NEW ‘SIMPLE CHECKING’ STREAMLINES OUR SERVICES
With so many Peach State accounts, it seemed time for a little house-cleaning to make your choices easier to understand. So, we are trimming back with a new program that includes Simple Checking.
Effective Nov. 1, we are replacing our multiple Kasasa checking products with Simple Checking and making a few tweaks to other products we offer.
If you currently have a Kasasa checking account, you will be automatically matched with a Simple Checking plan. But don’t worry – the transition is seamless, and you don’t have to do anything.
As a bonus, checking accounts may be enrolled in CardCash which is a program that rewards for debit card purchase. When making purchases, select “credit” to earn cash back. Terms and conditions apply; contact the bank for specific details. Previous Kasasa accounts will be automatically enrolled; other accounts will receive information on how to enroll.
With Simple Checking, all our electronic services and benefits are still available.
- Enroll in eStatements by logging in to your account at www.peachstate.bank.
- Use any non-Peach State Bank ATM and we will refund ATM fees charged by the terminal.
- Visit our high-tech ITMs for cash withdrawals, deposits or assistance from a teller on a live video screen during our business hours.
- Contact our Call Center to assist with questions or concerns (Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. until noon)
- Use our mobile app, My Peach, to make deposits by taking a picture of the check.
If you have questions or want to discuss other account options, please call 770-536-1100. We’ll be happy to assist you.
13-Year-Old Takes the Cake at Peach Bake
Clare Gaddy Wins Second Place
What an incredible turnout for the annual Jack McKibbon BLT Luncheon. Over 800 people came by our downtown bank for Bacon Lettuce & Tomato sandwiches, a baked peach desserts competition and vintage car show.
Our first ever Peach Bake was a great success with more than 20 entries. Shelia Bryant was the top winner, while 13-year-old Clare Gaddy took second place, and one of our loan processors, Jenny Aguilar, finished third.
The talented field of bakers created delicious made-from-scratch peach pies, cobblers and cakes. Our judges Andy Fuller, Crevolyn Wiley, Gary Black and Drew Echols had the delicious but tough job of deciding the winners.
Clare Gaddy, who was one of our youngest bakers, took second place with a four-layer brown sugar cake with peach filling made from Jaemor Farms peaches folded between each layer. She iced it with her very own buttercream icing flavored with a little of the peach filling.
Clare topped it off by decorating her cake with peaches and the Peach State Bank logo.
“I was hoping to get in the top three,” she says.
The Gainesville Middle School eighth grader began baking three or four years ago and has always enjoyed baking cookies. Macarons and lemon cookies are her favorites. Clare gets a lot of requests for her baked goods.
“I get asked to bake cakes and holiday cookies,” she says.
Clare has tested her baking skills on a national level, having tried out for the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network. She made it deep in the competition but just missed being on the show.
“The first time I tried out, I made it to the last stage before they decided who would be on the show,” Clare says.
If you want to see more of Clare’s baking creations, you can follow her on Instagram @tinyclarebakes.
So, all you bakers, get ready to take on Shelia, Clare and Jenny for next year’s Peach Bake. They have certainly set a delectably high bar.
LOCAL WINDOW ON THE ECONOMY
Like other major events in our lifetime, the ongoing pandemic has transformed us as well as our local and national economy in ways that are already apparent. A chief economist with commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield recently pointed out that “the longer the virus lingers, the more transformative it is going to be.”
Life marches on, yet it’s still a surreal feeling to experience a worldwide pandemic. Just a few years ago, a health crisis of this magnitude was the stuff of science fiction books and movies.
As far back as the 1990s, the FDIC and Georgia Banking Department required banks to develop pandemic policies. It all seemed unimaginable at the time, but the planning proved to be prudent when myth became reality. Our bank, like others, already had plans in place for remote working and on-site safety precautions to protect staff and customers while keeping the U.S. banking system intact and money flowing.
Similarly, we have seen other sectors of the economy learn to adapt — and the ingenuity has been impressive. Many of our local restaurants and other service industries were at a standstill when state mandates initially closed their doors. But look how so many found ways to survive — and even thrive — with reinvented systems for food take-out and deliveries, outdoor dining, and contactless payment.
These and other hospitality businesses that require direct, in-person service have been the most visibly impacted. But hardly any business has been unaffected by COVID.
Like the aftermath of the Great Recession that resulted in stronger lending regulations and more conservative business practices, the new COVID economy is making its own mark.
Work habits are already changing. With remote working now commonplace, some employees may never return to the office. Businesses can be more efficient with less need for expensive office space, but employers must grapple with new policies to ensure accountability.
COVID has reshaped attitudes, too. Employees likely will start demanding more vacation and family time, sabbaticals, and other perks focused on more enjoyment out of life. There is already talk of four-day work weeks at some companies.
At least in the short term, businesses will have to listen. Just like sellers now hold the cards in our local housing market, workers have had more bargaining power with employers in the COVID economy.
Whether the reason is stimulus checks or people’s fears of returning to work, COVID has been behind the labor shortages that have put a major kink in supply chains.
At the local level, you may have noticed fewer “chicken trucks” laden with birds on the way to area poultry plants. There simply are not enough workers on the other end for processing. For the same reason, turkeys are already projected to be in short supply this Thanksgiving.
If you’ve been putting off necessary home repairs or a renovation project, it’s not likely due to procrastination. Construction materials are scarce, just like computer chips in the auto industry.
Everywhere, demand is outstripping supply. And like a fever or loss of smell, the COVID economy has its own symptoms manifested in rising prices and inflation. Maybe you don’t feel the price crunch yet, but inflation is definitely picking up its pace.
However, let me point out the positive — especially here at home. For the last several years, our economy in Northeast Georgia has witnessed double-digit growth of well over 10 percent a year. Normally, a growth rate of 5 to 8 percent is considered healthy.
My point is that — despite the labor shortages and growing inflation — we are not likely to experience a recession in Gainesville and the rest of Georgia for the near term. At most, we could experience an economic slowdown, which might even be healthy to maintain our overall growth trajectory.
There is a disclaimer to all this: Before too long, we must put COVID behind us and get back to business. Because until we find some way to shake this weary virus cycle, all bets are off on the true impact and legacy of the COVID economy.
Getting Down to Business
We’re fine-tuning Treasury Management services to better serve your company
As part of a major review of our service to commercial customers, we’ve restructured our treasury management team and programs to better maximize your business operations.
Michele Piucci, senior vice president, is leading an effort to contact business clients to ensure they are making the most of all our available Treasury Management tools and services. As leader of new business development, Michele is making the same extra effort to educate new commercial customers on the front end.
We’ve also reassigned our Treasury Management roles for better customer focus. Jessica Smith, Treasury Management Operations, is now managing new customer enrollment while assisting our current customers with new services. Matthew Lynch assists with any Treasury Management questions or issues that involve the Deposit Operations Department. Abby Mynear is our lead Treasury Management Call Center customer representative.
“Treasury Management services help streamline business operations by better managing cash flow, investments, and other financial assets,” Piucci said. “With our background in working with hundreds of local businesses, we understand how to help customers use our tools to run their businesses more efficiently for greater success.”
As part of our restructuring, we are doing a deep-dive analysis of each customers’ account and the Treasury Management services they use. Next, we contact them to make recommendations on how to better utilize our financial tools as well as make them aware of other options that they might not have considered.
While enrolling new customers or helping existing customers, Smith explains to them how at Peach State Bank, we don’t believe one size fits all. “We work with each business customer individually to tailor services to their needs,” says Smith, Treasury Management Officer.
Responsive customer service is such a key part of our program that we have added three employees in our call center to assist Treasury Management customers. That means you won’t get a recording or talk on a toll-free line to someone in another state or country. That’s the difference between Peach State Bank and other banks.
Interested in learning more? Here’s a quick menu of some of our most popular Treasury Management services:
- Corporate Cash Management provides access to your company’s banking information and the ability to assign different levels of access to employees.
- Business Bill Pay allows your small business to efficiently manage payments and the flexibility to delegate payment tasks as needed.
- Mobile App allows you to view business transactions through our app, on an iPhone or Android device.
- Remote Deposit Capture lets your company scan and deposit checks securely from a computer using a check scanner.
- Positive Pay detects and stops fraudulent checks from your account.
- Direct Connect provides seamless integration of account information and transactions – including transfer and Bill Pay capabilities – within Quicken and QuickBooks.
- Web Connect lets you log in to online banking and manually download a Quicken or QuickBooks compatible file to your computer so transactions can be imported to your software.
Gina Rider, a charter Peach State Bank professional since the bank opened in 2005, is our Chief Operations Officer.
What is your job here at Peach State Bank? I manage the bank’s deposit and loan operations.
How long have you worked here? 16 years. I actually started a month before the bank opened for business.
Tell us about your family. I’ve been married to my husband, Charles Rider, for 28 years. We don’t have any children, but we live on a farm with lots of pets.
What do you like about working at Peach State? We are like a big family, and we all care about each other.
What is your favorite local non-profit? The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia.
What is one of your best memories of growing up here? Sunday afternoon drives with my family to my grandmother’s house for a visit. She lived in Forsyth County. We would always take a different path each time. We drove all around North Georgia. I can remember when Ga. 400 was being built, and all the detours to get to my grandmother’s.
What is one of your hobbies? Shopping of course!
What’s something on your bucket list? Travel – Hawaii, Australia and France are at the top of the list.
THANKS TO MICKEY HYDER FOR SPECIAL 9/11 REMEMBRANCE
We are so thankful for Mickey Hyder, our senior mortgage officer, who helped organize a touching local remembrance of those who died twenty years ago in the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Members of our community gathered along Green Street on the morning of the 9/11 anniversary. At 8:46 a.m., when the first plane struck the World Trade Center, churches across town as well as the Gainesville Fire Department rang their bells in solemn remembrance.
After two minutes of silence, trumpeters Mike Hedden and Alex West played Amazing Grace and Taps to close the ceremony. Mickey says he remembers the attacks as a life-changing moment in our country. He was working in downtown Gainesville that day and went to Ann Dayton’s bookstore (the former Waldo’s) on the Square to watch the television coverage. “For the 20th anniversary, we were looking for a way to honor the 2,977 people who died that day,” he says.
How Well Do You Know Your Community?
Take our local trivia quiz and see how much you know about your hometown.
- What Gainesville facility was taken over by the federal government during World War II?
- What offbeat law did Gainesville enact in 1961?
- What is the history behind the French Chateau and vineyards located in Braselton?
- Which celebrity bought Braselton in the 1980s?
To Find the Answers...Read On!
Digital Security Tips | Advice to protect your online assets
Viruses and malware are big concerns for computer owners who worry about losing important files and functionality. Ironically, their obsession has given rise to tech support scammers who exploit these fears by scaring you into thinking your computer or mobile device is at risk and needs immediate attention.
Beware of these tricky traps that could make you realize your worst fears. The first clue of a tech support con typically starts with either an unsolicited phone call or a pop-up warning on your computer or phone.
What should you do?
- Hang up if you receive an unsolicited call from someone who claims to be a tech support provider for your computer or software.
- Get rid of a fake virus alert message by shutting down your browser. You can do this on a Windows PC by pressing Control-Alt-Delete and bringing up the Task Manager. On a Mac, press the Option, Command and Esc (Escape) keys, or use the Force Quit command from the Apple menu.
- Use antivirus software to regularly scan your computer for malware and run a scan immediately after a scam pop-up.
- Keep your security software, browser and operating system up to date, and consider using your browser’s pop-up blocker.
- Contact a trusted computer technician if you suspect a genuine problem.
- If you've been victimized with unauthorized charges, contact your credit card company and request a reversal of your payment. You’ll also want to look back for other unauthorized charges that you may have missed.
What should you not do?
- Do not allow remote access to your computer or provide payment information to an anonymous caller.
- Do not call the number in a pop-up virus alert. Real warnings from your operating system or antivirus program will not ask you to call anyone for support.
- Do not click any links in the pop-up, even to close the window.
- Do not buy security software from a company you don’t know.
- Do not open previously closed sites if prompted to do so when you restart the browser after getting a scam pop-up.
- Do not give financial information to someone who calls a few days, weeks or months after you've made a tech support purchase and asks if you were satisfied. It's probably a “refund scam.”
CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT | Buford Corn Maze
Family-Friendly Agri-Tourism Venue Offers Safe Fun in 13th Season
With the recent surge in COVID-19 and concerns about public safety, the Buford Corn Maze offers plenty of “socially distanced fun” with acres and acres of family entertainment. This popular South Hall agri-tourism site recently began its 13th season this fall.
After setting attendance records in 2020 despite the pandemic, the 35-acre corn maze property underwent several changes such as relocating fences to create more room at the entrance and other corridors where large crowds were bottlenecking.
“We had record attendance last season that was due in part to cabin fever and people looking for safe activities in the midst of a pandemic,” said Buford Corn Maze founder Rodney Miller, who operates the maze with his wife, Kendra, and partners Tina and Jerome Beggs. “We expected this trend would continue, so we worked on a new layout this fall with lots more open areas for people to socially distance and feel safer during peak periods.”
Peach State Bank enjoys working with Buford Corn Maze as a customer, but we also enjoy visiting there for staff retreats and company outings.
The Buford Corn Maze is literally ‘home grown,’ and we wanted the same with our bank,” said Miller. “Working with local bankers who know us personally along with the rest of our community is very important to us.”
We encourage you to visit this “touch of country just outside the city” where the corn maze may be the main draw but there is plenty more farm-themed fun with hayrides, two popcorn jumping pillows, a farmer’s combine slide, barnyard animals, a pumpkin patch, duck races, pony rides, an expanded Kid’s Corn-er play area, and spooky fun inside a Haunted Forest during the Halloween season. An all-new concession facility offers grilled food and relaxing picnic areas.
Also, look for axe throwing, a bee-keeping demonstration and other special events throughout the season.
Another interesting aspect of the 2021 fall season was the timing of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. In honor of all who lost their lives that day, the corn maze was cut with a unique 9-11-themed design. Outside the park along Friendship Road, a tall Twin Towers display made of hay bales was also erected as a symbolic memorial.
The Buford Corn Maze operates every day in October, while in November the gates are open Fridays and weekends. At night, the “kid-spooky” Haunted Forest comes to life on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 5.
- Gainesville leased its airport to the government in 1943. After the war was over, the airfield was in better condition because two landing strips were added.
- Gainesville created a law in 1961 declaring it was illegal to eat chicken with a fork. The ordinance was a publicity effort to promote Gainesville as the Poultry Capital of the World. It worked.
- Chateau Elan Winery was established in 1981 by Donald and Nancy Panoz. It was the first winery in the region. One of the most awarded wineries on the East Coast, Chateau Elan produces more than 30 wines. The winery has grown into a resort with a spa, golf, tennis and high-quality dining.
- In 1989, actress Kim Basinger and another group of investors bought the town for $20 million to try to make it a tourist destination with major production and recording studios. They sold the town five years later.
325 Washington St SW | Gainesville, GA 30501 | Phone: (770) 536-1100 | Fax: (770) 536-2525