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    Home  I  GBA University  Member Services  I  Volunteers  I  Government Relations  Calendar of Events  March 16, 2012

     

    Legislative Update

    Important Week Ahead in General Assembly for Banking Issues

    Be sure to read this week's Legislative Update. On Monday and Tuesday next week, the House Banks and Banking Committee will hold hearings on the bill we've been telling you about that would limit the amount an acquirer of a loan or other debt obligation can recover from guarantors of the obligation under certain circumstances. The limit would be the lesser of either the amount the acquirer paid to buy the debt obligation, plus non-default rate interest, or the maximum permitted under the guaranty. The Senate unanimously passed this bill, S.B. 448, that was introduced by Sen. Don Balfour (R-Snellville). GBA is opposed to the current version; click here to read our issue brief to learn why. We're also asking our members whose representative is a member of the Banks and Banking Committee to contact your representative prior to the meetings to express your opposition. Here's a link to the committee; you can just click through on your representative's name to find contact information. On a more positive note, the Senate passed two of our priority bills this week -- one that syncs Georgia's legal lending limits relating to derivatives with federal law and the other that will standardize local foreclosure registries that have popped up around the state. Click here to read more about these important issues.
     

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    Issue Update

    ATM Fee Disclosure Suits Filed in Georgia

    Make sure your ATM signage and fee notifications are up to date. At least four lawsuits have been filed against Georgia banks during the past few weeks alleging lack of compliance with the physical ATM fee disclosure requirement in the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (Regulation E) that we’ve noted in previous GBA Bulletins (Feb. 17 & March 9). The regulation requires both a video screen notification and a prominent sign on the ATM about possible fees. These Georgia suits are examples of the anecdotes we’d heard about people and attorneys actively looking for and photographing non-compliant machines solely as the basis for filing lawsuits. The same individual is the named plaintiff each of the Georgia cases. The plaintiff is a resident of Texas and has brought similar actions in Texas. The plaintiff is represented in each of these law suits by the same law firm from Pennsylvania along with a local Georgia firm. The Pennsylvania firm has filed several similar class actions against other banks and retailers around the country. As we noted earlier, we have encouraged Congress and the CFPB to change the duplicate and unnecessary regulation to prevent such frivolous lawsuits and eliminate cost associate with compliance.

     

    “This is a prime example of the type of regulatory burden that doesn’t really help consumers but sucks money and time away from banks they could be better using to support lending and service for their customers and communities,” said GBA Chairman Rick Whaley, president and CEO, The Citizens Bank of Americus.

     

    With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler.


    500-Shareholder Threshold and Credit Union Update

    The U.S. House last week passed a small-business jobs package (H.R. 3606) that includes a provision (H.R. 4088) that would raise the current 500-shareholder threshold for Securities and Exchange Commission registration to 2,000 for financial institutions, and also raise the deregistration threshold from 300 to 1,200 shareholders. The Senate will consider the House’s version of the package, rather than its own version. We’re supportive of the shareholder registration provisions. However, there’s a complication looming for the industry. Sen. Mark Udall
    (D-Colo.) has filed as a pending amendment to the package his bill (S. 509) that would raise the member business-lending cap for a handful of large credit unions from 12.25 percent to 27.5 percent of total assets. Sen. Harry Reid
    (D-Nev.) said Thursday the bill will not be included. If for some reason it is included, we expect industry support for the small business package will evaporate. We continue to ask for your help in opposing credit union business lending expansion, Send a letter to your representative here. With questions, contact Joe Brannen, 404.420.2026, or Elizabeth Chandler, 404.420.2027.

     

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    Interpreting the Fed’s Stress Test

    The Federal Reserve’s annual stress test of large financial institutions drew lots of attention this week. The tests were designed to estimate the effects to banks’ capital of a catastrophic economic scenario. By all accounts, the scenario was dramatic – unemployment at 13 percent, stocks falling 50 percent and housing prices declining another 21 percent. How extreme is that scenario? The unemployment level nationally has not reached 11 percent since the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The Fed was clear that the test and the scenarios were not to be interpreted as predictions or forecasts. For 15 of the 19 institutions evaluated, the tests showed their Tier-1 capital in those extreme scenarios would exceed 5 percent. Capital levels at four institutions, including SunTrust, Ally Bank, Citigroup and MetLife, would be lower than 5 percent in such drastic economic conditions, the results showed. However, the results factored in capital outlay plans from those banks such as dividend increases and share buy backs. Without those capital outlay variables, SunTrust’s capital would have exceeded the 5 percent threshold. SunTrust issued a statement explaining its position and its intent to continue paying dividends at its current level. GBA was active with helping interpret the results for media from the industry’s perspective. David Oliver, GBA’s senior vice president, Communications and Marketing, did a radio interview with Atlanta’s WABE emphasizing the tests were not a pass-fail exercise, the severe hypothetical nature of the scenario and that consumers shouldn’t be concerned about the safety of their deposits. Here’s a link to the Federal Reserve’s announcement. With questions, contact David Oliver, 404.420.2036.

     

    Fed Expects Rates to Remain Low through 2014

    The Federal Reserve this week announced it will keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent, and it expects the rate will remain at exceptionally low levels through late 2014. The Federal Open Market Committee cited moderate economic expansion, improving labor conditions and unemployment numbers and increased household spending and business investment in its overview statement from its meeting this month. It also noted the continued weakness in housing and the increase in gas prices as factors weighing on the economy.

     

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    Georgia’s Forecast Job Growth Rate is Better than National Average

    Georgia’s second-quarter employment outlook is 12 percent, while the nation’s is 10 percent. The second quarter should bring a stronger pace of hiring, especially for the metro-Atlanta, according to  Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. From April to June this year, 20 percent of metro-Atlanta companies Manpower interviewed said they plan to hire more employees. Job prospects appear best in durable goods manufacturing, non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation/utilities, wholesale/retail trade, information, financial activities, professional/business services, education/health services and leisure/hospitality. Employers in construction plan to reduce payrolls, while hiring in government is expected to remain unchanged. This is encouraging, especially in tandem with the most recent decline in statewide unemployment released earlier this month. Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined for the sixth month in a row in January to 9.2 percent, the lowest rate since March of 2009 when it was 9.1 percent. The jobless rate was 10.1 percent in January a year ago, the Georgia Department of Labor said in a March 1 news release.

     

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    Small Business Optimism Grows

    Nationally, small businesses are more optimistic than they have been in four years. That’s the news from the National Federation of Independent Business‘s small-business optimism index. The index for February rose 0.4 point to 94.3 from 93.9 in January. The February figure was its sixth consecutive monthly increase and its strongest level since December 2007. Part of the study also indicates continued soft loan demand, however. Financing remained low on the list of concerns for small-business owners. Only four percent cited financing as their top business problem, compared to 21 percent each citing taxes and unreasonable regulation. Ninety-three percent reported that all their credit needs were met or that they were not interested in borrowing. Thirty-one percent reported all credit needs met, and 50 percent said they did not want a loan. Here’s a link to the report.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Some Mortgage Settlement Funds in State Control

    About $104 million of the national mortgage servicing settlement will be paid by banks to the State of Georgia. The settlement set aside such payments to go to the states to help investigate mortgage fraud as well as establish homeowner assistance programs. The money will go into the state treasury, and its ultimate appropriation will be guided by the state budget process. The Governor presents a budget to the legislature annually, and the legislature adjusts it through committees and approves a final version each year. Gov. Nathan Deal has stated his preference for the funds to be appropriated to the state’s rainy day fund to cover emergencies. It’s not uncommon for such settlement funds to be appropriated to a variety of state budget needs. Funds from the 2001 tobacco settlement have been appropriated to many different departments over the years. A recent article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution outlines the process and possibilities for how the funds could be appropriated and used.

     

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    First CPP Investment Auctions Announced

    The U.S. Department of the Treasury has announced its first auction of preferred stock Capital Purchase Program investments. Treasury intends to conduct public auctions to sell its preferred stock positions in six banks (none are in Georgia). Treasury expects to conduct the auctions, which will be registered public offerings, on or about March 26, 2012. These offerings will be executed using a modified Dutch auction methodology that establishes a market price by allowing investors to submit bids at specified increments similar to the process Treasury has used to auction warrants. More details here.

     

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    Attention Lenders: 14 New Online Courses Available

    We have 14 new lending-focused courses, products of The Risk Management Association, available in our course catalog. We know these are areas of training important to members. They begin with two high-level curricula: The Lending Decision Process and The Commercial Real Estate Lending Decision Process. Each of the curricula has six components that can be purchased separately. These are all self-paced courses. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access.

    • The Lending Decision Process is designed to teach the analytical and decision-making techniques needed to make sound credit decisions using financial accounting, financial statement analysis and cash flow analysis. This course is divided into six parts. Each part will provide learners with a foundation in the following areas of study: Business and industry risk analysis, management assessment, financial accounting, balance sheet and income statement analyses, ratio trend analysis, cash cycle and seasonality analysis, borrowing causes and repayment source assessment, cash flow analysis and Using financial projections. The courses included in The Lending Decision Process Curriculum are:

    • The Commercial Real Estate Lending Decision Process provides a comprehensive study of commercial real estate (CRE) lending, beginning with a description of CRE loan types and progressing to an understanding of the underwriting process, leases, appraisals, loan structures and related risks. The six components also include resources to help the student apply the concepts learned in each course. These resources include job aids reproducible work sheets for cash flow, compliance and important financial ratio calculations. Each series will help provide students with a foundation in CRE through the use of an innovative virtual bank. Each section is presented in an interactive format to include exercises to check for knowledge throughout the courses. Each course within the complete program includes case studies that are used to insure depth and understanding of the concepts presented throughout the program series. The courses included in The Commercial Real Estate Lending Decision Process Curriculum are:

    Please contact GBA's Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034 with questions.

     

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    Annual Meeting Brochures to be Mailed Monday

    Brochures detailing GBA’s 2012 Annual Meeting, scheduled for June 10-13 at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC, will be mailed March 19. “We have an excellent program packed with timely information, and it’s all at a great location,” said GBA Chairman Rick Whaley, President & CEO of The Citizens Bank of Americus. Attendees will hear nationally known speakers discussing many of the most pressing issues facing bankers today. Also scheduled are many great breakout sessions and networking opportunities. GBA has reserved a block of rooms at The Grove Park Inn at a reduced rate of $239 per night for single or double occupancy. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at 800.438.5800. Be sure to say you are with the GBA to receive this special rate. Check out GBA's 2012 Annual Meeting site and register here. The cut-off date for reservations is May 8. With questions about the meeting, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.

     

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    Get Business-to-Business Marketing Strategies during Marketing and Communications Conference

    You still have time to register for the 2012 GBA Marketing and Communications Conference. One of the many great sessions features  how some Georgia Banks are using technology, techniques from outside the banking industry and even some good-old-fashioned lead prospecting and referral campaigns to find new customers and get more business. Attend and learn how to put their ideas to work at your bank. Our panelists are:

    • Terri Bunten Guthrie, EVP/CLO, First Landmark Bank, Marietta

    • Adam Montgomery, AVP/Director of Marketing, The Coastal Bank, Pooler

    • Perry Revell, VP/ Commercial Banker, AB&T, Albany

    The Marketing and Communications Conference is scheduled for March 22-23 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. Click here to see the full agenda and register. With questions, please contact GBA’s Marybeth Jones at 404.420.2032.

     

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    Legal Update Highlights the Annual GBA HR Professionals Inst.

    Join Steve Greene, Helms & Greene, LLC, and Marian Exall, Employment Law Compliance, Inc., as they identify and discuss the most significant legal compliance challenges for community bankers. This session will include practical advice. Attendees will have an opportunity to raise questions and observations during this highly interactive session. The presenters will also provide take-and-use materials to assist bankers implement HR best practices. The HR Professionals Institute is March 22-23 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The Renaissance Waverly Hotel is offering GBA members a special rate of $149. The rate is based on availability so make your reservations early by calling the hotel directly at 770.953.4500. See the full agenda and register online here. For more information or to register, contact GBA’s Marybeth Jones at 404.420.2032.

     

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    New Date!

    Collections and Recovery Seminar now September 13

    GBA's Collections and Recovery Seminar will provide a comprehensive overview of fundamental legal principles involved in the collection process. After completing the program, participants will have a working knowledge of the general collection process. This seminar will be held at Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. The registration fee is $225 per person and $175 for any additional registrants from the same institution. Gary Moser of Moser, Rose and Hayes, will lead the workshop. Click here to register. With questions, please contact GBA's Courtenay Pope at 404.420.2015.

     

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    Coming up March 28

    Dujenski, Braswell and Stanley on Regulatory Panel at Southeastern Community Bank Symposium

    Don’t miss the opportunity to ask your regulators questions at the Southeastern Community Bank Symposium  March 28 at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. Commissioner Rob Braswell, Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, Tom Dujenski, Regional Director, FDIC and Allen Stanley, Assistant Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank will provide an update and answer questions. Other topics on the day's agenda include an economic update, a Georgia Bankers Association regulatory and legislative update, loan review trends and a compliance update, board of directors' roles and responsibilities and much more. Take advantage of the special pricing structure by registering several people from your bank for this event. The registration fee is $149 for the first attendee and $119 per person for each additional attendee. Click here to get more info and register online. With questions, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010.

     

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    Legal Issues for New-Account Documentation and Compliance April 10

    This one-day seminar will teach new account personnel proper account-opening procedures and compliance requirements. Topics to be covered include signature-card contracts, a CIP Compliance overview, TIN compliance, individual accounts and much more. Certificate-of-deposit staff, bookkeeping and accountholder service personnel also could benefit from the seminar. GBA will host the seminar April 10 at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon. Patrice M. Konarik of Sunwest Training Corp. in Kendalia, Texas, will be presenting. The registration fee is $225 and $175 for any additional registrants from the same institution. Click here to register. With questions, please contact GBA's Courtenay Pope at 404.420.2015.

     

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    State Agricultural Update on the Agenda for Rural Development & Lending Conference May 10-11

    This year’s Rural Development and Lending Conference is scheduled for May 10-11 at the Savannah Riverfront Marriott. The Hon. John Bulloch, Chairman, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, Georgia State Senate, will give an agriculture legislative update. Other topics during the conference include real estate trends, a regulatory update, current legal issues in agriculture, a peer exchange, market trends and an economic overview. For hotel reservations, please call the hotel directly at 912.233.7722. For more information about the conference or to register, please call GBA’s Marybeth Jones at 404.420.2032.

     

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    2012 GBA Leadership Conference  will be July 22-25 at St. Simons

    Plans are well underway for Leadership GBA’s 2012 Leadership Conference July 22-25 at The King and Prince on St. Simons Island. The Leadership GBA Executive Committee is planning a great program that promises to be both timely and educational. You will get an economic update from Tim Quinlan with Wells Fargo along with a legislative update from GBA’s own Elizabeth Chandler. A panel of bank executives will share their philosophies and methods for profitably growing their institutions, and a panel of experts from Georgia Power, the Georgia Ports Authority and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce will tell us about the economic opportunities that lie ahead for Georgia. And as always, you’ll get some great leadership training from John Bird, CEO of Worklifebalance.com, who will show you how to attain leadership success in work and life.

     

    “We’re excited about our program that’s packed with solid take-home information that attendees can use at their banks,” said Leadership GBA President, Spence Mullis, President & CEO of Morris Bank, Dublin.

     

    GBA has reserved a block of rooms at The King and Prince at a reduced rate of $209 to $229. Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at 912.638.3631 or 877.543.6077. Be sure to say you are with the GBA to receive this special rate. The cut-off date for reservations is June 18. After this date, all reservations will be subject to prevailing rate and space availability. Brochures are included in this week’s Bulletin. Click here for more details or to register online. With questions about the conference or Leadership GBA in general, please contact GBA’s Susie McGehee at 404.420.2010 or Jennifer Stevens at 404.420.2024.

     

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    Webinars

    Reg Z, Financial Analysis and Uniform Commercial Code among Highlighted Offerings

    A GBA Webinar is a great way to quickly get the training you need right from the comfort of your office. Here’s a sample of upcoming offerings. Check the Calendar of Events for any webinars you're interested in at www.gabankers.com.

    All webinars are live and allow time for questions and answers. The $255 registration fee gives you access to one web site "seat," one telephone site license and all handout materials. If you can't attend the webinar, you may buy the audio CD, handout materials and a password to see the information online. With questions, please contact GBA's Courtenay Pope at 404.420.2015.

     

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    AIB Instructor Led Courses

    Agricultural Lending, Supervisor Certificate, Trustee Duties among April Lineup

    Here are the instructor-led AIB online classes offered the month of April. These courses are instructor-facilitated with weekly assignments but can be taken from your home or your office. All you need is a computer, printer and Internet access. (Classes with an asterisk * require Microsoft Excel Software.) Please register two weeks in advance to secure a seat in the class.

    Please see the AIB Online Course Schedule for a complete listing or contact GBA's Alison Moreau at 404.420.2034 with questions.

     

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    GBA Announces Renewal Endorsement of TalentQuest

    We are pleased to announce the renewal of our endorsement of TalentQuest as a GBA Strategic Partner and the preferred provider of HR talent solutions for banks doing business in Georgia. TalentQuest can help you identify, develop, manage and retain the best team of people with their talent management programs. These time-tested talent management processes provide your organization with clear data for making important human capital decisions and ensuring you have the right people in the right places to remain highly competitive. As the most successful organizations know, having the best people isn't simply an ideal; it is a competitive necessity and one of few true differentiators. TalentQuest for Financial Services integrates standardized job descriptions, competency models and Peak Performer Profiles into a system designed to guide financial institutions through each stage of the employee lifecycle. For more information, please contact Donna Edwards at TalentQuest at 404.965.5221.

     

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    Federal Flood has NFIP-approved Solutions

    Federal Flood Certification Corp. already provides GBA members with flood zone determinations that are priced lower than other providers, accompanied by unmatched personalized service, backed by a high-quality dispute resolution process and are a great way to support the GBA. Did you know that Federal Flood can also provide other standard and force-placed NFIP products such as free quotes, tracking and portfolio reviews for their clients? Learn more about that right here. For more information, please call Federal Flood’s Ed McLin at 214.441.5903, or GBA's Bo Brannen at 404.420.2014.

     

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    Get a Free Market Analysis and Save Money on Local Interest Rate Data with RateWatch

    RateWatch offers GBA members discounts on important competitive interest rate data to help your bank with pricing decisions and also to evaluate your local interest rate markets related to FDIC rules for rate caps. RateWatch acquires interest rates, fees and other product information for more than 80,000 financial institution locations. All interested GBA members will be entitled to one FREE local-area market analysis to determine the average rates for their local-area market standard deposit products. Contact Denise Beech at 800.348.1831 ext. 216, to subscribe to a new report from RateWatch today.

     

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    Find a Job, Post a Job with GBA Job Bank

    The Georgia Bankers Association offers free job posting resources for our member banks. These listings can be viewed online or through our print publication, the GBA Bulletin, mailed every other week. Resume postings are also available. For more information, please contact Kenyetta Parks at 404.420.2035.

     

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    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 Bogan Brannen.

     

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    Newsmakers

     

    Atlanta- BB&T Financial Corporation

    Garnet Reynolds has been named Vice President, Business Services Officer.

     

    Atlanta - SunTrust Banks, Inc.

    Anil Cheriyan has been named the company's new Chief Information Officer.

     

    Winder – Verity Bank

    Adam Smith has been named Vice President.

    Smith

     

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