS and the cash flow volatility produced by three rate cuts caused yield

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Corporate Headquarters 5010 McGinnis Ferry Rd. Alpharetta, GA 30005


Additional Locations in Atlanta, Las Vegas, England, Poland

Rev 1. 12/2019


Save the Dates:

CBA’s 2020 Conventions! CBA’s 42nd Annual LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, and Development) Convention & Mini-Trade Show (formerly known as the Leadership Division Convention) will be held Thursday-Sunday, June 11-14, 2020, at The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, FL. In addition, the 52nd Annual Convention & Mini-Trade Show will be held Thursday-Sunday, September 24-27, 2020, at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa at Miramar Beach, FL. The program topics and speakers for each convention are being selected. If you are interested in sharing your ideas, contact us at For exhibitor and sponsorship information, please contact Lindsay Greene at



2020 Compliance Program Grab the KEYS to participate in the Community Bankers Association of Georgia’s (CBA) Compliance Program. Managing an effective compliance program requires ongoing professional development. Join the 2020 Compliance Program where we have enhanced the training programs and added new topics while maintaining the continued learning environment and networking benefits. CBA’s compliance program is intended to educate community bankers on updated compliance topics and regulatory issues that are useful and applicable to the ongoing bank strategy. This opportunity is designed for the banks’ compliance officers by providing annual education, techniques for monitoring and enforcing regulations which support the regulatory compliance success of community banks. Learn more and register.

New Topics - Quarterly Programs Include: •

Fair Lending, CRA and ECOA GMI Collection

Retail Lending, e-SIGN and BSA Hot Topics

Deposits: Front Line and Operations

Flood, Appraisals and Applications

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Financial Institutions Group

We understand this business inside and out. Leadership, experience, technology, innovation, strength, and satisfaction…these are the expectations of our correspondent banking clients. As one of the leading correspondent banks in the country, we are uniquely qualified to deliver on these expectations. Let us help you work to your strengths. Know where you’re going by working with someone who’s been there. We know this business inside and out. We know where it’s been, and where it’s headed. We’re here to create opportunities for your success.

1-800-644-3330  fig g Brett Lancaster  SVP - Relationship Manager - 205-238-0927 T. Ray Sandefur  SVP - Credit Services Director Bob Fre eman  EVP - Managing Director

All loans and accounts subject to approval, including credit approval. © 2019 BBVA USA Bancshares, Inc. BBVA and BBVA Compass are trade names of BBVA USA, a member of the BBVA Group. BBVA USA, Member FDIC. 12/2019


CBA’s 2020 Leadership Academy The sessions are designed to build upon each other so that each leader can create action plans for successful practice in their banks. You will see value plus change. Leaders choose to professionally grow their knowledge. This series will encourage not only workshop participation but also ongoing self-development. Click here to view sponsors and register. In 2020, each session will cover 1.5 days of learning and development and will take place on Tuesday afternoon & evening and all day Wednesday: •

Session I - Tuesday - Wednesday, March 17-18 Winning Together: Becoming the Leader Your Team Needs and Wants

Session II - Tuesday - Wednesday, May 19-20 Leadership Impact & Mindset Training

Session III - Tuesday - Wednesday, July 21-22 Leading Through Effective Communication

Session IV - Tuesday - Wednesday, September 15-16 Utilizing the Tool Belt in Your Bank

TESTIMONIAL: “This is, by far, the best training I’ve ever attended. The program has been so well thought out and organized. I feel I’ve flourished as a leader and as a person in general. All aspects of my life have been touched and enhanced. I attribute so much of my recent success to this Academy. I’ve been able to take lessons learned here and apply them to situations at my bank to make positive changes. I would recommend this Academy to any aspiring leaders.” – Stephanie Jordan, SunMark Bank

At Stokes Carmichael & Ernst LLP, we have been bringing “The Power of Legal Knowledge®” to the challenges faced by the financial community in the areas of credit and collections, banking litigation, fraudulent conveyance litigation, bankruptcy representation, defense of lawsuits, and loan workouts since we opened in 1972. Our clients appreciate the “Real World Legal Solutions®” that we bring to the myriad legal matters facing banks today. We welcome the opportunity to put our experience to work for you. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you optimize recoveries for your bank.

1972 - 2020



Stokes Carmichael & Ernst LLP

Stokes Carmichael & Ernst LLP | 404.352.1465 x441

THE POWER OF LEGAL KNOWLEDGE® J an / Fe b 2 0 2 0 | G e org i a Co m m un i ti es F i rs t | 23


CBA’s Memorial Scholarship Applications Are Available! The Walraven Scholarship is awarded in the amount of $500 to a bank employee who desires to continue their education while working full-time at a CBA member bank. The scholarship is named after the late J. Steven Walraven, an active community banker who exemplified professionalism and community involvement. To compete, employees must write a short essay on how community banking has impacted their life and how it will enable them to give back to their community.

The Community Bankers Association of Georgia (CBA) is proud to offer the 2020 Julian & Jan Hester Memorial Scholarship and the J. Steven Walraven Scholarship! The Hester Scholarship is open to Georgia high school seniors who will be entering a Georgia college, university or technical school (two year program or more) in the fall semester of 2020. The scholarship is named after the late Jan Hester, daughter of Lalia and the late Julian Hester, long-time CEO of the CBA. The four winning recipients will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. CBA’s Leadership Division proudly assists with this initiative.

Applications for either scholarship should be returned to the bank no later than Friday, April 3, 2020. All completed applications should be submitted by the bank to CBA no later than Friday, April 10, 2020. Only complete applications will be eligible. A panel of independent judges will review the applications and winners will be announced in late April 2020. Please visit to download the scholarship applications and encourage participation from your community. For more information, please contact Jeremy Thomens at

Target Your Audience With a Sponsorship! What’s the easiest and most economical way to increase your name recognition among CBA’s member banks while advertising your products and services? Event sponsorships! From Professional Development programs to conventions to events like clay shoots, golf tournaments, Women in Banking, or Day at the Dome, CBA offers a wide variety of sponsorships, designed to fit any budget and target your specific audience. Sponsorships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, contact Lindsay Greene at (770) 5410376 or email

Upcoming Sponsorships:

VIEW 2020

Retail Banking Forum, Macon SPONSORSHIP Session I – March 3 MENU Session II – May 14 Session III - Sept. 17 Lunch - $275 per session - sponsor joins group for lunch only; presents to group Bank Trainers Forum | March 6, 2020 | Macon Breakfast - $200 | Lunch - $400| Break - $200 Name Badges - $200 | Manual - $500 | Door Prizes - $100 Tent Cards with sponsor logo - $150 TRID – Advanced | March 31, 2020 | Macon Prices per day: Breakfast - $200 | Lunch - $400| Break - $200 Name Badges - $200 | Manual - $500 | Door Prizes - $150 Tent Cards with sponsor logo - $150

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CBA’S 2020 PREFERRED SERVICE PROVIDERS It’s our pleasure to introduce you to CBA’s 2020 Preferred Service Providers. Each of the businesses below are strong supporters of the community banking industry and can help your bank become more profitable and efficient. All Preferred Service Providers (PSPs) have been reviewed by CBA’s Member Services Committee, which is a committee comprised of bankers from across the state. We invite you to take a look at these companies if you are not already doing business with them! DIAMOND LEVEL Harland Clarke Ryan Busenitz | | (678) 595-0625 ICBA Securities Jim Reber | | (901) 762-5884 Independent Community Bankers of America David Moore | | (770) 650-9810 James Bates Brannan Groover LLP Dan Brannan | | (404) 997-6023 SHAZAM Alex Jernigan | | (229) 220-0064 PLATINUM LEVEL Warren Averett Heather Clark | | (205) 769-3489 GOLD LEVEL ATM Response Tony Webb | | (770) 855-2989 BFS Group John Gianacaci | | (609) 915-9168 CBIZ Kris St. Martin | | (763) 549-2267 Crescent Mortgage Skip Willcox | | (478) 357-4441 FITECH Matt Mingenback | | (316) 518-8850 Genesys Technology Group, LLC David Saylor | | (770) 729-4139 Point to Point Environmental Mark Faas | | (678) 565-4435 Ext 151 Promontory Interfinancial Network Danny Capitel | | (770) 630-6796 STS Group Chris Nelson | | (205) 567-3613 Travelers Diana Baker | | (678) 317-7882 Wipfli/PKM Mary Boortz | | (715) 858- 6677

SILVER LEVEL ACG Phil Winn | | (678) 458-9899​ Eclipse Brand Builders Michael Smith | | (678) 890-1140 Executive Insurance Agency, Inc. Ryan Sower | | (770) 474-2355 Holtmeyer & Monson Arne Monson | | (800) 340-7304 Kasasa Michelle Jacobi | | (512) 349-4475 QwickRate Melissa Wallace | | (678) 797-4062 BRONZE LEVEL AgoraEversole Craig Eversole | | (601) 977-5225 Bahr Consultants, Inc. Hank Bahr | | (865) 694-6098

Interested in becoming a Preferred Service Provider? The Preferred Service Provider packages offers Associate Members the option of upgrading to package of your choice. A few benefits include early access to advertising, exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities, simplified budgeting and of course – increased exposure! All packages are reviewed by CBA’s Member Services Committee. To learn more, please contact Lindsay Greene at 770-541-0376. J an / Fe b 2 0 2 0 | G e org i a Co m m un i ti es F i rs t | 25