Which local banks are lending the most for what?

Published on: June 11, 2014


Rob Robertson, Memphis Business Journal

One of the most convenient things about covering the banking industry is that nearly everything they do has to be reported to the government.

Banks complain about this a lot — an entire lobbying industry is basically dedicated to fighting government regulations — but it's not necessarily because they have anything to hide; it's just that the process of reporting everything single thing a bank does can be a very expensive enterprise. But that's a whole 'nother story.

For banking reporters (we few, we happy few), it means relatively easy access to data that can provide a number of interesting snapshots of market activity. We'll be focusing on the lending activity of local banks in our cover story this week, but for a teaser, lets look at which local community banks are the leading lenders in some of the most familiar lending categories.

Mortgages – Landmark Community Bank

Germantown-based Landmark Community Bank has a loan volume of almost $370 million for residential mortgages (first quarter 2014) – a total that is nearly three times as high as the next closest local bank. There is a fairly easy explanation for this, which we'll explore in the paper on Friday (or to our online subscribers tomorrow) but suffice to say Landmark's remarkable gains are the product of some outside-the-market thinking.

There is also some top secret strategy involved that Landmark CEO Jake Farrell isn't going to share anytime soon.

"I'll just say we're aggressive when we think we can be," he said with a chuckle. "I'm not saying anymore than that; it's a competitive enough environment already."

Commercial Real Estate – Triumph Bank

 Memphis-based Triumph Bank booked almost $140 million in commercial real estate loans in the first quarter. You can read more about what's going right over at Triumph Bank here.

Construction – Financial Federal Bank

Financial Federal Bank, which specializes in private lending, listed a shade more than $57 million in construction loans in the first quarter, edging out Magna Bank ($52 million) in a category that has seen some contraction from most local banks. Financial Federal and Magna were among the minority that actually grew their portfolios in this category in the first quarter of 2014.

Commercial & Industrial – Magna Bank

While Magna Bank is close in construction lending, it is the leader in the clubhouse when it comes to C&I, listing almost $75 million in such loans for the first quarter.

"Our C&I growth was a combination of a few key relationships with some businesses that are growing and some smart hiring," said Ted Simpson, Magna Bank’s chief lending officer. "We were very pleased with the way we ended last year, and we're off to a good start this year."

You can learn more about Magna's loan growth strategy in Friday's story.

Autos – Independent Bank

Independent Bank remains the Godzilla of auto lending in Memphis, listing more than $465 million in auto loans in the first quarter of 2014. While the Memphis-based community bank is growing its mortgage and real estate lending portfolios, auto loans still make up more than two-thirds of the bank’s entire lending portfolio.