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Nashville Bank Ready to ‘Move to the Next Level in Memphis’

MAY 23, 2018

By Meagan Nichols and Meg Garner  –  Nashville Business Journal
May 23, 2018, 2:59pm CDT

One of Nashville’s largest local lenders is ready to “move to the next level in Memphis,” and they’re getting the space to make that happen.

Last week, the Memphis Business Journal revealed FirstBank had signed a lease for 8,000 square feet of space in Gill Properties’ new TraVure development in Germantown. Jeff Hudson, Memphis president for FirstBank, said they expect their growth in the Memphis market to continue and they simply ran out of space at their current corporate offices on International Drive.

“We have had a tremendous amount of growth in the last three years,” Hudson said. “Opportunities are really good in Memphis, and we have a terrific team.”

Hudson, who joined FirstBank in 2015, said the organization expects to hire more people locally and, though he did not have an exact number, said they would welcome “as many that can help make an impact on Memphis.”

FirstBank’s boosted presence in Memphis comes as the $4.7 billion lender continues to grow its footprint. In 2017, the bank announced its $284 million acquisition of the Clayton Banks, which gave FirstBank a larger presence in Knoxville as well as filled out the bank’s footprint throughout Tennessee.

And while FirstBank is growing in Memphis, it also could expand in Nashville. In August 2016, CEO Chris Holmes said in an interview with The Tennessean the bank was assessing its options for a potential office switch in Nashville.

“As we look out over the next year, we can use different spaces that we have,” Holmes told The Tennessean, adding the company is not under time constraints in its potential office search. “We’re at a point where we needed some more space and so we’ve been thinking about our options.”

FirstBank is housed in downtown’s Baker Donelson Center, which just lost its namesake tenant. In April, the Nashville Business Journal first reported Memphis-based law firm Baker Donelson was moving to a proposed 30-story office tower in SoBro.

FirstBank is not the only Nashville-based banking player to build deeper roots in Memphis, with Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. also doubling down on the city. Pinnacle entered the Memphis market through its acquisition of Magna Bank, with the $23 billion lender recently moving into its new Memphis headquarters.

In addition to signing a lease, FirstBank was the lead financier of their new Memphis home.

A building permit valued at $395,000 for the interior build-out of FirstBank was filed May 17. Hudson said he expects work to start by next week with construction slated to take five months.

The TraVure development, which is located near the corner of Poplar Avenue and Kirby Parkway, is anchored by Memphis-based multifamily giant MAA. The bank will occupy part of the first floor.

Since FirstBank currently has a bank branch less than a mile west on Poplar Avenue, their TraVure space will not include retail banking. However, an ATM at TraVure is possible.

“I have been in Memphis 40 years. … [I] just had an opportunity to come back and make a difference in a really good organization that has kind of been under the radar in Memphis,” Hudson said. “Other banks know about us; the community, I hope, is seeing what we are doing. We are doing a lot of things. We are going to grow. We are going to hire more people and move to the next level in Memphis, because we love Memphis.”

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