From a PR standpoint, getting sued by a judge has to be close to the bottom

But that's what Regions Bank is facing in its hometown, where Circuit Court judge David Lichtenstein has accused CEO Dowd Ritter and his senior team of not doing enough to prevent the bank's stock price (Ticker: RF) from collapsing.
The suit is a so-called "derivative action," filed on behalf of all Regions shareholders. Any financial relief would go to the company, not shareholders, Baddley said. "We want the unfair bonuses and any damages received to go back to the corporation, which would boost the bank's finances and benefit the stockholders," Baddley said. Regions spokesman Tim Deighton promised that the bank would fight the suit. "We believe the case is without merit and we plan a vigorous defense," he said.
May 18, 2009 10:27 PM

Tennessee commercial mortgages struggling

File this under 'States we don't want to be compared to right now:' Updating its commercial mortgage-backed securities numbers, Fitch Ratings says only Michigan has a higher default rate than Tennessee. Fitch analysts also say it doesn't appear the market is digesting the sour stuff.
While the loans secured by properties located in the worst performing states account for less than 6% of the Fitch-rated universe by balance, they make up nearly one-fourth of all real estate owned (REO) loans tracked in the index — an indication that special servicers are finding limited opportunities to work out or to quickly dispose of assets in these locations. Each of the preceding states has an unemployment rate significantly higher than the 8.9% national rate.
May 18, 2009 1:29 PM

Fifth Third adds to health care team

Former SunTrust managing director joins bank after detour at Ambulatory Services of America
May 13, 2009 7:55 AM

Analysts: Many banks looking to shrink

Sandler O'Neill's top bank analysts last week spent some time in New Orleans at the Gulf South Bank Conference. Here are some of the thoughts they took away from the presentations of and conversations with managers of some 20 regional banks, several of which have operations in Tennessee. - Loan growth is nowhere near as important as a year ago. "Regulators, banks, and investors now seem to be on the same page on capital," wrote managing directors Joe Fenech and Kevin Fitzsimmons. That echoes sounds that have come from other quarters of the industry, including the local folks at Pinnacle Financial and Tennessee Commerce, whose strong growth had them turning to TARP. - Bankers are getting their arms around their problems. "It seems loans are migrating through the respective credit management buckets ... in a more orderly and predictable fashion," the analysts wrote. - Institutions with a good number of hotel loans on their books will be sweating it this summer. Fenech and Fitzsimmons pass on word that a number of banks reported that the drop in leisure travel is beginning to bite the hospitality industry.
May 12, 2009 11:07 PM

Regional bank still growing local loan book

Inside an ugly first-quarer report highlighted by a $67 million goodwill impairment charge, Mississippi-based Cadence Financial says it's been building its Nashville-area loan portfolio even though only one out of every 20 deposit dollars resides here. Cadence (Ticker: CADE) runs just two Williamson County offices, but based on its earnings report, the bank has grown its local portfolio 24 percent to $220 million in the year ended March 31. The downside of growth: The bank last month put a good bit of the blame for its credit problems on Middle Tennessee.
May 11, 2009 11:01 PM

Whitney: Bank stocks overvalued

Meredith Whitney says bank shares have been riding "The Great Government Momentum Train" but still aren't in any shape to post good numbers.
"The underlying core earnings power of these banks of negligible ... Some of these business models are never going to come back."
May 11, 2009 5:46 PM

Banking's forgotten little guys

Economist Mike Moebs says the government's crisis plan to fix the country's large banks has ignored the real drivers of Main Street's expansion during the next upswing.
May 11, 2009 3:49 PM

10-Q from Tennessee Commerce

The 10-Q filed by Franklin-based Tennessee Commerce provides more detail on the company's first quarter. A much larger loan loss provision swung the company into the red as expected.
May 11, 2009 2:30 PM

BB&T moves to pay back TARP

The Carolina-based bank, which is the Nashville area's 13th-largest deposit-taker and the anchor tenant in The Gulch's Terrazzo tower, will raise $1.5 billion and cut its dividend.
"We have a long and proud history of paying dividends and understand how important the dividend is to our shareholders, so this decision to temporarily reduce the dividend was extremely difficult for the board and, for me personally, it marks the worst day in my 37 year career. However, we firmly believe this action is in the long-term best interests of our shareholders and our company because of the risk and uncertainty associated with being a TARP participant. In addition, our current earnings, while superior to our peers, are not likely to justify our $.47 dividend in the near term."
May 11, 2009 8:16 AM

Corker sees 'glimmer of hope' in financial sector

From CNN:
“There are glimmers of hope” in the financial sector, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union when asked if the industry had turned a corner. “I think it was a positive step,” said Corker of the Obama administrations’ recent “stress tests” on the nation’s largest banks. “But there will possibly be additional government dollars [for some financial institutions]. I think that hasn’t fully been said and I think that what we’ve got to be concerned about as we move into the future is not causing [the Troubled Asset Relief Program] to be codified so that it’s there forever.” “I actually am feeling better about it. I really am,” Corker, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, added.
May 10, 2009 10:35 PM