So what should we make of this?
In its latest snapshot of banking conditions in its Southern District, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says loan volumes in the Nashville region "continue to contract." That characterization doesn't fit at all with mid-year numbers from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which showed the area's community banks posting annualized loan growth of more than 10 percent.
The simple explanation would be that national and big regional banks are pulling back from Nashville. The country's top lenders account for more than 60 percent of Middle Tennessee deposits — new numbers were released just the other day — so it's fair to assume they command a similar share of the lending market. The region's community banks would have to put up eye-popping numbers to offset even a measured contraction at their large brethren.
So that's the easy explanation. But I'll open it up to you all: Is there more to it?
Pinnacle Financial Partners has recruited eight-year banking veteran Nathan Matheson to be a senior vice president and business banker at its West Baddour office in Lebanon. Matheson, who is working on his master's in finance and economics at Middle Tennessee State University, had been a VP at SunTrust.
Pinnacle also has hired Liz Thomas in Lebanon as service specialist. She has 11 years of experience and joins Pinnacle from First Tennessee Bank, where she was an operations manager. Before that, she worked at Carolyn Miller State Farm Insurance and Wilson Bank & Trust.
Pinnacle runs four offices in Wilson and ranked second in deposit share as of mid-2013 with 13 percent of the market.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. regulators in late July barred Art Helf, a co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Tennessee Commerce Bancorp, and Lamar Cox, who was at times chief administrative officer, CFO and COO at the failed bank, from holding any position of authority in a financial business under the agency's purview. Helf, on the left in our photo, and Cox are the second and third former execs of Tennessee Commerce to come under regulatory fire: Earlier this year, the FDIC said it was going after former CEO Mike Sapp for alleged breaches of his fiduciary duty. The orders against Helf and Cox, which were made public late last week, came after both men waived their right to a hearing on the FDIC's charges but neither admitted to nor denied those claims.
Avenue Bank's leaders have named April Britt the institution's first chief people officer, building on the learning manager role she has held since 2011. Britt joined Avenue as Cool Springs branch manager in 2008 and has 15 years of banking experience. In her new role, she is overseeing the bank's recruiting, retention and development initiatives as well as its policy and benefits programs.
SEE ALSO: The recent word that Aaron Dorn was named Avenue's first chief strategy officer and that marketing exec Lisa Meiers moved into a broader engagement role
SNL Financial's Ken McCarthy and Robin Majumdar have tallied up the second-quarter loan growth numbers at the nation's community banks, and the news isn't great for the Southeast. The region ranks last for median commercial loan growth, where it lags the year-over-year national average by 1.7 percentage points, with only residential construction outperforming by a noticeable margin.
Analyst Stephen Scouten at Sandler O'Neill has raised his rating on shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners to 'buy' from 'hold' after the bank holding company reported its second-quarter numbers. The move by Scouten is based on the valuation of Pinnacle, which is off about 10 percent from its recent highs (Ticker: PNFP) but is still up about 15 percent so far in 2014.
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