BRASELTON ROLLS OUT RED CARPET FOR OUR NEW BRANCH BANK
What an incredible first year for our Braselton branch, surpassing almost every industry standard for a new bank branch.
In February 2021, we opened a Peach State Bank “Office” to handle commercial loans, mortgages and home equity lines for businesses and residents in the growing Braselton market.
In October, we received official regulatory approval to become a full-service branch bank, allowing us to further expand our offerings of banking products and services. The welcome by the community has been incredible.
“When a full-service branch opens, it usually takes 24 to 36 months to show a profit,” says Ron Quinn, Peach State Bank President and CEO. “Our Braselton branch began turning a profit after only seven months. That’s a testament to our staff as well as the need and growth opportunity in the Braselton area.”
David Dyer, our senior vice president of commercial lending, and mortgage originator Rhonda Dellinger have been at the Braselton branch since it opened. We recently added Mike Underwood, senior vice president of commercial lending, and Steve Goins, our newest mortgage originator, to our Braselton branch team. Jennie Parr serves as the branch’s loan administrative assistant.
David has a strong background in business and commercial lending experience with several banks in the Braselton service area. He also is well-connected and involved as an active member of the Barrow County Chamber of Commerce board, Humane Society of Jackson County, Barrow County Planning Commission, Rotary Club of Braselton, and the First Baptist Church of Winder where he chairs the finance committee.
Likewise, Rhonda has been a fixture in the Braselton market for more than 30 years of experience in mortgage lending. She is a member of the South Hall Kiwanis Club.
Mike, who has been with Peach State since 2017, has worked in banking for 40 years, most of which was in the commercial lending field throughout north Georgia. Mike is an expert in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
Steve Goins may be new to Peach State, but he is well-known in our service area. A commercial lender since 2007, he worked in the Braselton market at another bank for four years, and he also has strong ties to Gwinnett County as a member of the Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett.
“Being a part of a true community bank gives us the ability to know each customer as a neighbor instead of a number,” Dyer says. “We live here and have worked in this market for a number of years. The Braselton Peach State Bank team is excited to be here, and we look forward to serving our community.”
LOCAL WINDOW ON THE ECONOMY
Living and Working in Slow-Mo
Inflation is Up, but Supply Issues and Shipping Delays Hitting Harder
Inflation has soared to 7 percent. Gas prices at the pump are up over a dollar from last year. Bread, butter, and the rest of our groceries all cost more.
Yes, higher prices are real. But for most consumers and businesses – at least here in Gainesville and Northeast Georgia – it doesn’t feel like a red-hot economy burning on all cylinders. It’s more like sloshing through heavy wet snow.
I don’t mean to sound insensitive to someone on disability, an elderly retiree on fixed income, or a single mother struggling to pay for childcare. Inflation is a disease that can sneak up and bite you at the end of the month with less money to spend after the bills are paid.
However, for most workers, inflation surprisingly is not top of mind. They’re more concerned about extended delivery schedules and back orders for goods and services like new cars, appliances, and long wait times at their favorite restaurant. These days, life is in slow motion.
If you’re building or renovating a house, you really feel the headwinds. Raw materials such as lumber and cement are in short supply, dragging out construction for months while builders hurry up and wait. Windows are another scarce item, as evidenced by all the plastic wrap covering window openings on newly constructed homes and apartments around town.
You could make a point that inflation has been good for homeowners. Their houses are worth 20 to 25 percent more than they were just two years ago. But there’s a catch. After raking in the profits from your home sale, try finding a home to buy. You’ll either be on a waiting list, or you’ll spend a whole lot more money than you gained from your home sale.
Another reason that we’re less worried about inflation is that people have more money in their pockets. At our bank and others around town, consumer deposits are up by nearly 50 percent.
Statewide, personal income has increased by eight percent since the pandemic started back in early 2020, according to Georgia fiscal economist Jeffrey Dorfman.
Massive federal spending has allowed Georgians to save an extra $75 billion. In fact, Dorfman reports, “this is the first time in American history we had a recession when credit card debt went down and credit scores went up.”
While the cost of goods is up, you might say inflation is more apparent in our region’s higher wages and salaries – driven up by low unemployment (now below 2 percent here at home) and aggressive competition to fill job vacancies. It’s ironic that the Biden administration actually achieved its goal of raising the minimum wage to $15/hour – not through legislation but as a result of inflation.
In such demand, workers definitely hold court over employers in today’s economy, another factor helping to numb the sting of higher consumer prices. But if workers are feeling less stress these days, this trend is not the same for their employers, particularly small businesses, who are heavily impacted by the labor shortage and supply chain issues that are contributors to higher inflation.
Recently, several local retailers shared with me their frustration over the slow pace of shipping that messes up the timing of their seasonal sales. This past Christmas, for example, a couple of shop owners told me they received only about half of their merchandise pre-orders from back in the fall. That means they’ll pay more inventory tax when the orders finally arrive in their off-season.
The good news is that many of these retailers still recorded their best sales year in history. But they could have done much better, and we all know that saying about missed opportunities and “making hay while the sun shines.”
We also can be thankful that the pandemic has not shut down our local economy, like so many had feared. We’re doing way better than expected, and I don’t foresee a recession or slowdown any time soon – even with the pending wave of interest rate hikes scheduled this year.
Inflation certainly can’t be ignored, but I believe there are many more positives – like our strong private sector – that will slowly but surely push through the ice and muck out there to continue driving our local and state economy forward in 2022 and beyond.
Private Banking Team Heather Wilbanks and Elizabeth Baxter
Heather Wilbanks and Elizabeth Baxter, our hard-working Private Banking team, get to know their clients closely in providing personalized financial and banking services. So, we wanted to turn the tables and allow you to learn more about them.
Heather, a senior vice president, leads our private banking department, while Elizabeth was recently promoted to the team. As private bankers, they work individually with business owners, physicians, and other professionals.
“It’s a more personal way to serve our customers who need specialized focus and attention to help manage complex finances,” says Heather, who has worked at Peach State since our bank's inception.
Heather and her husband, Matthew, have two sons, Colton, 16, and Cooper, 11, both very involved in sports, focusing on basketball and baseball. Matthew is one of the top fishermen on Lake Lanier and has competed in several national tournaments, including the FLW pro fishing tour.
Heather's current favorite pastime is cheering on her boys at their various sporting events, as she admits that sometimes she likes to coach as well.
“With both boys playing ball year-round, we are busy all the time,” she says.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth is busy herself with plans to be married. Engaged to Jonathon Cain, the couple enjoy “serious” hiking with a goal of scaling at least a 14,000-foot or higher mountain each year. So far, they have completed Greys Peak, Torreys Peak and Mount Bierstadt, all Colorado summits near the Denver area.
“I really like helping people, so private banking fits my wheelhouse,” says Elizabeth, who joined our bank full-time in 2014 and also worked here part-time during college. “Our clients’ time is precious, so we do what we can to help make their lives and finances easier.”
If you are a business owner interested in working with our private banking team, give us a call at the bank. You can be assured of friendly and attentive service matched with money management expertise to enhance your business and personal finances.
Our Mortgage and Commercial Lending Divisions
Partner with Local Community, Reach Record Highs
Community banking is all about fueling the local economy.
Our commitment to investing in the community could not be more evident than the record year produced last year by our mortgage and commercial lending offices.
The Peach State mortgage team closed a record $50 million in loans during 2021. The bank has seen 20 percent growth annually in mortgages since opening in 2005.
Not to be outdone, our commercial lenders generated $216 million in new loans last year, a whopping $71 million increase for the year.
All this success is an even greater sign for our local economy. That’s why we believe a Strong Bank makes for a Strong Community, and visa-versa. We are truly partners.
Our Connection to Young Professionals and Community
Connecting with young professionals and our next generation of local business and personal customers is an important focus for our bank.
Our bridge to this special group is our Future Leaders Board, a 13-member board started in 2012.
“The role of the Future Leaders Board is to engage Peach State Bank with the Gainesville community – specifically young professionals around town,” says Rachel Funk, our dynamic Future Leaders chairperson for 2022. “We look to be involved in special events for the bank and around the community that are not only fun but will also bring greater awareness to Peach State Bank.”
A few of those special activities, she said, include networking with the medical residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center and supporting the annual Vision 2030 Public Art Block Party in downtown Gainesville.
“We meet regularly and discuss events and other ways to link Peach State to our peers, the community and local businesses,” Rachel says.
“This special group of young people takes the initiative to help with any project the bank has going on,” says Susan Williams, Peach State vice president. “They act as ambassadors for the bank. And whenever we are about to introduce a new product or service, they are always willing to be our test subjects.”
Our Future Leaders Board
- Rachel Funk, Gainesville City Schools
- John Baxter, Deep Roots Landscape
- Caroline Nix, Caroline Nix Gallery
- Charlie Hawkins, Norton Agency
- Brian Hughs, Avison Young
- Callie Hughs, Community Volunteer
- Mary Clark, Gainesville City Schools
- Lorena Caudillo-Juarez, Northeast Georgia Judicial Circuit
- Chase Quinn, Bennett Thrasher
- Scott LeFevre, Clipper Petroleum
- Suzanne Cindea, Gainesville City Schools
- Roland Stanley, Cork It
- Steven Pettit, Peach State Bank
We call them our Future Leaders Board, but this group already demonstrates leadership in Gainesville and Hall County. Their work on behalf of Peach State as well as nonprofit organizations and other local groups truly captures our bank’s community spirit, and we are proud to have them on our team.
Peach State Trivia: How Well Do You Know Our Staff?
- Who once won a local Future Farmers of America tractor driving contest in high school and advanced to the state finals?
- Which Peach State staffer once managed a rock band?
- Who once rode a unicycle during a halftime show at a high school football game?
- Who on our staff completed six Peachtree Road Races after turning 50?
- Can you guess which employee used to sing in a Southern gospel group?
- Who is a former middle school teacher at a private Christian school?
- Which of our vice president’s grades were so good that she skipped the second grade?
- What world traveler on our staff has visited 17 countries and 42 of the 50 states?
Beware of SIM Swap Fraud
SIM swapping is a scam that has increased sharply over the past few years. Criminals take over your phone through this scam to tap into bank accounts and make off with your funds.
SIM swapping occurs when a thief impersonates a user and attempts to convince cell phone companies to move the user’s data to a SIM card in the thief’s possession. Once an attacker gains control of the user’s phone number, it lessens hurdles associated with gaining access to your accounts. The two-factor authentication checkpoint that banks use to protect accounts is now in the hands of the thieves. The thief can now easily recover the passwords needed to access the user’s bank accounts. In short, it’s a way to hijack accounts and steal money. Thieves can swiftly empty bank accounts, run up credit card debt and destroy your credit.
- Phone call or text blockages. If you suddenly can’t make or receive calls or text messages, you may be the target of SIM-hijacking. Immediately contact your wireless provider.
- Odd activity notifications. Look out for email alerts or phone calls to your back-up phone numbers from your mobile phone providers regarding suspicious activity.
- Don’t publish your phone numbers on social media profiles.
- Limit the amount of personal information on social media platforms.
- Our bank staff will never call or email to ask for your personal sensitive information. Ignore phishing emails and report them.
- If you see signs of SIM swapping issues, contact your phone carrier. Also visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/ for other steps to follow.
75 Years of Building Relationships
We’re proud of local businesses and customers like Carroll Daniel Construction that have grown up in Gainesville to become big success stories here and even well beyond our borders.
This year, Carroll Daniel is celebrating 75 years, and it is relationships, says company president and CEO Brian Daniel, that have kept his company going for over seven decades.
“My grandfather and father understood well that at the end of the day it was all about relationships,” says Daniel. “My dad always talked about relationships and how important it was to take care of clients and they will take care of you. That’s so important to us internally and externally. It’s the key to our success.”
Carroll Daniel Construction has built an unparalleled reputation. It is a nationally recognized leader in the construction industry, winning countless state and national project awards, and consistently ranked among the nation’s Top 400 contractors by Engineering News Record magazine. The company has a diverse construction portfolio that includes arts and entertainment venues, food and beverage companies, healthcare, education, manufacturing, and transportation.
“We are honored to have Carroll Daniel Construction as a customer and thankful for the contributions they make toward the growth in our area,” says Ron Quinn, Peach State President and CEO. “They have a national reputation with local impact.”
The company was founded in Gainesville in 1946 by Brian Daniel’s grandfather, Carroll Ephraim Daniel, who served as a major in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. In the early years of the business, Carroll took advantage of the postwar construction boom – building schools, churches, and factories across the community.
Brian’s father, Carroll Edmondson “Ed” Daniel, followed as president and CEO in 1969. Brian took leadership in 2003 after his father passed away. His mother, Carole Ann, has played an integral part in the company’s leadership. She is beloved as the heartbeat of Carroll Daniel Construction.
“When you grow up in a family business, there is not a big line of demarcation between work and family,” Daniel says. “I remember my dad doing cost estimates at the house. Dad’s carving the Thanksgiving turkey and asking me if I’m done with my shop drawings. That’s the way it is growing up in a family business.”
As the company looks to the future, it is focused on investing in the next generation workforce through the Carroll Daniel Construction Apprenticeship Program in working with area high schools through their Work-Based Learning Programs.
Thank you to Carroll Daniel Construction for building the foundations for strong communities like ours – here and across the Southeast. Best wishes for another 75 years of successful partnerships.
325 Washington St SW | Gainesville, GA 30501 | Phone: (770) 536-1100 | Fax: (770) 536-2525