Tennessee Is Getting Its First New Bank Since The Financial Collapse

Jul 17, 2017

The name may be familiar. Tennessee Bank & Trust, which has been part of a bigger company, is now striking out on its own. That bucks a recent trend since Tennessee had lost nearly a bank a month over the last three years, primarily through mergers and acquisitions.

There hasn't been a new bank in Tennessee since before the financial crisis. Tennessee Bankers Association president Colin Barrett blames what he considers onerous regulations in the Dodd Frank Act intended to rein in Wall Street.

"The reason that banks are getting out is the same reason that banks are not starting, because those challenges are the same," he says.

Barrett says even small banks are having to hire compliance experts rather than more loan officers, making it harder to turn a profit. It's also harder on consumers, he says. The shrinking number of individual banks, particularly in rural areas, has made loans a bit tougher to come by.

As Tennessee Bank & Trust announced its approval for a new state charter to become a locally-focused commercial lender, a spokesman pointed out that regulators are "practically begging" for new applications. For years, banking officials discouraged the creation of new lenders, preferring potential investors to direct their capital into existing institutions.