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VOL. 130 | NO. 83 | Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pinnacle Financial of Nashville Acquires Magna Bank of Memphis

By Andy Meek

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When it comes to their newly announced entry into Memphis via an acquisition of Magna Bank, the Nashville leadership of Pinnacle Financial Partners is already thinking big – on everything from workforce to services offered to the bank’s eventual size here.

Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners has had its eye on the Memphis market for a while now, part of a desire to establish itself in each of Tennessee’s four major urban markets. That was the motivation behind a deal announced late Tuesday, April 28, which will see the $6.3 billion Nashville bank acquire Magna Bank of Memphis via a merger that’s expected to close in the fourth quarter.

The boards of both banks already have approved the proposed merger, which is still dependent on the customary regulatory approvals and a sign-off from Magna shareholders. But already this week, Pinnacle CEO Terry Turner envisioned his bank reaching $2.5 billion in assets in the Memphis metropolitan area.

The day before the annual meeting in Memphis of First Tennessee’s parent company, Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners announced it was acquiring Memphis’ Magna Bank. A group of several First Tennessee executives are joining the new bank in Memphis.

• Damon Bell, who was a First Tennessee Bank executive vice president and led the West Tennessee private banking group. Bell will serve as Pinnacle’s Memphis president.

• Sam King, who served as senior vice president in the business banking and Mid-South diversity banking divisions;

• Stacey Richards, who was a senior vice president with the Memphis private banking group;

• Herman Strickland, a senior vice president who led First Tennessee’s diversity banking group;

• Robert Sutton, a vice president who managed a portfolio of private clients;

• Joy Bowen, who served as a vice president and treasury management sales officer;

• Teresa Beans, who led a team of 10 client specialists in the private client group;

• and Carla Williams, who was a client specialist for the private client group.


Among other things, the deal marks Pinnacle’s expansion to its fourth and final major Tennessee market. Pinnacle is getting as part of the deal Magna’s five existing local branches – two in Germantown, one in Cordova and two in Memphis, all of which will become Pinnacle locations once the merger is complete.

“We see ample opportunities in Memphis, where the competitive landscape is virtually identical to the markets where we historically have been successful – Nashville and Knoxville,” Turner said in a statement about the deal.

Pinnacle already has begun staffing up in Memphis. Among the bank’s first recruits is Damon Bell, a First Tennessee Bank executive vice president, along with seven other First Tennessee veterans. Bell, who most recently led the West Tennessee private banking group at First Tennessee, will serve as Pinnacle’s Memphis president and lead its client advisory group in the market.

He’ll work closely with current Magna chairman, president and CEO Kirk Bailey, who’ll be named Pinnacle’s Memphis chairman after the deal is done. Bailey also will serve on Pinnacle’s 11-member senior leadership team and will report to Terry Turner, Pinnacle’s president and CEO.

“We look forward to becoming part of Pinnacle Bank,” Bailey told The Daily News late Tuesday. “They are a highly successful bank with products and services we do not currently offer that we look forward to offering to our customers.”

Once the merger is completed, several Magna executives in Memphis will assume leadership roles with Pinnacle. Magna director Thomas Farnsworth III of Farnsworth Holding Co. also is expected to become a director on Pinnacle’s board. And Lisa Foley, executive vice president and retail banking division manager at Magna, will manage Pinnacle’s client services group in Memphis.

Frank Stallworth, Magna’s executive vice president responsible for commercial and multifamily real estate lending, will serve as Pinnacle’s commercial real estate manager in Memphis. And Lisa Reid, Magna’s executive vice president of residential mortgage in Memphis, will serve as Pinnacle’s mortgage manager in Memphis.

Pinnacle, which as of March 31 was the second-largest bank holding company based in Tennessee, after Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp., is setting up an office for the new Memphis team in Magna’s headquarters at 6525 Quail Hollow Road.

Tuesday evening, Magna’s website was promising “expanded office locations” and “enhanced lending, treasury management and wealth management services” as a result of the merger.

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