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Steven Thompson

A Birmingham, Alabama-based bank that expanded into Knoxville last year with its purchase of a Virginia bank has entered the Chattanooga market with a new office Ooltewah.

First US Bank opened a loan production office this week in Cambridge Square in Ooltewah and hired banking veteran Steven Thompson to lead commercial lending efforts in the Chattanooga market.

"This will be our third loan production office," said David McCullum, executive vice president and senior commercial banking executive for First US Bank. "Chattanooga is a strong market in our footprint area and we hope to grow our presence over time."

If successful, McCullum said the bank will add a mortgage loan office and other services, potentially expanding into a full-service commercial bank in Chattanooga. Even with 28 commercial banks now in the metro Chattanooga market, McCullum said there are still opportunities for growth in the market.

Last year, First US Bank acquired Peoples Bank, headquartered in Rose Hill, Virginia. With that purchase, First US Bank acquired bank offices in Knoxville and Powell, Tennessee.

"We believe that our entry into the Chattanooga area is a natural complement to our expansion into Knoxville last year," said James F. House, president and CEO of the bank and its holding company First US Bancshares Inc. "Chattanooga is a key area in east Tennessee with significant growth potential, and we look forward to becoming a part of this vibrant market."

Thompson, who previously was commercial real estate relationship manager at FirstBank and has worked in commercial lending for the last 12 years, will serve as senior vice president and commercial lender at the new Ooltewah office.

Thompson previously worked as a senior portfolio manager at Regions Bank and as a financial advisor at Edward Jones. He earned his degree in business administration from Lee University.

First US Bank already operates in six counties in Southwest and Central Alabama, and in Knox County, Tennessee and Lee County, Virginia. The bank has assets of about $800 million and dates back to 1952 when it began as the Bank of Thomasville in Alabama. The later relocated its headquarters to Birmingham, Alabama.

First US Bank is the fourth new bank to expand into the Chattanooga market in the past couple of years. First Citizens National Bank, based in Dyersburg, Tennessee, has opened offices near Hamilton Place and Northgate Malls since the fall of 2017. BancorpSouth Bank, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, opened an office in downtown Chattanooga last year. SouthEast Bank, based in Farragut, Tennessee, added a downtown Chattanooga office last fall.

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

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