Area Financial Services Veteran Sam J. Jenkins Leads First Commercial’s Memphis Marketplace Entry.
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – August 31, 2020 – First Commercial Bank (firstcommercialbk.com) President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Walters, and Executive Advisor and President and CEO - In Wait Curt Gabardi, today jointly announced the bank is entering the Memphis market, and has hired Sam J. Jenkins to run its Memphis operations. Headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, this marks First Commercial’s first location outside its home state.
“We are totally committed to building a strong presence in the Memphis commercial banking space. Sam is the perfect choice to lead the way. He is a highly respected commercial banker, well known not just in Memphis but throughout the Southeast. He has an absolutely stellar reputation,” Walters said in a written statement.
“Memphis is a critical component of our growth strategy. Attracting such highly regarded leadership to optimize that strategy, as we have with Sam, represents a truly exciting moment for our bank. As we formally enter the Memphis market, we know that nothing is more important to our growth than bringing together talented leadership at every level of the bank, all of whom aspire to provide an exceptional client experience. This is the essence of the First Commercial story,” Gabardi explained.
“I’ve known Curt for many years, back when he was CEO of Regions Bank of Memphis and West Tennessee, and then as founder and chief executive of Metropolitan Bank, a $1.5 billion financial institution that merged with Renasant Bank,” Jenkins said. “Metropolitan’s legacy of success in Memphis, the quality of First Commercial’s remarkable team, and its laser focus on commercial clients since its inception 20 years ago, all are strong indicators of what we will accomplish in this market.”
As further evidence of First Commercial’s total commitment to the Memphis market, Jenkins announced the bank will maintain office space on the ground floor of Crescent Center, the premier office building in Memphis. “That means we are situated at the acknowledged epicenter of the financial district, along the East Memphis/Poplar & Ridgeway corridor. We believe this makes a powerful statement about doing what it takes to serve the Memphis commercial banking segment,” Jenkins said.
He noted the space originally was occupied by the former Enterprise Bank, which ultimately evolved to become Cadence Bank. “We are taking temporary space on the second floor while our permanent ground floor location undergoes a refresh to reflect our concierge banking layout. We’ll have signage visibility on the front of Crescent Center and on the existing drive-through space facing Ridgeway. This facility ideally suits our talent-driven, client centric strategy,” Jenkins explained.
“Memphis is strong and vital and I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and clients. This is a return to my roots. I’ve enjoyed my time in financial advisory and investment banking but commercial banking is what I really know and love,” he added.
Commenting on First Commercial Bank’s competitive advantage Jenkins said, “Our clients are going to get community bank service and responsiveness and flexibility, but they’re also going to get big bank capabilities and expertise from commercial bankers who are skilled, who understand how to structure large transactions and create the optimal banking solutions for commercial clients—for example, middle market, small to medium sized businesses, and family owned generational companies.
“It’s important to me that the First Commercial team and I share a core philosophy: to be successful a bank must always remain focused on four constituencies: our customers, our co-workers, our communities, and our shareholders. If you take care of the first three, the fourth will take care of itself,” Jenkins stated.
Jenkins’ 40-year career in Memphis includes 29 years as Executive Vice President of corporate banking at First Tennessee Bank, seven years as founder and owner of Capstone Financial Services, and most recently as Managing Director of the Memphis office of Butler Snow Advisory Services.
Three other First Commercial Bank colleagues are joining Jenkins as First Commercial’s initial Memphis team, two of which are former Metropolitan Bank Memphians who worked under Gabardi: Kera Cooper, Senior Vice President, Private Client Banking; and Sarah Haney, Assistant Vice President and Associate Managing Director. Corey J. Porta, Vice President, Commercial Lending, is relocating from First Commercial’s Southaven, Mississippi office to the new Memphis office.
Cooper began her banking career in 2006. She left banking in 2009 to work for Northwestern Mutual. In 2011, she returned to the industry with Metropolitan Bank. Prior to joining First Commercial Bank in 2020, most recently Cooper was Senior Managing Director - Private Banking with Renasant Bank in Memphis.
Haney joined Metropolitan Bank in Memphis in 2012. Prior to coming to First Commercial Bank in 2020, most recently she managed the Private Client offices and was a Private Client lender with Renasant Bank in Memphis.
Porta earned his MBA in 2015 and then served as Business Relationship Manager in Nashville and as Assistant Vice President, Business Relationship Manager in Memphis. Prior to joining First Commercial’s Southaven branch in 2018, he was Assistant Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer with Bank Tennessee in Memphis.
First Commercial Bank officially opens for business in Memphis September 1, 2020.
About First Commercial Bank
First Commercial Bank was established in 2000, and is a community bank owned by the privately held holding company, First Commercial Bancshares, Inc. headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. First Commercial Bank is Mississippi’s first and foremost bank for businesses and professionals, having pioneered the business- and professionals-focused banking model in the state. The bank has total assets of $490 million as of April 30, 2020. First Commercial Bank offers a full range of deposit and trust services, as well as business, commercial real estate, construction, mortgage, residential and consumer loans.