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VOL. 132 | NO. 241 | Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Growth Spurt

Pinnacle Financial Partners executive talks strategy in Memphis

By Andy Meek

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Executives with Pinnacle Financial Partners in Memphis are “so granular” in maintaining a pipeline of candidates they’d like to recruit to work at the bank that they meet every week to discuss the pool of potential hires.

Pinnacle Financial Partners is expanding its footprint across the metro area with new loan production offices in Southaven, Bartlett and DeSoto County, and more to come. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

Pinnacle also is aggressively building out its presence in Memphis and beyond by using locations like new loan production offices to establish a toehold in new areas where it would like to grow its business. To the point where the bank might eventually want to put a new branch in those areas.

All of it is part of a roadmap Pinnacle is following toward a specific goal – to grow assets in the Memphis MSA to $2.5 billion five years after the acquisition of Magna Bank by Pinnacle in 2015.

That acquisition is what brought Nashville-based Pinnacle into the Memphis banking market. It’s also why the bank is growing, and growing fast, at the moment – it has acknowledged that it can’t hit its target size using Magna’s footprint alone.

Pinnacle’s current growth plan includes opening two new loan production offices, a new mortgage office and a full-service banking office in different areas of the city.

“As part of a five-year plan, we identified areas where we need to be to generate really small business loans and mortgage loans and some consumer loans,” said Pinnacle Memphis chairman Kirk Bailey. “And we also need to be where we don’t have existing branches.”

Construction is underway on loan production offices in Whitehaven on Elvis Presley Boulevard and in Bartlett on Whitten Road. Pinnacle’s mortgage team also is part of a project that broke ground on Getwell Road earlier this month.

Bailey said Pinnacle is finalizing plans for a new branch at 1651 Union Ave., where the bank plans to start construction likely in the first quarter of 2018. Occupancy there is planned for sometime in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Then there’s the opening of Pinnacle’s new main office in the Ridgeway Center at 949 S. Shady Grove Road. That location houses a full banking office and drive-thru, as well as nearly 100 financial advisers, market leaders and support staff.

It replaces the previous main office on Quail Hollow Road.

The new Shady Grove office encompasses 35,000 square feet and includes additional room to grow. The space has a “learning center” with video conferencing technology for clients, associates and community events.

Pinnacle is growing deliberately, Bailey said, and purposefully fast.

“We’re committed to serving the whole marketplace, and all sectors of the marketplace. And that’s not just in Memphis,” he said. “If you just kind of plot out where our branches are, our current bank branches are up and down Poplar Avenue, soon to be Union Avenue and then Germantown Parkway. There are certain sectors that we’re not covering and that we need to provide some coverage for. And building bank branches – if you witness what’s gone on with Union Avenue – can take quite a while.”

That’s a reference to delays that have accompanied Pinnacle’s new Midtown branch on Union as it works to accommodate design-related concerns from residents, among other things.

The bank needs to put loan production offices in areas to provide some coverage in those areas, Bailey said.

“These offices are designed to generate mortgage loans and also small business loans and to a certain extent be a point of outreach to the local community in those areas so we have a physical presence there,” Bailey said. “Those offices can be put up faster, and we don’t have to go through all the regulatory approvals that we have to go through sometimes to get a bank branch approved. We’ve also got other spots we’re looking at, but we really haven’t announced those yet.”

Meanwhile, Pinnacle has continued staffing up in Memphis at a steady clip, with announcements of new hires at least every other week.

Bailey said the bank stays in regular contact with professionals it has identified around the area as a potential good fit for Pinnacle, and tries to win them over. Pinnacle bankers meet regularly – every week – to strategize about that and talk regularly with bankers elsewhere about “how happy they are where they are.”

“It’s a constant process,” Bailey said about recruitment.

It appears to be paying off. According to the bank deposit market share that comes out once a year from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Pinnacle Financial Partners moved into the top 10 banks this year among the dozens in the local market.

That ranking is based on each institution’s share of the market’s customer deposits. During the 12 months ended June 30, 2017, – the latest FDIC report of such data – Pinnacle added more than $315 million in deposits in the MSA, representing a growth rate of 67 percent.

That moved Pinnacle from No. 11 on the list in 2016 to No. 7 this year.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173