Another bank is coming to town.
First Tennessee Bank, which announced plans earlier this year to expand into South Carolina, is seeking permission to open its first branch in the Charleston market.
The lender is leasing space on the first floor of the Motley Rice law firm headquarters at 28 Bridgeside Blvd., near the entrance to Patriots Point. The Memphis-based bank hopes to have the branch up and running within 90 days.
The office will take deposits and offer other basic banking services, but, unlike most newcomers to the local market, First Tennessee won't be chasing traditional walk-in retail business.
The bank also has no immediate plans to bulk up on branches. Instead it will target wealth management, private banking services and commercial loans, said Rotcher Watkins, senior vice president.
"First Tennessee has had various relationships in Charleston and in South Carolina for many years," he said Friday. "Based on the reception we've received and the great business we've been able to get, we want to expand on that, get closer to the community and build a better network in the market."
First Tennessee has hired three veteran local bankers to open the office: B. Allston Moore III, formerly of First Citizens; Andy Thomas, who had been with First Federal; and Shelly Clark, who previously was with TD Bank.
"Our strategy was primarily built around finding the right people in very attractive cities or locations that would fit well with First Tennessee," said Watkins, who's based in Charlotte.
The bank announced plans in March to expand its mid-Atlantic division into markets with above-average growth prospects in the Carolinas, Florida and Virginia.
The bank is bullish on Charleston partly because of the demographics, the port and Boeing Co.
"There's just a lot of business and economic activity going on," Watkins said.
First Tennessee, which has assets of $25 billion and about 180 branches, marks its 150th anniversary next year. It's owned by First Horizon National Corp.
Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.
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