Financial Federal moving to Renaissance Center, expanding services

Published on: November 21, 2013

The Commercial Appeal

Financial Federal is moving, but the development is more substantial than the 2.5-mile shift from one part of East Memphis to another.

The institution, built on its mortgage and business lending, is also making a move to expand services. It will start offering checking, including internet and mobile checking.

“We’ve had customer requests over the years. It’s something they’d like us to do,” president William Tayloe said of checking services. “That’s really the main driver.”

The single-site bank plans to move by March from what’s essentially a medical district — at 6305 Humphreys near Baptist East — to the Renaissance Center at 1715 Aaron Brenner.

The future headquarters is within the section of Poplar Corridor — between I-240 and Kirby — that has become premier financial and office real estate for Memphis.

“It gets us better accessibility,” Tayloe said of the move. “We get better visibility for sure.”

Financial Federal will inhabit 27,000 square feet — the first floor and part of the second — of the Renaissance Center. That’s where Trust One Bank once operated. The law firm Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs is a major tenant on the upper floors.

As part of the deal, Financial Federal gets to erect a large “Financial Federal” sign near the top of the Renaissance Center.

“This was a carefully thought-out decision,” Kent Wunderlich, the chief executive officer, chairman and general counsel, said of changing addresses. “It’s something we’ve looked at for a long time. We thought it was in the best strategic long-term interest of the bank to be in that area.”

Financial Federal has occupied 19,000 square feet in the Humphreys building the past 15 years. The extra 8,000 square feet at Renaissance Center gives the institution room to grow, which it expects to do.

The company now has 55 employees and handles about 3,500 accounts.

Financial Federal has offered private, business and mortgage banking.

“We might be known more for mortgage banking, but a large part of what we do is business banking or private banking and we’ve been doing that for many years,” Tayloe said.

Instead of investing in new bank branches and shifting toward retail banking, Tayloe said, “we decided to add products and still stay focused on the customer base we had.’’

The checking services will complement its existing business and private banking.

Before now, the only deposits the bank received were for certificates of deposit and money market accounts.

“If you want to do business lending and don’t have checking accounts, it really is hard to keep that relationship,” Wunderlich said. “Somebody may ask for a working-capital line of credit, and yet we don’t have checking accounts. It just doesn’t work out well. Now, our customers can bank with us like any other commercial bank.”

Financial Federal’s more recent commercial real estate loans have involved the new Office Depot and Hollywood Feed at Poplar and Yates, the Baptist Medical Group at 1717 W. Massey, the Exchange Building in Downtown, Spindini restaurant building on South Main, and The Orleans at Walnut Grove apartments at Houston Levee and
Walnut Grove.