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Metropolitan — new bank, familiar Mississippi names and faces

There is a new player in the banking industry in Mississippi, though some of the names may be quite familiar to many, especially those who banked or worked with Union Planters and Regions banks in the past.

On March 3, Metropolitan BancGroup Inc., based in Memphis, announced it had completed its acquisition of Bancsouth Financial Corporation and its subsidiary, Bank of the South, previously headquartered in Crystal Springs. Metropolitan also announced it had closed on the acquisition of a Tennessee state bank charter.

Metropolitan announced its intention to purchase both Bank of the South and the Tennessee state banking charter last January. The acquisitions closed February 28 and February 29, respectively. Terms were not disclosed.

Metropolitan’s leadership is composed of experienced and familiar bankers, many formerly with Regions Bank. Its president and CEO is Curt Gabardi, former market president of Regions Bank in Jackson.

“This is an exciting time for our shareholders, clients and associates as it affirms our strategy of creating a dynamic, full-service commercial and private bank comprised of the most talented and experienced bankers in our markets,” Gabardi says. “Our Tennessee and Mississippi strategy is a story about great bankers operating in a nimble and client-centric environment. We believe this will be our competitive advantage. We are quite gratified by the support we’ve received and the confirmation that this is the right strategy at the right time for a talented group of bankers to pursue a niche commercial banking strategy.”

Experience counts

Metropolitan says it has gathered a team of seasoned professionals, a “dream team,” if one will, of some of commercial bankers in Memphis and Jackson.

Gabardi says that “our investment is in people, and that’s the foundation of Metropolitan and the very reason why the overall response from our core constituency has been so positive.”

In addition to Gabardi, Ben Madden, formerly with Union Planters Bank and Regions, is Metropolitan’s chairman and chief deposit officer. Phillip May, a former commercial banking executive with Regions, serves Metropolitan as executive managing director. Another Metropolitan executive managing director and leader of its private client line of business is Bill Barron, former head of private banking and wealth management for Regions in Mississippi. And Metropolitan COO Rick Adams most recently served as a commercial banking executive at Regions, as well.

As of the completion of the acquisitions, Metropolitan had total assets and capital of approximately $125 million and $45 million, respectively. With the addition of Bank of the South’s 25 associates, Metropolitan will begin operation with a combined payroll of 42 workers.

Metropolitan began full-service operations in Mississippi and Tennessee this month.

In Memphis, the bank currently maintains a temporary location at Clark Tower 5100 Poplar Avenue. Its permanent office and Tennessee headquarters is being built on Aaron Brenner Drive in East Memphis. The bank expects to be in its new home in May.

Permanent headquarters are also planned in the metro Jackson area. In addition to an existing Bank of the South office in Flowood located on Lakeland Drive, which will be re-branded Metropolitan, the company plans to open its Mississippi headquarters on Northlake Drive in Ridgeland in April.

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at wally.northway@msbusiness.com.


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