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VOL. 6 | NO. 51 | Saturday, December 14, 2013

Out-of-Town Banks Target Memphis for Growth

By Andy Meek

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More than 40 percent of the customer deposit share in the Memphis-area banking market belongs to institutions that have a presence here but are based outside the area, the latest figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp show.

Trustmark National Bank is relocating its area headquarters to East Memphis from Germantown in the spring, one example of out-of-town banks boosting their local presence.

(Courtesy of Trustmark Bank)

Of course, the physical presence of an institution and its customers means less and less as the Internet vaporizes significant chunks of the brick-and-mortar banking experience. Still, the presence of so many out-of-town banks in Memphis says something about the market, its potential and its room for growth.

Banks such as Tupelo, Miss.-based Renasant Bank and Jackson, Miss.-based Trustmark National Bank, for example, see abundant opportunity in Memphis.

Jeff Hudson, West Tennessee division president for Renasant, pointed to an improving market in Memphis. Likewise, Trustmark Memphis regional president Gene Henson goes so far as to call Memphis “an important market for Trustmark – a growth market for us.”

To that end, Trustmark is relocating its area headquarters to East Memphis from Germantown sometime around March or April, Henson said. He added that the move to the prime space at 5350 Poplar Ave., for which Trustmark has secured naming and signage rights, represents a solidification of the company’s brand and an improvement of its visibility in Memphis.

“Our existing building here in town had served us nicely, but this move is indicative of us (cementing) the brand in the markets we’re serving in the business and corporate community,” Henson said. “Memphis represents a significant level of opportunity for us both now and in the future. We are growing here. We want to grow. And I think that’s indicated by the investment we’ve made with things like our staff resources and adding the lenders that we have.”

Trustmark is among the top five out-of-area banks with the largest chunks of the Memphis customer deposit market share. As of June 30, the date through which the FDIC data is current, Trustmark had around 2 percent customer deposit share here.

The other banks in the top five are Regions Bank, SunTrust Banks Inc., BancorpSouth and Bank of America. Except for Bank of America, all of them saw their percentage of Memphis-area customer deposits slip from 2012 to 2013 – though none dropped by more than a percentage point.

“We’re always looking to hire commercial bankers, commercial real estate lenders – it’s sort of a constant process,” Henson said of Trustmark. “What’s distinctive about us is we’re a $12 billion asset regional bank. We have the capacity to meet the needs of any sized business. We have a comprehensive array of products and services for consumers, small businesses and large businesses, and we have the ability to deliver that while maintaining a community bank feel.

“As far as the Memphis economy, I think we’ve probably seen the worst of the economic cycle. It’s stabilized. Is it a full, across-the-board recovery? I think not. But a number of our customers are seeing improvement and becoming more optimistic about the future.”

Hudson, meanwhile, said he’s made “quite a few hires” in Memphis in the last two years. Renasant’s strength, he said, is in providing the look and feel of a community bank and the identity of a local institution.

“There are a lot of banks in town, a lot of competition, but we do feel like the market is improving a little bit,” Hudson said.

A few months ago, Louisiana-based Iberiabank snatched up a handful of Trust One Bank branches in Memphis, boosting Iberiabank’s footprint here.

Greg Smithers, Iberiabank’s Memphis market presence, called the acquisition of those branches another opportunity for Iberiabank to expand its Memphis franchise. That coincided with news Iberiabank is launching 10 additional ATMs in select Rite Aid locations throughout the Memphis area.

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