Lexington, Tenn.-based FirstBank isn’t the most visible or longstanding lender with a Midstate presence. But with President Chris Holmes at the helm — he was named to the position a year ago after arriving at the bank’s local offices in 2010 — that is well on its way to changing.
FirstBank has assets of approximately $2.2 billion and is the third-largest Tennessee-based bank by deposits. Backed by the patient capital of Jim Ayers, its leadership laid low during the worst of the Great Recession, reorganizing and preparing for better times.
“We made conscious decisions to temper our growth aspirations and ensure we had the capacity to take care of the needs of our existing customers during uncertain times,” Holmes said. “Today, our core management is in Nashville and we are committed to being a leading bank in the market.”
In the past 18 months, FirstBank has recruited industry veteran Gordon Inman — now regional chairman — and a commercial team led by Allen Oakley, who also is president of Middle Tennessee operations. Holmes and his team also have been building new locations in Green Hills, Cool Springs and Murfreesboro.
The bank now has 10 branches throughout Middle Tennessee and ranks 14th in local deposit market share. Last December, it repaid the U.S. Department of the Treasury the $50 million it received as part of the Capital Purchase Program.
“We repaid the funds without issuing stock, taking on debt or accepting assistance from other government programs,” Holmes said. “The fact that we repaid the $50 million out of earnings shows how fundamentally sound our bank is.”