Magna Intent on Raising Profile, Enhancing Services

MICHAEL WADDELL | Special to The Daily News

This year is turning out to be a big one for Magna Bank as it rolls out new products and services, adds key personnel and boosts its profile across the Mid-South.

Magna is a full-service community bank that focuses on the Memphis area, with two additional mortgage origination offices in Nashville. The bank has approximately $500 million in assets with five traditional branch locations in East Memphis, Germantown and Cordova. Three of the locations have opened in the past five years, and the bank currently has no plans for further expansion.

“Most of our focus now is on alternative delivery of bank services through phones, the Internet, iPads and other mobile devices,” said Kirk Bailey, Magna chairman, president and CEO. “Technology and security are coming along at a pretty fast pace, and I think people will enjoy greater ability to transact business by mobile devices in the future.”

Kirk Bailey, CEO of Memphis-based Magna Bank, said the bank is focusing on alternative delivery of services. (Photo: Lance Murphey)

One of the goals this year for 14-year-old Magna is to make a concentrated effort to raise its profile throughout the area, with its first-ever television commercial, as well as billboard and direct mail campaigns.

“We want to raise awareness about Magna Bank,” Bailey said. “We are a very large SBA (Small Business Administration), residential mortgage, commercial real estate and C&I (commercial and industrial real estate) lender, but we are not quite as large or well-known in the consumer arena. We emphasize customer service, and the TV commercial plays off of that in a fun and relaxed way.”

The 30-second ad is part of the bank’s “We’re For You” print, online and broadcast advertising campaign, which was developed with Memphis-based Sullivan Branding.

Magna also recently announced the introduction of new investment services that will include mutual funds, annuities, stocks and bonds and some insurance products. The bank is working with Cary Allen, a representative of independent investment securities firm LPL Financial Services.

“There’s a chance we could be in for an extended period of very low interest rates. It’s no secret that savers are disappointed with current interest rates on their savings accounts and certificates of deposit, and they are seeking alternative investments for more yield,” said Bailey, who has worked in the banking industry for more than 32 years. “So this is a way for us to offer them the additional products and services they are asking for in light of the current interest rate environment.”

In addition to traditional retail consumer checking, savings and lending services, Magna boasts a significant private banking area.

Magna is the largest SBA lender in West Tennessee and the second-largest in Tennessee, and it is the largest financial institution in terms of single-family residential mortgage lending in the Memphis area.

Within the past month Magna hired Andy Wright to lead its commercial lending division and Frazer Gieselmann as its new senior vice president of residential construction lending.

“I am very familiar with the senior management team at Magna and having watched them effectively navigate the downturn in the economy the past four years, I am excited to be a part of this bank,” said Gieselmann, who previously worked with Cadence Bank as senior vice president in the construction lending and bank-owned real estate departments. “Magna is well-capitalized, profitable and committed to its customers and the Memphis real estate market.”

He is looking forward to the challenges of his new position.

“As the real estate market continues its slow rebound and as the national economy continues to improve, challenges we expect to face include competing against other lenders entering the market that had previously exited real estate lending and new and start-up investors and builders entering the market,” Gieselmann said.

Magna initially opened in 1999 as First Trust Bank and began as primarily a real estate lender and seller of certificates of deposit. By 2005 the bank’s leadership began devising a plan to turn First Trust into a full-service bank, and in 2007 the bank’s name was changed to Magna. Today the bank offers a full range of services and employs roughly 175 people.