Commerce Union, Reliant merging

Combined bank to have $650M+ in assets, be led by DeBerry

Two local community banks that first opened their doors in 2006 are merging to create an institution that should rank in the region's top 15 deposit holders.

The leaders of Commerce Union Bancshares and Reliant Bank have signed a definitive agreement to join forces by the third quarter of this year. The combined organization will have assets of about $665 million and about $75 million in equity. Ron DeBerry will serve as chairman and CEO, with Reliant CEO DeVan Ard moving into the role of president. The combined entity will have offices in Cool Springs, Franklin, Lenox Village, Maryland Farms, Springfield and Gallatin as well as two loan production offices.

"We are very excited about the growth prospects for the combined bank," DeBerry said. "Both banks have a demonstrated track record of exceptional customer service and a strong commitment to the communities that we serve. We believe that together, with our increased scale and expanded geographic footprint, we are well positioned to serve the marketplace and continue to be the bank of choice for customers in the markets we serve."

The combined Commerce Union holding company will be headquartered in Brentwood — Commerce Union now does business from Springfield — and be steered by an 11-member board made up of five directors from each company plus a new independent director both companies will choose. Farzin Ferdowsi, chair of Reliant, also will chair the combined company's board.

If the deal is finalized, Reliant shareholders will own about 55 percent of the combined company after receiving a little more than one Commerce Union shares for each of their common shares. Commerce Union (Ticker: CUBN) should have a market cap of about $85 million when all is said and done.

Word of the Commerce Union-Reliant deal comes about five months after the parent companies of Franklin Synergy Bank and Murfreesboro's MidSouth Bank said they would combine forces. That agreement, which is set for a shareholder vote later this spring, will create a bank with about $1 billion in assets.