published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

CapitalMark Bank expands into Cleveland and Oak Ridge

CapitalMark Bank and Trust plans to double the number of offices it operates next year by expanding into Cleveland and Oak Ridge, Tenn.

But the Chattanooga-based bank isn't building new branches to compete with the 12 banks already in Cleveland or the 11 banks now in Oak Ridge.

CapitalMark has hired the top officers from rival banks in both cities and is leasing former bank offices in both downtown Cleveland and Oak Ridge for the new offices, pending regulatory approval next month.

"We're hoping we can replicate the success that we've had in Chattanooga and Knoxville in these new markets," CapitalMark CEO R. Craig Holley said. "We've grown to nearly $600 million in assets in less than five years using what we believe is a very unique and successful model of trying to serve the needs of successful businesses and consumers."

CapitalMark isn't building as big a branch network as its competitors to attract depositors. From its leased offices, CapitalMark uses online and mobile carrier services and dispatches officers in the field to meet the banking needs of its clients.

In Cleveland, former First Tennessee Bank community president Keith Barrett joined CapitalMark in August to help head up a new five-person staff to serve Bradley County. The bank has petitioned state and federal regulators to open an office in part of the former headquarters of the Cleveland Bank and Trust building on Church Street downtown.

"I like the opportunity to work with a growing, community bank and this allows me to continue to work with businesses and their owners in a banking model that I'm confident will be a good fit for Cleveland," said Barrett, a 21-year banker who is now working out of CapitalMark's Chattanooga office.

In Oak Ridge, former SunTrust city president and Oak Ridge Mayor David Bradshaw will head a similar five-person staff that plans to open a branch in the former Hamilton National Bank building -- one of the first banks opened in Oak Ridge in the historic Jackson Square.

"CapitalMark is a very entrepreneurial-thinking bank, which I personally find very attractive and I think will be a good fit for Oak Ridge," Bradshaw said.

CapitalMark touts its "one point of entry" for each of its clients through bank managers who handle all of a customer's banking needs.

"We don't pass around our customers from department to department like some banks do today," Holley said. "We've developed a model where you are assigned one banker team and they do everything for you. We've created a model that makes it pretty simple and easy to do business with us."

Barrett and Bradshaw are among a half dozen top officers from other bigger regional banks who have joined CapitalMark over the past four years, Holley said.

From leased offices in the former Pioneer Bank building in Chattanooga and the former post office building in Knoxville, CapitalMark has already grown to be the sixth-biggest bank in metro Chattanooga and the 21st-biggest bank in metro Knoxville. CapitalMark earned nearly $2.3 million in the first nine months of 2011, up 8.6 percent from the same period a year ago.

"We're focused on local relationship deposits, versus wholesale or brokered deposits," Holley said. "We expect to continue to grow, but we want to do so in a controlled manner with good asset quality and a focus on our local markets."

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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