West Tennessee-Based Bank Opens Chattanooga Office

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Carol Wilbanks
Carol Wilbanks

FirstBank has opened a mortgage origination office in Chattanooga, executives of the West Tennessee-based bank announced.

The development was announced on the heels of the bank’s expansion into Knox and Williamson counties earlier this summer.

“Our goal since we started in Henderson County 20 years ago has been to be a true statewide independent bank,” said Jim Ayers, chairman of FirstBank. “We’ve had our eyes set on Chattanooga for quite some time, and we feel good about the prospective success it affords.”

Mr. Ayers added that, while FirstBank may not yet have a presence in every county, establishing offices in each of the major metropolitan markets in Tennessee allows it to reach and serve customers all across the three grand divisions of the state.

“We want FirstBank to be a household name in East Tennessee, and I believe we will eventually have the same sort of impact here that we do in West Tennessee,” he said.

The Chattanooga FirstBank lending operations will be located at 6110 Shallowford Road.

Carol Wilbanks joins FirstBank as senior mortgage loan processor. She most recently was with First Volunteer Bank in Chattanooga, where she served as a mortgage loan processor since 1997. Prior to that, she spent five years with The Prudential RCR in Chattanooga, overseeing real estate advertising and MLS listings.

Ebbie Denton is conventional and government underwriter and office manager. Denton spent more than 10 years at First Volunteer Bank in Chattanooga, where she was vice president, residential lending and loan administrative officer. She also spent seven years at American Home Mortgage Co. in Chattanooga as a loan processor and mortgage credit examiner.

Leslie Harris, Lisa Messier and Chris Shoemake all join the bank as loan officers.

Ms. Harris brings nearly 20 years of mortgage banking experience to the team. She began her career as a loan processor for Collateral Mortgage/New South Federal Savings Bank in Chattanooga and also has mortgage loan underwriting, origination and escrow agent experience with Countrywide Home Loans, Milligan-Reynolds Guaranty Title and First Volunteer Bank, all in Chattanooga.

Ms. Messier also joins FirstBank from First Volunteer Bank, where she served as a mortgage loan originator and construction lender for the past 14 years. Before that, she was in managerial positions with Commerce Union Bank and First Citizens Bank.

Mr. Shoemake brings 10 years’ experience to FirstBank, most recently serving as mortgage loan originator at First Volunteer Bank in Chattanooga. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga graduate also has local lending experience with Volunteer Bank/Community Financial Corporation.

About FirstBank

FirstBank is one of the largest independently owned banks in Tennessee, with 34 locations and assets in excess of $1.1 billion.

As the leader among Tennessee’s community banks, FirstBank offers its customers a broad line of financial products and services, and actively promotes initiatives that improve the quality of life for Tennesseans, with an emphasis on education in the communities it serves. Jim Ayers is owner and chairman of FirstBank and founder of the Ayers Foundation.

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