A Mississippi bank advised by longtime banking entrepreneur Curt Gabardi has opened a branch office in Memphis’ largest commercial district.
First Commercial Bank recently located on the second floor in the Crescent Center office complex in East Memphis and is renovating a larger first-floor space for an eventual move.
First Commercial, the No. 6 bank in market share in Jackson, Mississippi, has entered a Memphis market that contains 54 banks with 359 branches holding $32 billion in customer deposits.
It will become the third out-of-town bank focused on commercial lending to locate a recent branch inside a prominent office building in the Poplar Corridor. Nashville-based FirstBank occupies a corner of the newest office building in the corridor, the TraVure, and Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial is the marquee name on the other recently-built office building.
Gabardi left Regions in 2007 and started Metropolitan Bank in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He guided its expansion in Memphis and led the bank’s acquisition of Bancsouth Financial Corp. and its subsidiary, Bank of the South, based in Crystal Springs, Mississippi.
In 2017, he oversaw Metropolitan’s sale to Renasant Bank of Tupelo, Mississippi. Now he is set to become president and chief executive of First Commercial later this year. Gabardi joined the 20-year-old Jackson bank this spring as executive advisor.
First Commercial said business consultant Sam J. Jenkins was hired to lead First Commercial’s Memphis offices. Jenkins had been executive vice president of corporate banking at First Tennessee National, the No. 1 bank in Memphis by market share. He left to found Capstone Financial Services and most recently was managing director in the Memphis office of Butler Snow Advisory Services, a corporate consulting firm based in Jackson, Mississippi.
Other staff members in the new office will include two former Metropolitan Bank-Memphis executives: Kera Cooper will lead private client banking as senior vice president. Sarah Haney will serve as assistant vice president and associate managing director.
Corey J. Porta will head commercial lending. Porta, a vice president, will move to the new office from First Commercial’s other branch in the Memphis market. It was opened in 2010 in suburban Southaven.