Eight Tennessee institutions have made the latest American Banker ranking of the country's top publicly traded community banks, which was published last week. Tops in the state on the list — which measures lenders on their three-year return on average equity — is Citizens Bank out of Carthage at No. 25 with an ROE of more than 13 percent. Three banks active in the Nashville market also made the grade: Truxton Corp. came in 61st, the parent of Legends Bank out of Clarksville was 133rd and Wilson Bank Holding Co. ranked 165th.
The top three? Carolina Financial Corp. out of Charleston, University Bancorp from Michigan and First General Bank in California. Check out the full list here.
The founder and CEO of a fast-growing regional bank says his leadership team may relocate to Nashville.
Speaking to al.com, ServistFirst Bancshares Tom Broughton said he is talking about tax incentives to both Alabama and Tennessee officials and may relocate part or all of the company's home office. ServisFirst entered the Nashville market almost two years ago and has since then built a loan book of more than $125 million here.
"We're just trying to anticipate our needs down the road. We ran out of space here a couple of years ago," Broughton said. "Do we do everything here? Do we move some to Atlanta? Do we move some to Nashville? Those are high growth markets. That's a question – nobody much wants to live in Atlanta, because of the traffic – Nashville is much more attractive from that standpoint."
ServisFirst was founded in 2005 and went public last year. The company (Ticker: SFBS) now has a market value of about $900 million and is active in five Alabama markets as well as in Nashville; Pensacola, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; and Atlanta, where it recently bought a small bank. It finished the first quarter of this year with a profit of about $13 million — its Atlanta purchase resulted in $2.1 million in charges — and total assets of $4.4 billion. The latter number was up from $3.6 billion a year earlier.
In the wake of Pinnacle Financial Partners' big Memphis news, Kevin Reynolds at Wunderlich Securities has upgraded shares of the largest bank headquartered in Nashville to 'buy' from 'hold.' Reynolds, who earlier this month hiked his Pinnacle price targe to $48 from $40, now has the stock climbing to $54 in the coming year. Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) finished Wednesday trading at $48.60.
Analyst Catherine Mealor at Keefe Bruyette & Woods was impressed enough by Avenue Financial Holdings' first-quarter earnings report to upgrade the stock to 'outperform' from 'market perform.' Mealor also has boosted her price target for newly public Avenue to $14 from $13.50. Avenue shares (Ticker: AVNU) closed Tuesday at $12.11.
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