The $9.4 billion of bank deposits in metropolitan Chattanooga are held by 27 different banks. The biggest banks as of June 30, 2016, and their local deposits were:
1. First Tennessee, $2.3 billion
2. SunTrust, $1.7 billion
3. Regions, $1.2 billion
4. Pinnacle, $615.3 million
5. First Volunteer, $429.8 million
Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Less than two years after entering the Chattanooga market by buying the former CapitalMark Bank, Pinnacle Bank has set its sight on being one of the local market leaders by more than doubling its size in the Chattanooga region.
Rob McCabe, a founder and chairman of the Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners, said Thursday Pinnacle wants to grow in the Chattanooga market to be one of the three biggest banks in the market to eventually top $2.5 billion in local assets.
Although businesses often cut the staff of other businesses they buy, Pinnacle maintained the CapitalMark staff when it bought the Chattanooga bank in July 2015 and has since hired 17 additional bankers. Pinnacle plans to open another bank office on Shallowford Road by May.
"Chattanooga has been one of our better performing markets and we see a lot of opportunity here for more growth," McCabe said in an address to the Chattanooga Rotary Club. "We started targeting this area in 2013, and we were very fortunate the acquire CapitalMark with its great people and market knowledge."
Pinnacle had less than 6.6 percent of the deposits in the Chattanooga metropolitan market in the latest FDIC report for last year. But McCabe said by hiring experienced bankers — all of whom have at least 10 years of proven experience— Pinnacle has succeeded in growing market share. He boldly predicted Thursday that Pinnacle will eventually displace at least one of the three top regional banks in Chattanooga.
"Our goal is to be No. 1, 2 or 3 in each of the markets where we operate," McCabe said. "We will probably add about one office a year (in the Chattanooga market), but we will grow primarily by having great bankers focus on their customers."
Despite a drop in stock values this week, Pinnacle shares are still up by 16 percent since the acquisition of CapitalMark.
Pinnacle has been one of the most profitable and fastest growing banks in Tennessee. McCabe said being based in Tennessee "is a real asset because we have a good and growing business climate" with about 170,000 businesses in the urban areas of the state.
"We aren't country and we want to stay in the major markets in the South," McCabe said.
Across Tennessee, Pinnacle is second in size to only to First Tennessee Bank after the 17-year-old Nashville bank started another bank in Knoxville a decade ago and bought banks in Chattanooga and Memphis two years ago.
Pinnacle now has more than $11 billion in assets and plans to acquire the parent company of the Bank of North Carolina by this fall in a $1.9 billion purchase that should boost the bank to nearly $20 billion in assets across four states. That will make Pinnacle one of the 50 biggest in the United States.
The bank has publicly announced plans to also acquire or expand into Atlanta and major markets in Virginia and the Carolinas.
Pinnacle was recently rated again as one of the best places to work by Forbes magazine and one of the best banks to work at by the American Banker magazine.
"It's a very different bank than the larger regional banks that do a very standardized, high volume business that is focused on the process," said Craig Holley, a former AmSouth Bank president who started CapitalMark and now heads the Chattanooga market for Pinnacle. "At Pinnacle, we try to stay focused on the customer. That's what most bankers like and want to do and it really comes back to that simple equation that engaged associates lead to engage clients and that enriches shareholders. It's pretty simple, but it really works and that's what makes it fun to get up and go to work everyday."
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340.