A veteran Richmond banker has made her move back to the realm of big regional banks.
Gail Letts has left locally based C&F Bank to take a position at First Tennessee Bank, a $25 billion Memphis institution that recently has been making a more visible push in the Richmond market.
Letts spent about three decades at SunTrust, ending her tenure as the banking giant’s Richmond CEO. After losing that position in 2013 as part of a corporate reorganization, she landed at C&F, a $1.3 billion West Point-based bank with 25 branches in the area.
She spent just over two years there and left as chief lending officer and president of its Richmond region. Her last day at C&F was Aug. 7.
Letts said she will report to First Tennessee on Aug. 24 as head of its Virginia operations in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
“I’d been hearing a little bit about (First Tennessee), and they reached out to me and asked if I’d like to start a conversation with them,” Letts said of how the relationship came to be.
She said she was drawn to the idea of going back to a larger bank environment that’s more like her days at SunTrust.
“They have greater capacity, and that does attract me,” she said.
She’ll oversee its consumer, commercial and private banking lines and work out of the company’s new Reynolds Crossing office at 6627 W. Broad St.
That new branch is part of First Tennessee’s plan to raise its profile in Richmond, as was its move to lure Letts into the fold, said John Fox, the bank’s mid-Atlantic regional president.
First Tennessee first set up shop in Richmond in 2008. It has operated quietly, initially with a small lending office in the West End. It then converted that office to full branch status, before taking space on a busy stretch of Broad Street.
“We started with a somewhat low profile, building a base of business, getting established in the community, and the opportunity to bring on a leader like Gail is a natural part of that evolution,” Fox said.
In creating this new position in Richmond, Fox said the bank wanted someone with leadership experience and a reputation locally to get the First Tennessee name in front of more potential customers.
“Sometimes they bring a book of business and sometimes they bring stature and prominence in a market that helps a bank develop its business,” Fox said. “That can be a powerful combination.”
Letts oversees a team of four in Richmond, but Fox said he expects that number to grow.
A New York native, Letts began her banking career with predecessors of SunTrust and spent time in Baltimore, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., before coming to Richmond in 2007. She’s a graduate of Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.