Pinnacle launches auto finance group

Bank recruits here and in Knoxville from BB&T, Regions

In its latest expansionary move, Pinnacle Financial Partners has formed an automotive finance group to work more closely with car dealers and buyers.

The team is being led by David Copeland, a former vice president and senior commercial lender at BB&T in Knoxville. Copeland, who will work from one of Pinnacle’s offices in the Marble City, has 31 years of experience and also has worked at National City Bank and the former First American National Bank.

Working with Copeland are vice presidents Richard Perkins and Jeff Rhodes, who is on the left in our photo. Perkins comes to Pinnacle as an underwriter. He has 24 years of dealer experience at Regions Bank, National City and First American. Rhodes has spent 22 years in the industry and will focus on marketing and sales. He previously was sales manager for dealer financial services at Regions Financial and held management positions at Primus Automotive Financial Services and General Motors Acceptance Corp.

The push into auto finance — officials said they also will partner with dealers to market consumer loans — is part of a broader push by Pinnacle to goose its organic growth rate by recruiting talent from other lenders, primarily large regionals such as Regions. Since last summer, the 12-year-old bank has lured lenders from Tennessee Commerce, JPMorgan Chase, First Tennessee and others.

“This team brings a combined 77 years of experience to Pinnacle’s automotive finance business,” said Hugh Queener, Pinnacle’s chief administrative officer. “Our automotive finance team is well suited to advise clients on floor plan financing, treasury management, merchant services and real estate loans for dealerships.”