First Tennessee Bank is getting serious about building a commercial presence in Houston, the nation's fifth-largest metro area. The bank has recruited former Whitney Bank and Sovereign Bank regional executive Gary Olander to lead its efforts and build a team there. Houston becomes the fifth bank region for First Tennessee, joining three in in Tennessee and the Mid-Atlantic.
"Houston is one of the most exciting, diverse communities in the country, and the Texas economy is expanding more than twice as fast as the national rate," said Bryan Jordan, First Horizon's chairman and CEO. "Businesses in Texas are benefitting from income and employment rates that are growing faster than the nation's as a whole, and manufacturers are increasingly taking advantage of Houston's location to more efficiently distribute their goods. We see this as a great time to introduce First Tennessee Bank to the business leaders of Houston."
Shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners got a nice endorsement Tuesday from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. The firm initiated coverage of the largest Nashville-based bank with a 'buy' rating and a Street-high $42 price target — and this is after Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) had climbed this year from about $32.50 to $37.50.
New York boutique firm Monness Crespi & Hardt this week launched coverage of the hospital sector with a mix of 'neutral' and 'buy' ratings. In the former basket are local player LifePoint Hospitals as well as Tenet Healthcare and Universal Health Services, the (somewhat) recent buyers of Vanguard Health Systems and Psychiatric Solutions, respectively. Blessed with 'buy' ratings are the industry's top two, HCA Holdings and Community Health Systems. The Monness Crespi & Hardt analysts see HCA (Ticker: HCA) climbing to $63 from about $52 and CHS (Ticker: CYH) moving to $51 from its current levels around $39.
Despite the downgrade by Moody's, Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling says all is well:
"I would point out that Nashville's bond rating is now exactly where it stood when Mayor Dean took office in 2007 as the rating was upgraded in April 2010 when Moody's undertook a ratings methodology analysis," he says. "I would strongly suggest that Nashville is in the same, if not better, financial condition today than it was in 2010 when the ratings upgrade occurred."
Housing research firm CoreLogic says the foreclosure rate in the Nashville area dipped to 0.69 percent in January from 0.77 percent at the end of 2013.
It's the first time foreclosures have been that low since the last days of 2008, when the recession was really beginning to sink its teeth into homeowners' finances. The rate peaked at 1.99 percent in January 2011 and stood at 1.14 percent at the beginning of 2013.
CoreLogic says the 90-day delinquency rate among local homeowners, which peaked in early 2010 at about 6 percent, retreated to 3.52 percent in January, versus 3.60 percent in December and 4.49 percent the year before. The Nashville rate is now 109 basis points lower than Tennessee's and 141 points below that of the national average.
- BRASWELL, ROBERT
- GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR
- GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR
- GARRETT, JOHNNY C IV EXECUTOR; GARRETT, JOHNNY C EXECUTOR; GARRETT, ANN BIGGER ESTATE; GARRETT, TIMOTHY M EXECUTOR