Evolve Bank ‘Hitting on All Cylinders’

By Andy Meek

Scott Stafford, president and CEO of Evolve Bank and Trust, said his bank is forecasting a strong second half of the year, and it’s not hard to see where that optimism comes from.

In the six months ended June 30, his bank’s before-tax income was about $2.15 million – a 450 percent leap over the same period in 2011. Additionally, Evolve now has more than a quarter of a billion dollars in assets, up from almost $167 million during the six months ended June 30, 2011.

“We were obviously very pleased with the progress year-to-date, and we’re projecting a very strong rest of the year,” Stafford said. “Our primary businesses are core banking, commercial banking, trust, mortgage lending and SBA lending, and they’re all growing. They’re all hitting on all cylinders.”

The bank’s portfolio of loans stood at a little more than $215 million at June 30, up about 70 percent from roughly $127 million in net loans at June 30, 2011. During that same time, the bank’s provision for loan losses surged from a little less than $224,000 at June 30, 2011, to almost $1.5 million during the same period this year.

In a recent letter from the bank to its shareholders and customers, Evolve’s leadership noted the bank continues to grow its capital base and enjoy organic growth.

To date, the bank has closed $472 million in mortgage originations, a fact helped by what remain historically low interest rates. Evolve specializes in FHA loans, VA and USDA loans, conventional loans, jumbo loans and other niche products.

“We were obviously very pleased with the progress year to date, and we’re projecting a very strong rest of the year.”

–Scott Stafford
President and CEO, Evolve Bank and Trust

The bank’s trust department saw a 31 percent increase in trust assets and maintains a healthy pipeline, and its small business lending division – which originates SBA 504, 7(a) and USDA (B&I) loans – has closed $43.4 million year-to-date.

“And we anticipate those patterns holding through the balance of the year,” Stafford said. “We’ve got a great group of folks here. We’re lucky to have them, they’re doing a great job, and, quite frankly, loan demand’s been high. So we’re just trying to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us and do a good job for our customers.”

Separate from the six-month results, Evolve is preparing for a big move – consolidating its Memphis operations into the company’s new office in the Triad Centre III office building at 6070 Poplar Ave. Evolve is moving in toward the end of this month.

“We’re going to take the entire second floor at Triad III,” Stafford said. “We’re going to have a big move at the end of August, so we’ll be completely consolidated into this building.”

Stafford said the new location was chosen because the Shady Grove/Poplar Avenue area has become “one of Memphis’ primary financial centers” in addition to its convenient location for customers.

Services Evolve will offer at the new location include commercial, private and retail banking; Small Business Administration lending; mortgage banking; and trust and wealth management services.