A Memphis bank wants to officially plant a branch flag in Richmond.
First Tennessee Bank this month applied for permission to create a full-fledged branch at its West End office.
John Fox, head of First Tennessee’s Mid-Atlantic region, said getting a full branch designation at its office at 7301 Forest Ave. is a sign of the bank’s steady growth in Richmond.
“It’s indicative of the fact that we are growing and want to further expand the scope of what we are doing and give it official branch status,” Fox said. “The Richmond location has moved in its life cycle from that of a rep office to a full branch.”
First Tennessee is the banking arm of financial giant First Horizon National Corp., a $25 billion bank holding company also headquartered in Memphis.
The bank has 170 offices in Tennessee and began expanding in the Mid-Atlantic in 2004. It opened in Richmond in late 2008 with one employee and has quietly grown its presence in the market to a staff of five.
“We like the Richmond market,” Fox said. “The Richmond market looks like our markets in Tennessee, where our company is very comfortable.”
In Richmond, First Tennessee offers commercial banking services, private client banking and financing for commercial real estate developers. One of the biggest projects it has funded locally is the expansion of senior-living facility Covenant Woods, Fox said.
It hasn’t done mass-market retail banking or small business banking in Richmond, Fox said.
The company does not release any figures specifically related to its deposit market share in Richmond or the size of its loan portfolio here, Fox said.
First Tennessee has plenty of competition in Richmond, both from locally based banks and an increasing list of out-of-town institutions that have made moves into the market.
Fox said First Tennessee hasn’t made any decisions on further branch expansion locally, but he did say the bank could look to grow its ranks here.
“We are always interested in good solid bankers with strong local orientations,” Fox said.
Fox said the company might eventually look to try out a new branch concept in Richmond – one that is forgoes traditional teller lines. Other banks are experimenting with a similar format, including StellarOne and its branch at Libbie and Patterson avenues.
First Tennessee must wait for approval for branch status from its federal regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.