July 22, 2015

Renasant Bank Expanding Office To Grow It’s Commercial, Private Banking Business

By Christopher Sheffield
– Memphis Business Journal –

Renasant Bank is nearly doubling the size of its Memphis headquarters as it looks to consolidate and expand its commercial and private banking operations.

The bank has leased the remaining 12,000 square feet — the entire third floor — at its current headquarters at 5240 Poplar from owner Boyle Investment Co., says Frank Cianciola, Renasant’s Memphis president.

Renasant is investing about $600,000 to finish out about 8,000 square feet for occupancy, Cianciola says. Filling it could take three to five years, he says, but maybe less depending on what the future holds for the competitive and always evolving banking market.

The Tupelo-based bank moved into the building in August 2005 after a long search for the right location, Cianciola says.

The 24,000-square-foot building sits on two acres just east of White Station and has both above-ground parking and a 160-space underground garage. A full-service retail branch is on the first floor.

About half of the bank’s 65 Memphis employees currently work in the building, he says. Renasant has 10 retail bank locations in the Memphis market and has seen its market share continue to grow each year. It’s now the ninth largest bank in Memphis.

Now isn’t the best time to expand given how market conditions are walloping interest revenue for banks, but the expansion is more about taking the long view, Cianciola says.

Sam McClatchy, Memphis region president for Pulaski Bank, says while the macro conditions may be tough, the Memphis market isn’t that terribly bad. Residential construction is a bit soft but lending for office space and commercial real estate is healthy and the retail banking environment is competitive but stable.

"You have to take the opportunities and look at the long term and structure yourself, where you expect to be in three to five years," McClatchy says.

Renasant’s Rick Hall, executive vice president and senior loan officer, says now is the perfect time to expand for just that reason.

The extra space gives the bank more flexibility so when the right person in the market comes along "we’ll have a space for them."

Already, two conference rooms on the second floor have been converted into office space for commercial lenders, Cianciola says.

Gutting of the floor was completed this week with build-out expected to begin in a few weeks. The space should be available for occupancy by early January, says Carol Russell, executive vice president over private banking and retail banking.

Looney Ricks Kiss is designing the space. F & F Construction, Inc., is the general contractor. Both have handled multiple projects for Renasant in the Memphis market, Russell says.

Hall says immediate plans call for Russell and two private bankers to move into the space from the second floor as well as the addition of at least one mortgage originator. The bank’s six-person construction lending operation, currently working from rented space in Germantown, will move to the third floor.

That will immediately take about 3,000 square feet and leave about 9,000 for growth over time, Hall says.

It’s arguably a bit of a gamble to be adding space when many financial institutions are seeing revenues stagnate and an uncertain future, Cianciola says. But in a competitive market like Memphis, waiting for the good times could mean having to pick up the scraps. And that’s just not possible when it comes to prime space along Poplar.

"If you wait until you need it, the space won’t be there," he says.