North Georgia bank expands into Chattanooga

North Georgia bank expands into Chattanooga

September 6th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Ralph Smith

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A Chatsworth, Ga., bank established in 1975 to serve Northwest Georgia is heading north of the border to open a loan production office in Chattanooga

First National Community Bank, which operates offices in Chatsworth, Dalton and Eton, Ga., grew its assets as of June 30 to $151.5 million and is eager to tap into the growing Chattanooga business scene, according to bank president Laurice Tatum.

"We feel like we have a lot of credit capability with our growth through the years and Chattanooga has a lot of business that we hope to serve," Tatum said. "We're doing some business in Chattanooga already and Ralph Smith, who has been our senior lender, has worked in Chattanooga for a good while and we're trying to use his talent as our market president for Chattanooga."

Initially, First National Community Bank is opening only a loan production office, which will add a few more loan officers, including mortgage lenders, at its new location at 6031 Shallowford Road, Suite 107.

Eventually, Tatum said the bank plans to open a full-service commercial bank in Chattanooga "once we reach a strong enough loan presence in the market."

Metropolitan Chattanooga already has 27 commercial banks, which collectively have more than $9.2 billion in deposits.

"Chattanooga is well banked, but we think there are still opportunities," Tatum said. "There have been a number of mergers in the market and that might create some chances to pick up business."

Over the past three years, the biggest independent banks in Chattanooga — formerly FSG, CapitalMark, Northwest Georgia and Cornerstone banks — all merged with bigger regional banks.

First National Community Bank is the 9th biggest in metro Dalton with five area offices and 45 employees, according to filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Smith will oversee operations in Chattanooga. He has more than three decades of banking experience.

"What we are bringing to Chattanooga is a large measure of true community banking," Smith said. "For our customers, that means a faster response, a relationship-based loan resource, local loan decisions and impeccable loan service. We will not operate like a large regional bank does."

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


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