Business View Magazine | Volume 8, Issue 9

129 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9 BVM: What is the banking marketplace in Georgia like today? Brannen: Georgia businesses and families are fortunate because Georgia really is a well- banked state. About 200 banks do business here with 156 of those based in Georgia, so there’s lots of choice, competition and a range of products and services provided. That level of investment and competition also means there’s diversity in the types of banks operating here. We’ve got plenty of one-or-two-branch hometown banks catering closely to the needs of their local communities, niche-focused banks suited to unique businesses or clients, mid- size banks with bigger geographic footprints throughout Georgia and neighboring states, and banks with national and international reach. Georgia has more state-chartered banks than any other Southeast state. It’s also worth noting that Georgia has 10 minority-owned financial institutions, which puts it on par with Florida for the most in the Southeast. BVM: What makes Georgia such an attractive state for the banking industry? Brannen: Georgia has long attracted growth and investment. It has been ranked as the No. 1 state in which to do business for seven years running, and we like to say it’s also the top state for banking. We’re blessed with strong population growth, as the state annually is near the top for in-migration. Our cost of living and taxes are comparatively low, and Georgia has an outstanding transportation infrastructure with ports, railways, interstates, and the world’s busiest airport. Atlanta gets a lot of attention as a national and even international business hub, but in fact there are multiple population centers around the state. What many people may not realize is that agriculture is the state’s top industry, GEORGI A BANKERS ASSOC I AT ION