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New Procedures for U.S. Savings Bonds

The U. S. Department of the Treasury will end over-the-counter sales of paper savings bonds on December 31, 2011, including sales through financial institutions and applications mailed directly to the Federal Reserve Bank by customers. 

Although paper bonds are being discontinued, electronic Series EE and Series I Savings Bonds will remain available for purchase via TreasuryDirect.  This secure, web-based system, operated by the Bureau of the Public Debt, has been used by investors since 2002 to purchase savings bonds online.

Opening a TreasuryDirect account is free (go to www.treasurydirect.gov) and once it is established investors can:

  • Buy, manage, and redeem Series EE and I electronic savings bonds.
  • Convert these bonds to electronic bonds
  • Invest in other Treasury securities, such as bills, notes, bonds, and TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities).

Those currently holding paper savings bonds can continue to redeem them at financial institutions.  For more information, visit www.treasurydirect.gov or contact a First Landmark Bank Financial Specialist at info@firstlandmarkonline.com or at 770-792-8870.

New Advisory Board Member Added

First Landmark Bank President Terry DeWitt announces the addition of Ginny Rainey to the Bank’s Advisory Board. Ms. Rainey is the President and CEO of Mills Specialty Metals, headquartered in Cobb County.

Ms. Rainey is a life-long resident of Marietta and serves in the community as current president of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association.  Bank president Terry DeWitt stated, “For our Advisory Board, we look for business owners and professionals who impact our market through their business and community influence. Ginny Rainey’s experience allows her to offer fresh insight on how we are performing as a bank serving in Marietta and Cobb County.”

Other Advisory Board members include:  Advisory Board Chairman Chris Foster, Whitehead Electric;   David Cochran, Paces Properties, Inc.; Dr. Joseph A. Havlik, Jr., West Georgia Infectious Diseases; Evelyn Hedden, Cotton States Premier Properties, LLC; Amy Weber, Taylor English Duma, LLP; Randy Meyer, 3PD; Chris Poston, Traton Homes; Whit Smith, Real Estate Broker; Dr. Cameron B. Watson, Atlanta West Family Dentistry.

Allison Coley Hired as Controller

First Landmark Bank President Terry DeWitt announces the hiring of Allison Coley as Vice President and Controller with responsibilities including preparing financial statements and regulatory filings, overseeing the internal audit and information technology functions, and managing the day-to-day accounting activities.  In his announcement, Mr. DeWitt stated, “Allison is a dedicated accountant with significant bank auditing and financial accounting experience, and we are fortunate to hire someone of her caliber.”

Ms. Coley has been in the financial industry for the past four years in a similar position with Quantum National Bank in Suwanee.  The previous five years she was with Porter Keadle Moore as a senior auditor, where she managed a broad range of professional service engagements specializing in accounting, auditing and business advisory services to financial service clients. 

Ms. Coley received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University in 2000, followed by a Masters of Accountancy there in 2001.  Professionally she is affiliated with the Georgia Bankers Association and the Community Bankers Association, and she is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta.  Her community involvement includes the Ronald McDonald House and the Chastain Therapeutic Horse Park.

Bank Hires Veteran Banker Jimmy Williamson

First Landmark Bank President Terry DeWitt announces the hiring of veteran banker Jimmy Williamson as Senior Vice President with responsibilities in commercial lending and business development. In his announcement, Mr. DeWitt stated, “First Landmark is fortunate to bring on board a well-respected, experienced lender that has a history in the Marietta and Cobb communities. We are in the business of helping local companies and individuals succeed, and Jimmy shares that philosophy and possesses the experience to expertly consult with his clients.”

Mr. Williamson has been in the financial industry for over 25 years and has been involved in commercial lending since 1993, with responsibilities increasing to senior level lending beginning in 1998 when he joined Marietta-based Southern National Bank (now United Community). He comes to First Landmark from the Johns Creek Office of Southcrest Bank.

Additionally, his background includes extensive credit experience gained at Barnett Bank (now Bank of America) from 1984-1992. At First Landmark Bank, he will join the commercial lending department headed by EVP/Chief Lending officer Terri Bunten Guthrie.

Mr. Williamson, a 1980 graduate of the University of Georgia with a Major in Finance, holds an M.B.A. from Georgia State University, completed in 1982 with a Major in Finance. During his career, he has instructed classes in the Atlanta area through the American Institute of Banking and Omega Commercial Lending studies.

Prior to relocating professionally to the Johns Creek area in 2008, Mr. Williamson was an active member of Marietta Kiwanis, local business associations, the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association. Mr. Williamson is a resident of East Cobb.

Terri Bunten Guthrie Elected to Board

(Marietta, GA) – On Wednesday, August 17, 2011, the Board of Directors of First Landmark Bank elected Terri Bunten Guthrie as a member of the Board of Directors.

As Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Ms. Guthrie serves with Bank Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ron Francis, President and Chief Operating Officer Terry DeWitt and Chairman of the Board John Moore to comprise the Executive Management of First Landmark Bank. Her responsibilities included directing the bank’s commercial lending, credit and business development efforts.

Previously Ms. Guthrie was Senior Vice President and Community Executive for Bank of North Georgia in Cobb County and Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer with Security Exchange Bank, also in Cobb.  A native of Arkansas, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice.

Ms. Guthrie is an active member of many non-profit organizations including serving on the Board of Directors for the Center for Family Resources and the YWCA of Northwest Georgia, where she is also the Chair for the Academy of Women Leaders governing board.  In addition to these, she has been an active advocate, fundraiser and volunteer in various community special projects including the American Heart Association, United Arts of Cobb, and the American Cancer Society.  Ms. Guthrie is also a member of the Marietta Kiwanis Club and served as its president in 2005-2006.


(Marietta, GA) – On Wednesday, August 17, 2011, the Board of Directors of First Landmark Bank elected Terrence Y. DeWitt to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors and, simultaneously, elected Ronald H. Francis to the position of Vice Chairman of the Board and continuing as Chief Executive Officer.

Local attorney John H. Moore, who serves as the bank’s Chairman of the Board, stated, “In planning First Landmark Bank, Ron Francis and I discussed the timeline for when he would devote his time to the Bank’s strategic direction and business development and less time to the day-to-day operations.   Effective September 1, 2011, Terry DeWitt, who has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of First Landmark Bank since its 2008 inception, will assume the responsibilities of President and COO.”

Chairman Moore continued, “We are fortunate to already have within the Bank someone who can seamlessly step into the position of President.  ­­Terry has played a key role in the Bank’s success to this point, and the Board enthusiastically supports his ability to continue the momentum of the Bank’s growth.”

Mr. DeWitt serves with Mr. Francis, bank Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Terri Bunten Guthrie and Chairman Moore to comprise the Executive Management of First Landmark Bank.  His responsibilities have included financial management and reporting, asset liability management, investment and liquidity management, risk management, and operations.  As president, he will add the responsibilities of directing senior management and overseeing all day-to-day operations.   

Previously Mr. DeWitt was with New South Federal Savings Bank in Irondale, Alabama, where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer.  He has also served as Senior Vice President/CFO of Financial Investors of the South, Inc./Bank of Alabama in Birmingham Alabama, and as Executive Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of National Bank of Commerce (now Cadence Bank) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  In 1998 DeWitt received the Outstanding Young Banker Award from the Alabama Bankers Association.

His experience in Cobb County includes serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chattahoochee Financial Corporation and The Chattahoochee Bank in Marietta from 1986 to 1990.  He began his career with Price Waterhouse in Atlanta in 1983. 

Mr. DeWitt is a 1983 graduate of the University of Alabama where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.  He is a member of the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association, the Marietta Country Club, and the Rotary Club of Marietta, where he was recently named a Paul Harris Fellow.  He serves on the Board of Directors and is Finance Committee Chairman of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and the Cobb Community Collaborative.

First Landmark Bank named Top 25 Small Business

At the Cobb Chamber First Monday Breakfast held this morning at the Atlanta-Northwest Marriott, the AJC and the Chamber recognized First Landmark Bank as a Top 25 Small Business of the Year.  Accepting the award plaque for the Bank were Ron Francis, Terri Bunten and Terry DeWitt.

Also recognized were business owners from 24 other well-deserving small businesses, some of which are our clients.  We also congratulate Amber Burckhalter, owner of K-9 Coach Bed & Bark, this year’s Cobb Chamber Small Business of the Year.  Please enjoy the photos from this morning’s exciting breakfast. 

Special Alert for our Clients

SUBJECT: Fraudulent E-Mails Claiming to Be From the FDIC
Summary: E-mails that claim to be from the FDIC are reportedly in circulation.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has received numerous reports of fraudulent e-mails that have the appearance of being from the FDIC.

The e-mails appear to be sent from various “@fdic.gov” e-mail addresses, such as “subscriptions@fdic.gov,” “alert@fdic.gov,” or “accounts@fdic.gov.”

They have subject lines that read: “FDIC: Your business account” or “FDIC: About Your Business Account.”

The e-mails are addressed to “Business Customer” or “Business Owner” and state “We have important information about your bank” or “…financial institution.” They then ask recipients to “Please click here to find details.”

They conclude with, “This includes information on the acquiring bank (if applicable), how your accounts and loans are affected, and how vendors can file claims against the receivership.”

These e-mails and the link included are fraudulent and were not sent by the FDIC. Recipients should consider the intent of these e-mails as an attempt to collect personal or confidential information, or to load malicious software onto end users’ computers. Recipients should NOT access the link provided within the body of the e-mails and should NOT, under any circumstances, provide any personal financial information through this media.

Consumers should be aware that other subject lines and modifications to the e-mails may occur over time. The FDIC does not directly contact consumers in this manner nor does the FDIC request personal financial information from consumers.

For more information, visit the FDIC’s Website at www.fdic.gov/news/news/SpecialAlert/2011/index.html. To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Special Alerts through email, please visit www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html.

First Landmark Named Top 25 Small Business

The Cobb Chamber of Commerce has named First Landmark Bank one of their Top 25 Small Businesses of the Year.  “We are excited to be included in an elite group of local small businesses,” said bank president Ron Francis, “and consider it an honor to be selected in our first year of eligibility for the award.” 

First Landmark Bank will be recognized at the Chamber’s First Monday breakfast, June 6, 2011.  For a complete list of the Chamber’s Top 25 businesses, please go to http://www.cobbchamber.org/sboy .

Approaching Your Bank for that Much Needed Loan

Despite the media coverage to the contrary, commercial banks continue to lend. In fact, lending is a large part of every commercial bank’s strategic plan. Even in the midst of this recession, credit standards have changed little and understanding how a bank approved a loan may help you navigate the credit process.

First, understand your personal borrowing philosophy and share it with your banker. Are you debt adverse? Are you more concerned about cash flow and low payments? DO you prefer to hold on to your cash and maximize borrowing? Or use you cash to pay down on purchases to minimize your interest expense? Next get to know your bank. All banks are not the same, having different expertise and varying policies. It is important to determine if your bank’s lending philosophy fits your needs.

Every business owner needs to have a relationship with their banker. A business owner should ensure their banker has some leave of expertise or understanding of their business cycle. If your first meeting with a banker is to present a signed contract with a request for a loan, the banker has no track record on which to base your request.

To determine if a loan will be approved, a bank analyzes the risks associated with the repayment of the loan. This is accomplished in three ways.

  • Repayment of the monthly principal and interest payment. Funds should come from cash flow from operations and is documented with a term called debt service coverage. This is calculated as: Company’s cash available for debt service (shorthand method is to take net income and add all non cash expenses, i.e. depreciation, and interest expense) divided by company’s total debt service (all monthly debt obligations plus the new loan payment added together and annualized). The resulting number is called a debt service coverage ratio. Most banks look for their number to be above 1.25 times, which means for every dollar of debt service the company has, it generates $1.25 in cash to make the payment.
  • Liquidation of the collateral. The type of collateral on a loan, often the item being purchased, generally dictates the terms of the repayment. Short term collateral such as inventory and accounts receivable has limited cycles and requires a short payment. A building with a useful life of 40 years allows for an amortization of between 15-25 years depending on the bank’s policy.
  • Speculative loans. If the loan proceeds must be used to generate the income necessary to adequately repay the loan, the loan would be considered a speculative loan, which has a greater amount of risk associated with it. This type of loan would require additional sources of repayment, possibly including an SBA guaranty.

It is also important that the banker receive all the necessary financial data needed to determine a company’s ability to repay the loan:

  • Three years of complete tax returns
  • All owners of 20% or more of a company will need to provide current personal financial statement and two years of complete personal tax returns
  • Listing of all business debt including monthly payments, maturity dates and interest rates
  • Resume on the company and owners

All major financial decisions for a business should be made after consulting an accountant, attorney and banker. A banker is an advisor and should be relied upon when making any decisions that will ultimately affect the cash flow of the business or ability to repay new or existing debts.

Article written by Terri Bunten, Executive Vice President/Chief Lending Officer of First Landmark Bank.