First Tennessee Parent Company Offers Buyouts to 400

By Andy Meek

The parent company of First Tennessee Bank sent out letters to nearly one-tenth of the Memphis-based company’s 4,500 employees Thursday offering them terms of a voluntary buyout.

First Horizon National Corp. is offering the buyouts to some 400 employees, said chief human resources officer John Daniel, who stressed that they're looking in “non customer-facing areas.”

It’s part of an effort to cut costs, but to do it in what he said is a creative way and target more highly compensated employees.

“So, it’s back office, operational areas like finance and HR and operations staff areas,” he said. “These would be people who maybe want to go back to school or maybe, for family reasons, they want to take some time off or they’ve been thinking about changing their career path.”

Affected employees have until the end of the month to accept.

“We continue to look for ways to reduce our expenses so that our returns are sufficient to shareholders,” Daniel said. “And if you look around the industry, most of the big banks have announced fairly significant cost reductions. We’ve reduced expenses significant over the last few years, but the efficiency ratio is still not where we want it to be.”

First Horizon reports quarterly earnings Oct. 19.