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Georgia Governor Signs SB157 at CBA of Georgia Headquarters

On May 2, Gov. Brian P. Kemp signed SB 157 into law at the Community Bankers Association of Georgia headquarters before a group of community bankers from across the states.

SB 157 allows community banks, many of which are located in rural Georgia, to accept local government’s funds and allows these banks in turn to reinvest and loan monies back into their own communities and spur economic activity. Increased lending will encourage business growth, jobs and boost statewide economic activity. The bill was unanimously passed by the legislature during the 2019 legislative session.

CBA’s President and CEO John McNair stated, “We greatly appreciate Sen. Jon Kennedy (R-Macon) and Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon) for guiding the bill through this legislative process. We are also thankful for our partnerships with National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners in making this bill a possibility. SB 157 will change people’s lives, and all of us at CBA are proud, honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to impact Georgia’s community banking industry in this most positive manner!”

L to R: Rep. Bert Reeves (R-Marietta); Lori Godfrey, director of legislative and regulatory affairs, CBA of Georgia; John Sillay, associate, James-Bates-Brannan-Groover-LLP; Sen. John F. Kennedy (R-Macon); Tim Jones, president, Citizens Community Bank, Valdosta, 2018-2019 board chairman, CBA of Georgia; Gov. Brian P. Kemp; John McNair, president and CEO, CBA of Georgia; Rep. Dale Washburn (R-Macon); Rep. Erick Allen (D-Smyrna); Rep. Teri Anulewicz (D-Smyrna); and Steve McCoy, Office of State Treasurer.

Community banks are the primary providers of credit and banking services throughout the state and play a vital role in helping the Kemp administration fulfill its objective of further developing and growing small businesses in Georgia. The bill will allow community banks to compete with large, mostly out-of-state banks, for local municipal accounts and deposits. Georgia’s community banks will be able to dramatically increase lending in their local markets thereby helping small businesses start and grow, funding homeownership as well as a variety of agriculture and consumer loans.

Gov. Kemp stated, “By supporting small businesses and local entrepreneurs, this legislation is another positive step toward a new day in rural Georgia. I think the General Assembly and the Community Bankers Association for their hard work on this important issue and their efforts to bring greater prosperity to all corners of our state.”

“I am pleased and honored to have sponsored this legislation,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This is a ‘win-win’ for all of Georgia but especially rural Georgia, the local governments of Georgia and our banking community who serve our businesses and help so much with needed economic development.”

Rep. Washburn commented, “I’m so pleased to have been involved in the passage of this bill. It is a good practical piece of legislation that benefits local governments, the banking community and economic development, especially in rural Georgia.”

The ceremony began with remarks by CBA Chairman Tim Jones (Citizens Community Bank, Valdosta), Sen. Kennedy, McNair and CBA Director of Legislative Affairs Lori Godfrey. The Governnor offered remarks, signed SB 157 and visited with community bankers afterwards. CBA hosted a brief reception following the ceremony.

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