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Charleston Business

Reaching a Pinnacle: Looking at Economic Development in Nashville

Nov 08, 2023 11:26AM ● By David Dykes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – He apologized for being underdressed for the meeting, saying he was participating that day in team-building exercises with associates.

The workout clothes notwithstanding, M. Terry Turner, Pinnacle Financial Partners’ president and CEO, welcomed the South Carolina group to Nashville.

“We’re glad you’re here,” he said. “We’re proud of the city. It’s a fabulous spot.”

It was a message that those on the Greenville Chamber’s intercommunity leadership visit would hear many times over the course of three days in September. And Turner, who grew up in Atlanta, has lived in Nashville 35 years and raised his family here. 

“It’s extraordinary to be in a city that’s moving and growing as fast as it is and the vibrance of it is great fun,” he said.

That was the draw for the South Carolina group – to see how a fast-growing city, strategically located in the heart of the Tennessee Valley, has prospered in a region where businesses thrive and entrepreneurial spirit resonates across industries and communities, and to learn from its successes and failures.

The Nashville economic market encompasses 10 counties and a population of more than 2 million, making it the largest metro area in a five-state region.

As the Nashville Regional Economic Development Guide notes, many corporate headquarter giants call the area home, including Nissan North America, Bridgestone Americas, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Dollar General, and iHeartMedia.

And it notes that as a national hub for the creative class, Nashville has the largest concentration of the music industry per capita in the U.S.

So, the visitors came to take a look, asking what should be Greenville’s big bets moving forward, how to collaborate in a way that builds a more inclusive economy, and how to grow in a way that is true to our brand and to our aspirations?

There’ll be more in future columns about the trip and the challenges that come with growth. 

It’s projected more than 250,000 people will relocate to Greenville County by 2040. Chamber officials say they are making it their mission to be prepared for that growth. 

They stress that planning to grow the right way includes increasing educational attainment, developing a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem and building a vibrant metropolitan region with a high quality of life.

Pinnacle Financial Partners is a Nashville success story. It is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville MSA based on deposits for the sixth consecutive year, according to FDIC data as of June 30, 2023, and rose to be the second biggest bank in Tennessee. 

The firm overtook Regions for the No. 2 spot statewide, adding $3.49 billion in Tennessee deposits for a total of $26.85 billion and an annual growth rate of 14.94 percent. That represents 12.10 percent of statewide market share.

Locally in the Nashville MSA, Pinnacle now holds $19.49 billion in deposits, having grown by $2.79 billion in 12 months for a 16.73 percent growth rate and 20.83 percent of market share. Its nearest competitor, Bank of America, is No. 2 with 14.48 percent of market share and $13.55 billion in deposits as of June 30, 2023. Pinnacle had far and away the highest deposit growth of any other bank in the market, outpacing second place by more than $2.4 billion.

“Given the volatility of the last eight months, these numbers are a remarkable reminder of the power of the Pinnacle model to earn trust and build lasting relationships,” Turner says. “Coalition Greenwich data show us leading the pack in virtually every measure of client satisfaction and therefore seemingly best positioned to continue winning new business away from our competitors. We have built a people-first approach to ‘high touch and high tech’ banking, and it’s yielded these demonstrably different results.”

He adds, “I am incredibly proud of our team and ready to continue building on our long-standing momentum.”

Pinnacle was the only bank among the top six in Nashville to add deposits in the 12 months ended June 30, 2023. The Nashville MSA grew its total deposit pool by $952.40 million. Pinnacle added nearly three times that amount to its books, and its competitors ranked just below suffered significant drops of up to $921.60 million. 

Across its footprint, Pinnacle grew deposits by $5.21 billion in the 12 months ended June 30, 2023, for an annual growth rate of 15.90 percent and a total of $37.97 billion. Of Pinnacle’s 25 MSAs measured by the FDIC, it saw growth in 19, including 10 with double-digit growth rates, two hitting triple-digits and seven where it is the fastest growing bank by deposit dollars.

Pinnacle is the fastest growing bank in Charleston by deposit totals, rising from No. 7 in market share to No. 6 and crossing the $1 billion milestone. The firm held $1.19 billion of local deposits, growing by 24.73 percent, or $234.97 million. It’s the only bank to grow deposits among the top seven on the list, adding deposits as the overall market and some of the biggest banks serving it lost significant amounts. 

Pinnacle grew deposits slightly with its one office in Hilton Head to $66.96 million but lost 4.46 percent in Myrtle Beach for a new total of $388.30 million and 2.82 percent market share.

Pinnacle also earned a spot on the 2023 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S., its seventh consecutive appearance, and was recognized by American Banker as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For 10 years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $11 billion in assets in 2022.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, in October 2000, and has grown to approximately $46.9 billion in assets as of June 30, 2023. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 17 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.

Turner has served as president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle Financial Partners since its founding in 2000. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor’s degree in industrial management in 1976. Following his graduation, Turner worked for Arthur Andersen & Company as a consultant in Atlanta, Ga. 

He joined one of his clients, Park National Bank in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1979, where he held various management positions before that bank was acquired by First American National Bank in Nashville, Tenn. Turner served in various executive positions at First American including president of the General Bank and president of the Investment Services Group.

During Turner’s tenure in Nashville, he has served as chairman of the board of the Nashville Sports Council, advisory board chairman for the Salvation Army, member of the board of trustees of Belmont University, a member of the board of governors of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and board member of the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

He notes any public company like his has to be focused on total shareholder return, and he’s proud that Pinnacle, over its 23-year history, has had the second highest of all publicly traded banks in the U.S. Its business mix is 70 percent commercial, 30 percent consumer, he says.   

And it all begins with what the company does for its associates, Turner says.

“We’ve cared about that, nurtured that, from the get-go, believing if we can create this great associate experience that we translate that to a client experience and translate that to shareholder value,” he says. “We all win together and lose together.”

He adds the company takes 1 percent of its pre-tax profit and gives it back in community support and its associates last year volunteered 31,000 hours to various causes.

In South Carolina, Pinnacle primarily is in Greenville and Charleston, with $1 billion in assets in those markets. His intent, Turner says, is to do more. 

“We’d put that on the list of our big opportunities to grow.”