Pinnacle Tweaks Strategy to Nab Customers Leaving Larger Banks

Customers are flocking to Nashville’s largest locally-owned bank to avoid checking and debit fees at other institutions, according to the company. Now Pinnacle Financial Partners is stepping up marketing efforts to attract even more new business.

Expect to see Pinnacle ads on cable. TV isn’t the usual way the bank likes to advertise. But chief financial officer Harold Carpenter says there are a lot of unhappy customers that Pinnacle could win over with a free checking account.

“We feel like the debit card fee dissatisfaction among customers represents a great consumer deposit growth opportunity for us. We’ve seen consumer accounts that have been established at regional banks for 30 years now finding their way to Pinnacle.”

Carpenter says account openings jumped 70 percent in August and September as other banks began charging new fees.

Beyond the new customers, Pinnacle also beat analyst expectations for the third quarter. The bank turned in its 5th straight quarter of profitability after being slammed by construction loans-gone-bad during the financial crisis.

Pinnacle still has no immediate plans to repay the $95 million it took from the U.S. Treasury as part of the bank bailout known as TARP. That puts Pinnacle behind many other banks. The federal government has already recovered more than 75 percent of what was loaned out.

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