A decade-old bank that has grown to nearly $1 billion in assets in metro Nashville is expanding into Chattanooga.
Reliant Bank is opening a loan production office in Chattanooga's tallest office building and has hired the former market president of FSG, Terry Todd, to head the new Chattanooga banking office. Pending regulatory approval, Reliant Bank plans to open a full-service commercial bank office in Chattanooga by the end of 2017 or by early 2018.
"Outside of Nashville, I think Chattanooga is one of the best banking markets in the state and I think we are taking advantage of a good opportunity with Terry to start building a franchise in Chattanooga," said DeVan Ard, a former market president of AmSouth Bank in Chattanooga who helped start Reliant Bank in Brentwood, Tenn., in January 2006. "Terry will be responsible for Reliant Bank's expansion into Chattanooga, including opening our new office in the city and hiring new lenders to expand our loan, deposit and treasury management opportunities."
Reliant Bank, based in Brentwood merged with Commerce Union Bank in Gallatin, Tenn., in 2015 and the bank now operates seven bank offices and a loan production office in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Ron DeBerry, who remains as CEO of the parent company Commerce Union Bancshares, also once headed a former Chattanooga bank. DeBerry was president of Commerce Union Bank in Chattanooga from 1986 to 1992, before he moved back to Middle Tennessee and helped start another bank known as Commerce Union in August 2006.
"We're a good solid community bank that is focused on small businesses," DeBerry said. "Banking, we believe, is still focused around people and that's why we decided to come to Chattanooga because we believe that Terry can put together a great team to serve this market."
Before joining Reliant Bank, Todd was regional president for FSG Bank in Chattanooga where he was responsible for 12 branches with $270 million in loans and $175 million in deposits. He previously served as business banking manager for SunTrust Bank's Chattanooga region that included 40 plus branches in Chattanooga and other nearby markets.
DeBerry recruited Todd to Chattanooga in 1987 to head the Commerce Union's SBA lending program in Chattanooga.
DeBerry said he and Ard "have many friends and business connections in Chattanooga and are both very familiar with the growth potential of the Chattanooga market," especially with the recent ownership changes and consolidation of the former Cornerstone, FSG, CapitalBank and Northwest Georgia banks with other bigger banks in the region.
Reliant, which is opening an office in the Republic Centre in downtown Chattanooga, will be one of 28 banks operating in Chattanooga. Ard said the ownership changes by four of the city's independent banks over the past couple of years has created new opportunities in the market and he insists that banking remains primarily a relationship business.
"It's the people that make us successful and we feel like Terry Todd is certainly the right talent to start with," Ard said.
Darrell Freeman, a Chattanooga native who is CEO of Zycron and a founding director of Reliant Bank, said he is "excited to see our bank expanding into my home town, where I still have family and friends.
"We have a great opportunity with Terry to bring Reliant's high touch approach to banking to the Chattanooga community," Freeman said.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.
This story was updated Feb. 21 at 10:35 p.m.