Middle Tennessee's Wilson Bank expands into Chattanooga

Contributed art / Wilson Bank & Trust, a 36-year-old bank headquartered in Lebanon, Tennessee, has opened an office in Chattanooga to expand its market presence in Southeast Tennessee.
Contributed art / Wilson Bank & Trust, a 36-year-old bank headquartered in Lebanon, Tennessee, has opened an office in Chattanooga to expand its market presence in Southeast Tennessee.

This story was updated on March 27 to correct the day of the ribbon-cutting.

The angst fueled by the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank earlier this month may be limiting some financial institutions, but the number of banks continues to grow in Chattanooga.

For the second time in the past year, a Middle Tennessee bank has opened an office in Chattanooga to expand its market presence in Southeast Tennessee.

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Wilson Bank & Trust, a 36-year-old bank headquartered in Lebanon, Tennessee, will have a ribbon-cutting at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday for a loan production office the bank recently opened at 1300 Broad St. in downtown Chattanooga. John McDearman, CEO of Wilson Bank, said the growing $4 billion-asset bank has been looking to expand into Chattanooga and Knoxville and was able to hire experienced bankers to add a loan office in Chattanooga, which he hopes to eventually convert to a full-service bank.

"We've worked with an expanding list of loan clients in Hamilton County for many years, and it was clear that our brand would be a great fit to expand into Chattanooga when the right opportunity came along," McDearman said in the company's annual report that highlights the expansion.

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In a telephone interview Friday, McDearman said Chattanooga is a growing market with more people and businesses moving into the area, "and we see a lot of opportunity to expand in another part of the state."

The new lending office will include three experienced, local bankers. Kathryn Gann will serve as vice president and commercial lender, while Ami Ingle will be an assistant vice president and small business lender, and Alise O'Brien will serve as a portfolio manager.

Wilson Bank already operates 30 offices. In its annual report, the bank said it already competes with most of the banks now operating in the Chattanooga market, "so we like our chances of seeing success" in Southeast Tennessee.

"We believe Chattanooga is a solid growth market in the state that continues to see increases in population due to the healthy economic and business climate," Wilson Bank & Trust said in its annual report.

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The addition comes less than a year after the Nashville-based Capstar Bank opened a bank office in downtown Chattanooga.

Capstar became the 28th bank to operate in the Chattanooga metropolitan area, which collectively has more than $15 billion in bank deposits.

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