Peach Buzz Winter 2022

Vol. 9 | Winter 2022

Christian Charles Making a Name In Tennessee and On Our Billboards

What the people in Hall County already knew about Christian Charles, his University of Tennessee football coaches and teammates are finding out.

“The thing about Christian is that he is a great athlete but an even better person,” says Shaun Conley, who was Christian’s coach two years ago at Chestatee High School. “He is mature beyond his years. Those are the same things I’m hearing from Tennessee. He is a leader.”

His older sister, Leanne Beharry, is proud of all her brother has accomplished.

“He enjoys being with his family,” Leanne says. “He is very open-hearted and steps up for family and friends. Whether it’s academics or sports, he’s always determined to accomplish something. I love him for that. He loves to compete no matter how big or small.”

So, you can see why Peach State Bank is proud to feature this former Chestatee High football star and current Tennessee defensive cornerback in our new billboard campaign. He fits our “Bank Strong” theme to a “T” – a big Tennessee “T.”

“Christian represents our community well,” says Ron Quinn, our president and CEO. “His accomplishments at Chestatee, and now at Tennessee, show his drive to succeed.”

Christian began his love of football around age 3 when he got his first football. Even back then, his leadership qualities showed up right away.

“He would watch games on TV and all you heard was ‘hut, hut, hut’ every three seconds,” Leanne says. “When he was playing little league football, I’ve never seen anyone his age so focused. He listened to the coaches and understood everything about football. When the coach was talking, he would tell other kids to listen if they weren’t paying attention.”

UT Football defensive back Christian and his sister, Leanne.

At Tennessee, Christian played in eight games his freshman year and has been a key contributor at cornerback for the Vols as a sophomore this season. He had a career-high eight tackles against Alabama and recovered a fumble on special teams. Christian is fourth on the team in tackles with 28.

Before college, Christian completed a stellar career at Chestatee High with 4,521 career passing yards and 25 passing touchdowns along with 2,711 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns as the team’s quarterback.

“When his recruiting got hot, college football coaches were calling to ask about him,” Conley says. “I’d tell them to talk to Christian instead — you’ll find out all you need to know in the first five minutes. That was all it took, and just about every coach would offer him a scholarship.”

Despite Christian’s senior season being cut short by a shoulder injury, he received seven scholarship offers from seven Power 5 schools. He chose Tennessee in October 2020.

We love spotlighting our local athletes who are playing at the collegiate level and appreciate Christian Charles for representing us as part of the Peach State Bank family.


The Great Mortgage Market Shake-Up

Ron Quinn
President & CEO

From one end of Hall County to the other, new construction is transforming our downtown cityscapes and skylines, especially in Gainesville and Braselton. Meanwhile, the frenzy is kicking up so much dirt and dust that it may be obscuring what’s happening in our neighborhoods.
It’s the Great Mortgage Market Shake-Up – though today’s version is far different from the housing collapse of 15 years ago.

During the Great Recession, home prices plummeted and foreclosures soared, spreading shock and awe to every corner of our national economy. Fast forward to 2022, and we are now going through a self-inflicted housing slowdown resulting from the Fed’s aggressive policy of raising interest rates to curb inflation.

Nonetheless, the impact to most of us is hardly noticed – unless you work in the mortgage and real estate industry.

Locally, banks like Peach State Bank & Trust are experiencing a dramatic decrease in mortgage loan applications despite continued strength in commercial lending. Attorneys who handle closings for home loans are finally catching their breath after several years of refinancings and new purchases lined up outside their doors. Home insurance policy applications are dwindling, while at the other end of the sales funnel, real estate agents are running out of buyers.

This trend is no different across the country where many national mortgage lenders are laying off employees and pulling back operations.

Double Whammy

For most of this year, soaring home prices were finally tamping down a red-hot housing market here in our community. Now, interest rates – double what they were last year – have combined to nearly snuff out the few remaining flames. Custom home building in particular is finally slowing down under the additional weight of expensive construction materials.

Home values across our market rose by 25 percent in 2020, then another 20 percent last year. Once toying with the idea of cashing out on their great fortune, homeowners are now pulling back in the face of higher interest rates. More of them are staying put, focusing instead on home renovation projects.

The result is what appears to be a leveling off of home prices that I believe will remain in place through 2023. For years, our region’s comparatively lower cost of living has been a magnet for newcomers. But our higher home prices are now catching up with the rest of the country, especially with home values recently falling in California and other western states.

Similarly, I envision mortgage rates beginning to peak by the end of this year after two more rounds of anticipated interest rate hikes. Mortgage rates likely will settle in around 7 to 7½ percent. That may sound high, but for perspective look back at 1981, when rates were around 18½ percent. In fact, over the past 50 years, mortgage rates have averaged 7½ percent, close to where we are today.

Looking through the lens of history is certainly a great equalizer for trend watchers. It reminds us that shake-ups in the economy – like today’s mortgage sector – are more likely to be viewed later as temporary tremors that eventually faded. While I can’t speak for the rest of the country, I remain confident that our state and Northeast Georgia region stand on economic ground as solid as our red clay, well-buffered from the rumblings felt farther away.

Peach State Offers Local ‘One-Two Punch’
To Knock Out Mortgage and Home Equity Line

With all the recent focus on rising interest and mortgage rates, some homeowners have been caught by surprise with higher monthly payments for their home equity lines of credit.

Peach State Bank & Trust has an answer. We are offering a locally based loan consolidation product that will combine your first and second mortgages with one monthly payment at a below-market, fixed interest rate (Based on average weekly national mortgage interest rates as of October 7, 2022, as published on It can also be used for a new home purchase.

This financing deal is a great opportunity to “knock out” a home-equity line that you may have allowed to grow a bit too much during the low interest-rate environment of recent years. With today’s prime rate hovering over 6 percent, your minimum monthly equity line payment – which is interest only – has nearly doubled since last year.

Our One-Two Punch Consolidation Loan combines your first and second mortgages under two options: A 10-year term with a 4.69% fixed rate or a 15-year term with a 4.89% fixed rate.

Visit for more details.


Steven Pettit, Chief Information Officer

Steven Pettit,
Chief Information Officer

Steven Pettit, a Gainesville native, serves as our Chief Information Officer. It is a very important role that he has grown into since starting as a teller here at Peach State Bank, his first and only employer.

When he joined the bank 15 years ago after college, Steven originally planned to work with us for two years while exploring opportunities to become a minister. Once he passed his self-imposed deadline, our bank president kidded him at the time that he was free to leave.

Fortunately for Peach State and our customers, Steven turned down the offer and found other ways to minister through local volunteer work while building his career in banking. Today, as CIO, he is responsible for overseeing our IT infrastructure while managing and implementing technology to support the bank’s busy growth.

While growing up in Gainesville, Steven attended Riverbend Elementary, Gainesville Middle and Gainesville High. “All the best memories from that time come from spending time with friends and playing basketball for Gainesville,” he says.

His deep roots in the community are still growing as he and his wife, Fancy, are raising their family here. They have two children, Asher, 11, and Teegan, 9. Fancy is the music teacher at Gainesville’s Centennial Arts Academy, where their daughter Teegan is in the fourth grade. Asher is a sixth grader at Gainesville Middle School East.

Continuing to follow his personal calling, Steven is heavily involved at Lakewood Baptist Church, serving as a deacon minister while helping lead groups of sixth grade boys on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. He is also involved in youth sports, having coached football as well as girls’ and boys’ basketball teams over the years.

Our Big Move Is Just Around the Corner

Come see us very soon at our future (and bigger) home in one of downtown Gainesville’s classic landmark buildings – the new headquarters of Peach State Bank & Trust.

Our new address will be 121 E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville, Ga. 30501 (just off the downtown square and next door to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce).

With this move we will have all our operations in one location. Even better, it will be more convenient for you with plenty of parking, easy accessibility, and faster service with an expanded drive-through and our Interactive Teller Machine (ATM and video link to our friendly Call Center).

Stay tuned to stop by and say hello. We can’t wait to welcome you home.

Our partnership with UGA’s Dan Jackson

When we partnered with local football star Dan Jackson last fall as part of an NIL (Name Image Likeness) contract, the North Hall High School product dreamed of being part of a national championship defense with the University of Georgia football team.

In January 2022, the dream became reality. Dan and his teammates brought home the first national title to Athens in 41 years. Dan was an important part of last season’s defense, but now he has become a center point of the 2022 defensive squad. Dan started the 2022 campaign with key defensive plays in three consecutive games.

Peach State Bank and the Gainesville community are extremely proud of Dan – not only for his accomplishments on the field but also for how he represents us all off the field.

“My community from back home means everything to me,” Dan says. “Gainesville is where I learned how to be a football player, so I try to represent the town as best I can every week.”

We are excited to partner with Dan again this season. Join us in cheering on Dan and the Georgia Bulldogs as they look to repeat as National Champions in 2022.

(At press time, we learned Dan Jackson may have a season-ending foot injury. We wish him the best for a full and speedy recovery!)

Dan Jackson, defensive back with
UGA Football team.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for the Meet & Greet at our Braselton bank. We are excited to be a part of the Braselton community. Funari Realty President Tony Funari, center, won the Blackstone Grill that we gave away. Tony is pictured with our senior vice presidents Chris England, left, and Ricky Pugh.

Digital Security Tips | National Cyber Awareness Spotlighted In October

Cybersecurity Awareness Month was observed in October to encourage consumers and businesses to take steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) led the collaborative effort to raise cybersecurity awareness.

The theme this year was “See Yourself In Cyber.”

It’s important for individuals and organizations to make smart decisions on the job and at home. Do not let your guard down when it comes to cybersecurity.

The keys to better cybersecurity are:

  • Enabling multi-factor authentications
  • Use strong passwords
  • Recognize and report phishing
  • Keep your software updated

Being thankfull

During the Thanksgiving Season, We All Reflect on What We Are Thankful For

I am thankful for so many things but the thing I am most thankful for is good health.
Pat Perry, Deposit Operations

I’m most thankful for my family and the health of my family!
Candice B. Nanney, Vice President, Controller

I am thankful for campfires and full moons.
Jenny Aguilar, Loan Operations

With all the sadness and death I have had this year, I am thankful for the miracle of new life that will be added to our family early next year.
Wendy Smith

I am thankful for my family. My wife, my kids, my parents, sister, and in-laws. I don’t know how we’d get everything done without them pitching in. I am thankful for the opportunity to work here; it has been a great move for me and my family.
John M. Chapman, Information Security Officer, Banking Officer

I am thankful for my health and my family – most especially my granddaughter Emma who will have her first birthday on Thanksgiving Day!
Susan Williams, Marketing Vice President

I am grateful for many things. Having survived COVID and all the aftereffects that came with it. I am grateful for a loving and kind work family that gave me support after my Mom, and my beloved cat, passed. I am grateful to have a Savior that is coming back for us soon. I am grateful for my family and friends that I love dearly. And I am grateful for a healthy, beautiful daughter that keeps trying and never gives up.
Krystal Mullins, Loan Admin Assistant

I am thankful for the small town feel and sense of community I experience every day living in Gainesville and working with my Peach State Bank family.
Judy Buchanan, Human Resources Manager


Electrical Engineering Company Works Closely with Medical Industry

In its 17 years in business, J&G Contractors, a Gainesville-based electrical engineering company, has developed a niche working with area medical practices and hospitals.

Led by owners Gregg Poole, Allan Carlyle and Joseph Carlyle, the company is currently working on the new Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) hospital in Lumpkin County. In addition to other projects, they also are involved with the new tower expansion project at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

J&G does not work solely in the medical industry. The company performs other electrical contracting work, including the renovation on our bank’s pending new downtown Gainesville headquarters building on E.E. Butler Parkway.

Poole’s connection with the medical industry started at NGHS. He worked there before starting J&G — so there was a natural connection.

“I worked at the hospital for 18 years, so I kind of grew up there.” says Poole, a self-described hospital kid. “During COVID, we did a lot of work there. We wired the new ICU area among other projects that kept us busy. We were blessed by the good Lord.”

Poole appreciates the value and leadership that the Northeast Georgia Health System has in the community and the regional economy.

Gregg Poole

“It’s the key cog (in our local economy),” he says. “From John Ferguson to Carol Burrell, the leadership has been so good. The hospital is an economic driver and has been good about working with our Hall County companies.”

Similarly, Poole believes in keeping his banking local. He values J&G’s association with Peach State Bank and the personal touches that come with a community bank.

“Peach State is the only local bank,” he says. “I enjoy the personal relationship you get at Peach State. I know the employees and many of the board members. They believe in the importance of feeding the local economy. They understand the saying that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ I don’t want to bank anywhere else.”

Earn Spending Rewards Daily with CardCash

Be sure to enroll in our CardCash™ program to start earning cash back on your purchases.

It’s simple. When making a purchase, use your Peach State debit card and select “credit” to lock in rewards.

Enroll today at to earn up to 1 percent cash back on your qualified non-PIN debit card purchases. You can earn unlimited cash back annually based on your spending.

Once enrolled, you will receive a “Welcome Email” with your account login credentials. You will also receive a monthly eStatement to track your earnings online.

Here’s how CardCash™ works:

  • Use your debit card for everyday purchases.
  • Request that your purchases be run as credit.
  • You must exceed a monthly non-PIN minimum spend of $500.00.
  • Receive up to 1% cash back on your qualified non-PIN debit card purchases above the monthly minimum spend threshold.
  • Exceed your monthly minimum faster by also paying bills with your debit card.

325 Washington St SW | Gainesville, GA 30501 | Phone: (770) 536-1100 | Fax: (770) 536-2525