Financial Federal Hits $500 Million in Assets

Published on: May 31, 2017

Andy Meek, Memphis Daily News

Financial Federal has hit a milestone in recent weeks – reaching $500 million in assets – that bank president William Tayloe said confirms the plan the bank is following to achieve organic growth is working.

But while “half a billion is good,” as he puts it, he also cautions that the bank is not pursuing growth for growth’s sake. And his explanation for how the bank has expanded to its current size is also representative of the business of banking today, and what an institution like Financial Federal needs to do to thrive.

“We have really good people here, a lot of long-term employees and bankers who are very knowledgeable and experienced,” Tayloe said about the bank, which employs 60 people today. “We also made a pretty big investment in technology around 2012, and that’s really helped us kind of grow some of our products, what we can offer, and who we can bank.”

Historically, he continued, the bank has been very active in real estate banking, both residential and commercial. But the bank also now focuses on commercial banking and banking small- to mid-sized businesses, with its investment in technology now giving it the capability to expand things like deposit products and treasury management.

The current trend in banking is for institutions to lean more on technology solutions and away from massive brick-and-mortar branch footprints. With its one Memphis location at 1715 Aaron Brenner Drive in East Memphis, that has been Financial Federal’s game plan.

“I just think you have to do this. It’s the way banking’s going,” Tayloe said. “You have to have different access points. Some people still like to come in and bank and visit in person, and we like that, too. Others like the convenience of being able to run their banking – whether it’s personal banking or business banking – where they can scan checks with remote deposit capture in their office. They don’t have to run to the bank to make deposits. They can transfer money from their phone or online, and it just gives them options.

“I think that’s where the world’s going, really. Probably less branches and more technology. And that’s really been our setup from the beginning.”

A series of changes the bank pursued, like moving in 2014 from office space on Humphreys Boulevard to its current home on Aaron Brenner, helped set the bank on its current path. That move, for example, helped with visibility and access. And really, bank CEO Kent Wunderlich told The Daily News back when his bank signed its lease for that space, “that’s the financial district of Memphis.”

Bruce Taylor, co-founder of Patton & Taylor Construction Co., said both he and his business have done business with Financial Federal “for a long time.” Taylor and also some members of his family have, too, and he said that’s because the bank has always been “responsible and accommodating with their customers.”

With banks all providing similar products and services, Tayloe says, the only differentiator many times is the service and the people.

“The way we compete and win business, we have to be fast, flexible and responsive,” he said. “That’s the way we differentiate ourselves. And we do what we say we’re going to do. I think if you do all those things, it breeds customer loyalty. That’s how we build the bank and the brand, primarily by referrals and repeat business.”