First Tennessee Bank to open first retail branch in Charlotte

First Tennessee Bank plans to open its first retail branch in the Charlotte metropolitan area, in SouthPark’s Morrocroft Centre.

The move expands First Tennessee’s activities in Charlotte, where it has had a presence since 2010, said Rotcher Watkins, Charlotte-area executive for First Tennessee. Until now, First Tennessee’s operations in Charlotte have involved only commercial banking, commercial real estate lending and treasury management, he said.

Once the branch opens, First Tennessee will be able to accept deposits and cash checks from customers.

“We’re filling out our (business) model,” Watkins said.

The new branch will be First Tennessee’s seventh branch in North Carolina, Watkins said. It marks the latest expansion in the state for First Tennessee, whose parent grew its North Carolina branch network through October’s purchase of Raleigh-based TrustAtlantic Financial Corp. in a $96.7 million stock and cash deal.

Plans are for the branch to go inside First Tennessee’s existing offices at 4064 Colony Road, Watkins said. First Tennessee relocated its Charlotte operations there last year, from 5821 Fairview Road about a mile away.

Watkins said he did not have an exact opening date for the branch but that it will be at least three months from now.

First Tennessee is operated by Memphis, Tenn.-based First Horizon National Corp., which has about 180 branches in eight states and roughly $27 billion in assets.

Watkins said First Tennessee, which employs about 35 people in Charlotte, is attracted to the economic expansion taking place in the city.

“The growth and businesses that are moving into the area – we feel like with that type of growth there’s plenty of opportunity for First Tennessee,” said Watkins, a former Wachovia managing director who joined First Tennessee about 11 years ago.

“It’s such a large market, there’s plenty of room for the competitors that are here,” he said. “It’s a great economic situation.”

Watkins said First Tennessee has not ruled out opening more branches in Charlotte in the future. The bank also has plans to add private-client and wealth-management capabilities to its Charlotte operations, he said.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts