Cohutta Banking Co. parent company to put bigger emphasis on Chattanooga market

Cohutta Banking Co. parent company to put bigger emphasis on Chattanooga market

April 12th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A decade after entering the Chattanooga market, the parent company of Cohutta Banking Co. is preparing to put a bigger mark on Chattanooga and more than two dozen other markets where it operates across the Southeast.

Synovus Financial Corp., the second biggest bank based in Georgia, plans to put its name on the Cohutta Banking Co. and 27 other banks it operates by 2018.

"This transition will improve efficiency and productivity by consolidating system, administrative, and other functions, and will culminate in 2018 with the transition to a single brand — Synovus," the company said in its annual report released last week.

In the report, Synovus Chairman and CEO Kessel D. Stelling Jr. said Synovus' 28 locally-branded bank divisions include seven that were founded more than a century ago and two that haven't yet reached their third decade.

"But they are united by a culture based on long-standing values — strong and caring leadership, trusting relationships, dedication to communities, and excellence in all we do — that transcends history, geography, and brand," he wrote. "This culture assimilated more than 60 acquisitions over the past 40 years and remains the cornerstone of our company today."

In 1984, Synovus bought Cohutta Banking Co., which was began in 1906 in Northwest Georgia. The bank expanded into Chattanooga in 2005 by chartering a Tennessee branch which was later merged with Cohutta Bank in Georgia and then Synovus Bank, which is based in Columbus, Ga.

Synovus initially operated all of its banks as separately chartered institutions with their own boards of directors. But Synovus consolidated those banks into a single charter in 2010, allowing customers of one bank to transact business at any other of the 248 branches.

"We've reached a point as we have evolved as a company to really look at a single brand to raise awareness of who we are and all of our capabilities," said Mike Sarvis, the Chattanooga market president for Cohutta Banking Co., a division of Synovus. "We want to offer a seamless, consistent experience across our five-state footprint so whether people are in Charleston, S.C. or Tampa, Fla., or Birmingham, Ala., , when they see Synovus they are going to know that that is the same bank that I am with in Chattanooga. But nothing is really changing in our reporting, decision-making or leadership from a local perspective."

As of June 30, 2016, Synovus Bank had deposits of $154.7 million in Chattanooga with branches in downtown and Hixson, or 1.66 percent of the local market deposits.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.