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The two-story office at 1101 Broad Street will soon house a local branch office for FNB Bank, which is expanding into the Chattanooga market. / Staff photo by Dave Flessner

A Scottsboro, Alabama-based bank started more than a century ago as the "friendly neighborhood bank" is expanding into Chattanooga with a new business-oriented bank staffed by three veteran bankers.

Although Chattanooga is already home to 28 commercial banks, FNB officials said the Chattanooga branch is a natural extension of FNB's purchase last fall of Capital Bank, which operates offices in Fort Oglethorpe, Chickamauga and Ringgold, Georgia.

"We always want new customers and Chattanooga is certainly a growing market for us," said Holley Patterson, marketing and communications officer for FNB in Scottsboro. "Having a downtown branch will help us serve many of our existing customers in the area as well,"

According to a new report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., deposits in Chattanooga's existing banks grew by 4.5% in the past year to top $10 billion for the first time. No single bank in Chattanooga has even a fourth of the market so Patterson said there are lending and deposit-gathering opportunities for another bank in town.

Chattanooga’s biggest banks

Among the 28 commercial banks operating in the 6-county Chattanooga metro area, total deposits in the past year grew 4.5% to top $10 billion for the first time this year. The biggest local banks are:

1. First Tennessee, $2.3 billion in local deposits, down 2.1% from a year earlier

2. SunTrust, $1.7 billion in local deposits, up 3.9% from a year earlier

3. Regions, $1.3 billion in local deposits, up 3.7% from a year earlier

4. Pinnacle, $852.8 million in local deposits, up 24.3% from a year earlier

5. FirstBank, $611.5 million in local deposits, up 70.2% from a year earlier*

* FirstBank acquired the local offices of Atlantic Capital Bank last year

Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., market share data for June 30, 2019, compared with a year earlier

some text Stephen Rownd

FNB Bank, which reported total assets of $669.2 million as of June 30, recently received regulatory approval to open an office at 1101 Broad Street, the former Tennessee American Water headquarters next to the TVA Chattanooga Office Complex. The office, which is now owned by Dillard Construction Co. and also includes a Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., office, should add the FNB branch later this year or in early 2020. FNB plans to provide both commercial lending and retail operations in the new downtown facility.

FNB President Steve Rownd highlighted the importance of finding experienced and proven bankers to launch the FNB brand in Chattanooga.

"When we formulated our plans to expand in Chattanooga, we concentrated on attracting a team of veteran bankers," he said. "We searched for bankers the business community would know and recognize."

The new bank will be led by veteran bankers Kevin Smith, Bryan Fryar and Jennifer Griffin, who have already joined the bank and are temporarily based at FNB's office in Fort Oglethorpe.

"We wanted talented bankers with strong roots in the community and good reputations," said Mike Baggett, executive vice president and chief lending officer for FNB. "Three experienced bankers joined us in 2018 with the Capital Bank acquisition, and it is an honor to have these three additional veteran bankers, each with more than 20 years of experience, join our team."

Smith will lead the relationship management team responsible for assisting and advising FNB clients and prospects in the East Tennessee area. Fryer was appointed senior vice president and a commercial banker, concentrating on managing commercial and private banking relationships. Griffin is the commercial lending specialist who will provide advice and assistance to commercial and private banking clients.

FNB Bank currently has 16 offices located in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

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

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