On Wednesday, February 13th, CBA held our Grass Roots Day at the Dome. We were thrilled to show off our new format for Advocacy for our community bankers. This year, CBA provided transportation to and from the Capitol so our bankers did not have to stress with traffic and parking. We had two buses running from the North and South of Atlanta. CBA is thankful for our sponsor, Promontory Interfinancial Network, for providing our bankers with this opportunity.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, CBA had a photo opportunity with Governor Brian Kemp. Then, our bankers began working the halls of the Capitol equipped with talking points for our priority municipal deposit bill and page slips for both the House and Senate. Our bankers paged their respective Representatives and Senators to explain the importance of the municipal deposit legislation for their banks. The legislators love having their constituents at the Capitol to voice their concerns first hand. Grass roots advocacy is so powerful! This was the first time many of our bankers had actually experienced an “on the ropes” experience at the Capitol. It certainly gives you a different perspective on how things work, but it also a humbling experience as everyone had to wait in line just like everyone else.
At noon, everyone convened at the Georgia Freight Depot for a luncheon with our legislators. Governor Brian Kemp was gracious with him time and took the opportunity to join our event to kick things off. Governor Kemp’s message was the importance of making Georgia the #1 state for small businesses. Community banks are uniquely positioned to help with this opportunity as community banks provide small business loans for exactly these purposes. Bankers were seated with legislators from their districts so they could have one on one conversations about things relevant to their respective districts. Some of the freshman legislators were not familiar with bankers within their districts so this was a great place to make the introductions.
CBA is thankful for all of our bankers for stepping up and making this event a huge success! We are also thankful for Governor Kemp, Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck, Kevin Hagler of Department of Banking and Finance, members of the legislature, and staff members of various government offices for joining our event. In addition, we would like to thank James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP for their sponsorship of our event and their ongoing support throughout the legislative session.
Sen. John Kennedy (R), Macon, has agreed to sponsor CBA’s priority municipal deposit legislation. The bill has been drafted by legislative counsel. CBA’s Lori Godfrey and James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP’s John Sillay worked exclusively with the Office of the State Treasurer to hear Treasurer Steve McCoy’s concerns with the legislation as drafted. Discussions with the Treasurer resulted in several modifications to the draft language in an effort to mitigate any concerns. In addition, Lori Godfrey and John Sillay had discussions with the Department of Banking & Finance to ensure that the language of the proposed legislation does not impose any undue risk to the safety and soundness of Georgia banks. After both agencies reviewed the final draft of the bill, CBA was told that all of the risks had been mitigated. Revised language was submitted to legislative counsel and we are currently waiting for finalization of the bill so a bill number can be assigned and the bill can eventually be introduced in the Senate.
The bill will allow community banks to compete with large, often out-of-state banks, for local municipal accounts and deposits. Community banks, many in rural Georgia, would be able to accept local government’s funds, allowing these banks in turn to reinvest and loan monies back into their own communities and spur economic activity. Increased lending will spur business growth, jobs and boost statewide economic activity. Georgia is the ONLY state that does not permit local governments to utilize deposit placement services as an alternative to collateralization of public deposits. According to the FDIC, community banks make over 40% of all small business loans in the country. By keeping municipal deposits local and with local community banks, banks will have a greater ability to make more residential, commercial, agricultural and consumer loans in Georgia communities. This bill also helps community banks by greatly improving the bank’s liquidity position if this option is used instead of the direct pledging method.
Both the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and the House Banks & Banking Committee held meetings this week.
SB 20 was presented by Sen. Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett (D), Marietta. Numerous questions were asked of the author on the bill. The bill received a do pass motion from the Committee on Tuesday, February 12th.
HB 185 is the Department’s Housekeeping bill, which was presented by Rep. Bruce Williamson (R), Monroe. The committee held a hearing only on the bill and no action was taken. CBA will continue to monitor the progress of the bill.
HB 193 relating to the savings promotion raffles offered by state-charted banks and credit unions was presented by Rep. Emory Dunahoo (R), Gainesville. The committee held a hearing only on the bill and no action was taken. CBA will continue to monitor the progress of the bill.
This week, we completed days 12 through 16 of the legislative session. It has been a very busy week with lots of committee hearings. Crossover day is Day 28 of the session so time is ticking to get bills moving.
Other bills that CBA is tracking:
SB 52 relating to various ‘housekeeping’ changes to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, sponsored by Sen. William T. Ligon (R), Brunswick and Sen. Jesse Stone (R), Waynesboro, received a do pass motion from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, February 11th. Now, the bill goes to Senate Rules. CBA will continue to monitor this bill.
SB 92--Professional Licensing Board by Sen. Brandon Beach (R), Alpharetta, was introduced in the Senate. The bill prohibits professional licensing boards from refusing to issue a license or suspending or revoking the license of a person who is a borrower in default under an educational loan issued through the Georgia Higher Education Assistance Corporation or through a federal agency; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. It appears that this bill mirrors the language in HB 42 by Rep. Scot Turner (R), Holly Springs. CBA will continue to monitor this bill.
SB 110—Statewide Business Court by Sen. Jesse Stone (R), Waynesboro, was introduced in the Senate. The bill is the enabling legislation that establishes the State-wide Business Court pursuant to the Constitution of this state; to amend Code Section 45-7-4 of the O.C.G.A., relating to general provisions regarding salaries and fees, so as to designate a salary for the judge of the State-wide Business Court; to amend Title 5 of the O.C.G.A., relating to appeal and error, so as to make conforming changes regarding appeals; to amend Chapter 4 of Title 9, Title 23, and Code Section 33-39-21 of the O.C.G.A., relating to declaratory judgments, equity, and equitable relief relative to insurance, respectively, so as to make conforming changes regarding equity; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. It appears that this bill mirrors HB 239 by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R), Dacula.
HB 81 related to eliminating restrictive covenants in employment agreements with Information Technology employees, introduced by Rep. Todd Jones (R), South Forsyth, was heard in the House Judiciary Welch Subcommittee meeting on Monday, February 11th. Members of the committee had numerous questions for the author and expressed several concerns with the language as drafted. The definition of worker was deemed to be too broad and the author was asked to work with committee members to consider alternatives to the wording. There were a couple of language issues within the bill that would also need to be corrected. CBA will continue to monitor this bill.
HB 212–Manufactured Homes by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R), was introduced in the House. The bill relates to licensing of mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers, so as to exempt retailers, retail brokers of manufactured homes or mobile homes, and residential contractors from the requirement to obtain a license as a mortgage loan originator, mortgage broker, or mortgage lender under certain circumstances; to provide for definitions; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. As drafted, CBA has concerns with this bill as it may have a significant, negative impact to the Department of Banking & Finance. CBA will continue to monitor this bill.
HB 239–Georgia Business Court by Rep. Chuck Efstration (R), Dacula, was introduced in the House. The bill is the enabling legislation for the establishment of a Georgia Business Court pursuant to the Constitution of this state; to provide for law assistants and other employees; to amend Code Section 45-7-4 of the O.C.G.A., relating to general provisions regarding salaries and fees, so as to designate a salary for the judge of the Georgia Business Court; to amend Title 5 of the O.C.G.A., relating to appeal and error, so as to make conforming changes regarding appeals; to amend Chapter 4 of Title 9, Title 23, and Code Section 33-39-21 of the O.C.G.A., relating to declaratory judgments, equity, and equitable relief relative to insurance, respectively, so as to make conforming changes regarding equity; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. CBA will continue to monitor this bill. It appears that this bill mirrors SB 110 by Sen. Jesse Stone (R), Waynesboro.
HB 288–Superior Courts by Rep. Alan Powell (R), Hartwell, was introduced in the House. The bill relates to clerks of superior courts, so as to revise the sums that the clerks of the superior courts are entitled to charge and collect for filing documents and instruments pertaining to real estate or personal property; to provide for a flat sum structure; to repeal certain related alternative fees; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. CBA will continue to monitor this bill.
On February 12, 2019, Five federal regulatory agencies issued a joint final rule to implement provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 requiring regulated institutions to accept certain private flood insurance policies in addition to National Flood Insurance Program policies.
The rule, which takes effect July 1, 2019:
Click here to read more.