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FirstBank Doles Out $38M for Eastern Expansion

NOVEMBER 15, 2018

Nashville Business Journal

By Meg Garner  – Reporter, Nashville Business Journal

37 minutes ago

FirstBank is spending nearly $38 million to expand its reach into East Tennessee.

The Nashville-based bank will acquire 14 branches from Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bancshares (Nasdaq: ACBI), according to a news release. Eleven of those branches are split between the Knoxville area and Chattanooga, while three are in Dalton, Georgia, which is 30 miles south of Chattanooga.

In addition to new physical locations, the deal gives FirstBank access to $602 million in new deposits and roughly $381 million in loans, according to the release. Those new deposits will prove valuable to FirstBank, with stable, low-cost deposits becoming increasingly rare amid Nashville’s boom. Originally headquartered in Lexington, Tennessee, FirstBank is known for using a strong base of rural deposits to offset its continued growth in urban loans.

“Opportunities to add valuable customer relationships on this scale are scarce, and we are excited about the future prospects of this transaction,” CEO Chris Holmes said in a statement.

The deal is FirstBank’s second acquisition since becoming a public company in September 2016. In the time since, Holmes hasn’t been coy about FirstBank’s desire to do more deals. With $5.1 billion in total assets, FirstBank (NYSE: FBK) is the third-largest lender based in Tennessee, with offices throughout the state, northwest Georgia and Huntsville, Ala.

Last year, FirstBank spent $284.2 million to snap up two banks: Knoxville’s Clayton Bank and Trust and Tullahoma’s American City Bank. Both banks were owned by Knoxville billionaire Jim Clayton. The deal expanded FirstBank’s Knoxville footprint and helped connect the bank’s Middle Tennessee offices with its locations in northern Alabama.

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