Hunter Atkins is stepping down as CEO of The Bank of Nashville, sources have told NashvillePost.com.
Atkins, 60, will stay on chairman of The Bank of Nashville, which was founded in 1989 and ranks 12th in area deposit market share. Sources say his successor is Bill Nigh, president and CEO of Trust One Bank in Memphis, which like The Bank of Nashville is owned by Georgia-based holding company Synovus Financial.
Bank of Nashville officials said they could not comment on the leadership transition. A formal announcement is expected to be made later today.
Atkins’ move comes as parent company Synovus Financial prepares to consolidate The Bank of Nashville’s charter into a single entity. Previously, Synovus’ 30 affiliates all had their own charters, a source of costs and complexity at the holding company, which in late April raised $1 billion to shore up its capital base.
Atkins joined Community Financial Group, then The Bank of Nashville’s parent company, in June 2000 from the former AmSouth, where he had been city president for five years and consumer banking manager for one. Two years later, he helped sell the company to Georgia-based holding company Synovus Financial Group for about $80 million.
Atkins and his team, like many of their peers, bet big on real estate as the economy rebounded from the 2001 recession. That strategy helped them post solid numbers in the middle part of the decade – profits peaked at $7.4 million in 2006 while assets peaked at a little less than $1 billion in early 2008 — but came back to bite with a vengeance as the property market tanked.
In its last eight quarters, The Bank of Nashville has posted losses of $100 million and shrunk its loan book by a third to $510 million. As of March 31, 5 percent of its loans were not current and 18 percent of its commercial and development portfolio was delinquent.
The bank has had to handle other senior personnel changes since the recession began. Business-focused Tennessee Commerce Bank recently recruited former Chief Credit Officer Roger Cathey to be one of its two VPs of special assets. And in late 2008, Senior VP Ellen Hackett jumped to Civic Bank & Trust.
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