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VOL. 132 | NO. 251 | Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 a Year of Expansion for Memphis Banks

By Andy Meek

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The biggest banks in Memphis made aggressive pushes this year to raise their profiles and expand footprints, as competition in the sector heats up and the industry continues winning back the strength it enjoyed before the bust of 2008.

2017 saw a few mergers and a big ramp up in investment in Memphis by banks like Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners, which is among those that have been on a growth streak. Hiring a steady stream of new talent and teeing up a slew of new offices to open around the city has been the lion’s share of the Pinnacle story this year.

“Our challenge here is to build a $2.5 billion bank – that being assets or loans in about a five-year period from when Magna was acquired by Pinnacle,” Pinnacle Memphis chairman Kirk Bailey said, in reference to Pinnacle’s acquisition of Magna Bank in Memphis in 2015. “To do that, we have to grow at a pretty rapid clip each year.”

What that activity looked like this year included a hiring binge, bringing over talent from competitors like Iberiabank and Patriot Bank. Pinnacle struck a deal to put a Starbucks store inside its Wolf River office, at 1264 S. Germantown Road. Pinnacle is also keeping construction crews plenty busy.

The bank opened its new Memphis headquarters office in the Ridgeway Center at 949 S. Shady Grove Road, a location that houses a full banking office and drive-through. That office includes almost 100 financial advisers, market leaders and support staff.

The bank is also planning to open two new loan production offices, a new mortgage office and a new full-service banking office in different areas of the city. And that’s just for starters.

Pinnacle Financial Partners, which is growing rapidly in the Memphis market, opened its local headquarters office at 949 S. Shady Grove Road this year. (Daily News File/Houston Cofield)

In related news, Pinnacle added more than $315 million to its share of customer deposits in the Memphis banking MSA during the 12 months ended June 30, 2017. The bank also resolved a legal spat with First Tennessee Bank – the details of which were kept close to the vest – that stemmed from Pinnacle’s recruitment of a group of First Tennessee employees when the bank first arrived in the Memphis market.

Speaking of First Tennessee, its parent company executed the biggest merger in the company’s history in 2017. The $2.2 billion acquisition of North Carolina-based Capital Bank Financial Corp. by Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. gives the combined entity about $40 billion in assets, $32 billion in deposits and $27 billion in loans.

First Horizon chairman and CEO Bryan Jordan also said this month the deal will now yield 40 percent in cost savings, up from a planned 30 percent target. It’s essentially an increase from $65 million in cost savings annually up to $85 million in annual expense savings.

The actual integration of the two institutions – which has been officially approved – will now unfold toward a completion in the middle of 2018.

First Horizon wasn’t the only local banking organization dealing with a merger this year. Metropolitan CEO Curt Gabardi, whose bank had a co-headquarters in Memphis and in Mississippi, said Metropolitan decided to merge with Renasant Bank to super-charge its growth. And to have access to a broader suite of products and services.

Also this year, FTN Financial – the capital markets division of First Tennessee Bank – completed its acquisition of Houston-based Coastal Securities Inc., a leader in the trading, securitization and analysis of Small Business Administration loans.

In other banking news and developments this year:

A bit of national spotlight was directed at the Bank On Memphis effort, an outreach campaign targeting underbanked consumers and connecting them to banks that have launched products and services specifically for them. It’s a variation of efforts like it elsewhere around the country.

Several banks and community institutions like First Tennessee enlisted for the effort, which landed a $10,000 grant from the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.

Tri-State Bank opened its new retail bank headquarters in Whitehaven in August, a shift to there from Downtown. The bank estimates that office will have a $2.5 million economic impact on the neighborhood around it. And its formal unveiling made a big splash, drawing civic and community leaders to mark the occasion.

Community banks like BankTennessee, Paragon and others kept up a steady stream of new hire announcements throughout the year.

Louisiana-based Iberiabank turned 130 this year, and in celebration of that its employees in the Memphis area performed random acts of kindness. Like Iberiabank’s Wolf River branch surprising a client who’d just turned 100 years old with flowers.

Banks like Triumph and Regions showcased new office designs. The branch at Regions’ West Tennessee headquarters at 6200 Poplar Ave. shows off the bank’s latest thinking around design and incorporating technology into a branch, with such amenities as Video Banking ATMs and DepositSmart ATMs that allow for 24-7 deposits and check cashing.

Triumph Bank’s commercial and mortgage lending center at 5904 Ridgeway Center Parkway is a central hub for Triumph’s business banking activity in the East Memphis business corridor. Along with an open-office layout, guests are greeted inside by design touches like a large, bright Triumph sign and video screen.

PROPERTY SALES 93 424 6,970
MORTGAGES 42 281 4,410
BUILDING PERMITS 196 704 16,619
BANKRUPTCIES 38 174 3,570