published Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Tullahoma bank expands into Chattanooga

Bank at a glance

Name: Southern Community Bank

Headquarters: Tullahoma

Assets*: $144.4 million

Deposits*: 127.7 million

History: Founded in November 2005 as The Bank of Tullahoma, the named was changed to Southern Community Bank in 2011 when the bank began expanding outside of Coffee County

Offices: Tullahoma, Sewanee, Murfreesboro and Chattanooga in Tennessee and Huntsville in Alabama

CEO: Bill Yoder

Chattanooga city president: Robert Stahl

New bank site: 817 Broad Street

* As of Sept. 30, 2013. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Less than nine years after its start, Southern Community Bank will expand into Chattanooga with a new bank branch this spring — its fourth new market since the bank began as the Bank of Tullahoma in Coffee County in 2005.

The Tullahoma bank recently acquired the 4-story former home of FSG Bank at 817 Broad Street for $930,000 to house its new Chattanooga bank facility, which is expected to be open by June. Southern Community Bank has operated a 2-person loan production office at another downtown site since July 2012, but the bank plans to expand its staff to at least a half dozen workers this spring.

"We hope to begin construction work within the building next week," Robert Stahl, a 37-year banker in Chattanooga who will serve as city president of the bank in Chattanooga, said on Wednesday. "Initially, we plan to have just one bank office in Chattanooga, but we will add more as demand warrants."

Stahl said Southern Community Bank has focused on small business and commercial lending and has already booked more than $16 million of loans over the past couple of years as a loan production office.

The state-chartered bank will be the 29th bank to operate a full-service bank in metropolitan Chattanooga. Bill Yoder, CEO of Southern Community Bank in Tullahoma, said Chattanooga is a growing market with plenty of banking opportunities even with so many banks already in the market.

"As our tag line says, we feel like we're unlike all the rest," Yoder said. "We work hard at giving great customer service and we feel like Chattanooga is a strong market for us to grow in. It's a great city and we're excited about adding another banking office there."

Southern Community Bank will move into the largely vacant 21,368-square-foot building on Broad Street, which was erected in 1920. With its bank vault, the building has housed Chattanooga Federal Savings & Loan, Regions Bank and other financial institutions prior to FSG, which sold the building when it built a new headquarters. Southern Community Bank will use 4,800 square feet and lease some of the upper floors to other tenants, officials said.

"It's had a long history as a bank building and is centrally located in the heart of the business district, although it has been largely empty for the past couple of years," said Arnold Farmer, a vice president for NAI Charter Real Estate which helped sell the building last December.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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