The Payroll eNewsletter from Atlantic Capital Bank              4th Quarter, 2013
2013 Economic Review & 2014 Outlook
Rogier Kamerling
Rogier Kamerling
SVP, Treasurer

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year to you! 

2013 has proven to be a quite eventful year. Amidst current events like the Edward Snowden scandal and arms negotiations with Iran, businesses and investors had to navigate around a fiscal cliff, taper tantrums, new healthcare rules, and a government shutdown.

Despite the volatility, job growth, the catalyst for stronger demand, has continued uninterruptedly.  The economy generated about 183,000 new jobs per month in 2012 and about 186,000 new jobs per month in 2013. Unfortunately, that pace has been inadequate to close the employment gap created during the recession.

Consumer balance sheets improved in 2013, which led to moderate increases in consumer spending. Households, in aggregate, have now surpassed the pre-recession high watermark in net wealth. However, the majority of the gains have come from financial holdings, approximately 90% of which are owned by the top 10% of earners. The average family still needs home prices to continue to rise to get back to previous net wealth levels.

What to expect in 2014
One of the key themes for 2014 will likely be the handoff from liquidity to growth-driven performance. From the beginning of the recession, the Federal Reserve and policymakers have used fiscal and monetary policy liberally in an attempt to bring the economy back to its pre-recession growth trajectory. As the economy has recovered, we have begun to see a slow pullback on those policies. Earlier this year the fiscal cliff started the consolidation process on the fiscal side, and 2014 is likely to bring the beginning of the consolidation process on the monetary policy side. The handoff is likely to result in increased volatility in terms of interest rates, especially in longer tenors. Many Fed watchers expect the Federal Reserve to attempt to continue to anchor the longer end of the yield curve by lengthening its forward guidance for the Fed Funds. This means that for all of us who invest on the short end (including 1 and 3 month LIBOR), 2014 will be much like 2013: low rates.

Year End To-Dos

The month of December is a hectic time for all payroll service bureaus. Below are a few items to discuss with your ACH provider as you approach the holiday season:


1. Check for any special processing hours around Christmas and New Year's day.

2. Are call trees / contact lists up to date between you and your processor?

3. Are you able to send ACH files early (warehouse files) to accommodate early submission requests from your clients?

4. Don't let your fraud guard down. There is always a higher incidence of fraud around the holidays as the bad guys try to take advantage during this hectic time of year.

5. Are your ACH file limits sized appropriately for the increases in payroll activity at year-end and in the 1st quarter?

Meet the Team

Donyale Getz
Corporate Financial Services


Donyale Getz has more than 20 years of experience and is an expert in providing customized treasury services for companies in the payments processing industry.

Ms. Getz has played an integral part in growing and supporting Atlantic Capital's Payments Industry group. She has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that payroll companies face, and she is focused on educating and advising clients so that they can operate efficiently and effectively in this ever-changing regulatory environment.

Ms. Getz graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from The University of South Carolina and received her Master's degree from Florida Atlantic University.

Contact Us
Nathan Ottinger
SVP, Payment Services Banking
Atlantic Capital Bank
3280 Peachtree Road NE
Suite 1600
Atlanta, GA 30305
U.S. Historical Interest Rate and Economic Data
Financial Instruments
(as of 12.11.13)
1-year ago
1-month Libor
6-month Libor
1-year T-bill0.13%0.18%
5-year T-bill1.49%0.63%
10-year T-bill2.88%1.64%
U.S. Unemployment7.0%7.8%
*Current and historical rate data taken from the Federal Reserve Board (
Hark the Herald Fraudsters Ring

Nathan Ottinger

SVP, Payment Services Banking

We have a tradition in our family to sit down during the holiday season and watch the classic movie It's a Wonderful Life.

The movie chronicles the trials, tribulations, and personal reflections of Building & Loan President George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart.   The movie has a special meaning for a career-long banker like me. It helps reaffirm that despite popular and political opinion, the financial services industry can be represented by a good guy.

You may recall there's a scene in the movie where George Bailey has just discovered that the Bank's accounts are out of balance because of a misplaced deposit by his Uncle Billy. George quickly realizes that this mistake can create a regulatory and financial failure for his Bank. Commenting on this financial oversight, George really lets poor Uncle Billy have it when he says to him, "Where's that money, you silly stupid old fool? Where's that money! Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison! That's what it means! One of us is going to jail, well, it's not going to be me!"
This scene reminds us that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can cause considerable stress and potential financial mismanagement. Challenges, both self-inflicted and externally generated, can distract and knock even the most seasoned payroll executives off of their A game.

Each year at this time there is a spike in financial fraud across the payroll industry. The bad guys take advantage of these seasonal distractions to try to fill their Christmas stockings with someone else's cheer. It is incumbent upon us to keep our guard up and ensure policies and procedures are consistently applied, especially during the holiday season.   We suggest the following to help combat the bad guys:

1.  When onboarding a new client, maintain strict adherence to your client onboarding due diligence procedures and Know Your Customer policies. Collect bank statements, pull credit reports, complete a web search on the business and the owners' names, and understand how the opportunity was sourced. If the new client tries to side-step your policies because they are "in a hurry," review with a skeptical eye.

Utilize an ACH pre-note process for all new clients that plan to use direct deposit. Have a contact at your new client's company confirm the amount of the pre-note draft prior to going live with the funds impound process. The confirmation of this pre-note helps mitigate account takeover situations.

Whenever possible, when onboarding a new client, extend the ACH funds impound timing to 3+ days prior to the effective payroll date for the first few months, or require a wire transfer for funding until there is sufficient client history.

Visit all clients at their place of business and try to develop a relationship with more than one employee.

Stay on top of account reconciliations and positive pay suspect check presentments.

Be diligent around the use of payroll cards as the means to deliver payroll disbursements, especially if it's a new client. We have seen several instances recently where payroll cards were used to defraud a payroll service bureau. The use of payroll cards weakens the paper trail and accelerates the ability for fraudsters to get access to cash.

We hope some of these suggestions will help reduce the likelihood of fraud and protect company assets during this busy time of year.

As each year-end approaches, I like to think about George Bailey and the lesson he comes to understand by the end of It's a Wonderful Life. George learns about the importance his life and his decisions have had on the lives of those around him. As we look back, what seemingly small actions will others remember about us?

We welcome your comments and feedback.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year

from Your Team at Atlantic Capital Bank!

Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender