Area community bank earnings top $50M for first time

Bonus: Smaller players contributing more to growth

Now that's more like it.

The Nashville region's community banks posted a combined second-quarter profit of $53.1 million, an all-time high and an increase of 19 percent from the year before. Better still, the gains were largely driven by loan growth that clocked in at an annual rate of 10.2 percent, the fastest pace since the Great Recession.

And as an extra bonus, it appears the growth among area lenders — long concentrated among its largest players — is finally making its way to smaller institutions: The 10 smallest Middle Tennessee community banks, which combined have $1.8 billion in assets, grew their loan books by a collective $46 million in the second quarter, which was more than in the three previous quarters combined. The quarterly profits of those lenders grew to $1.9 million, up from $1.3 million in Q1.

Among the mid-sized banks posting strong growth numbers in the three months ended June 30 were:

• Volunteer State Bank out of Gallatin, which grew its book to $375 million from $354 million

• Reliant Bank, which added more than $25 million in loans to get to $313 million, and

• MidSouth Bank in Murfreesboro, which grew its loan portfolio to $196 million from $175 million during the quarter. The bank was acquired this summer by Franklin Synergy.

Another positive is that credit quality continues to improve at a majority of local community banks. Ten of the institutions we track finished June with a higher amount of nonclassified loans on their books, but the total amount of delinquent loans at all 29 banks fell to $142 million from $163 million in March and was down almost 30 percent from a year ago.

Our full rundown of local banks' Q2 numbers is here. Past analyses are available here.