Reliant

Brentwood-based Reliant Bank is wrapping up two mergers announced last year, but executives said the company could resume acquisitions later this year. 

On a conference call discussing fourth quarter financial results Friday morning, Reliant CEO DeVan Ard said the company wants to finish integrating recent two mergers, but left the door open for more acquisitions in the second half of 2020. 

Reliant announced plans to buy Community Bank and Trust in Ashland City last September, and First Advantage Bancorp in Clarksville last October.

“We have conversations on a regular basis with many different banks, and I suspect there will be other opportunities within the defined footprint that we’ve established this year. We certainly want to get to get both the ones have behind us,” Ard said. “We’ve all seen M and A activity pick up in Tennessee in the last couple of years, I think there are reasons that some of the community banks in our markets will want to look for a strategic partner. We feel like we provide a really good opportunity for that.”

That timeline is consistent with Ard’s comments following the announcement of the acquisitions last year. 

At that time, he said the goal was to grow the company into a regionally focused bank with $5 billion to $10 billion in assets by acquiring targets with more than $500 million in assets over three to five years.

That would add to a flurry of community bank acquisitions in Tennessee in recent years, including several mergers announced this week. 

Nashville-based First Bank announced plans to buy 14 Atlantic Capital branches in Tennessee and Georgia and a community bank near Bowling Green in 2019, following a four year period of $1.8 billion in acquisitions.  

Just in the last week, FirstBank announced plans to acquire of Franklin Synergy bank for $600 million, and Nashville-based CapStar announced plans to buy two community banks south of Nashville.

On the conference call Friday, Ard said all the recent shuffling — particularly the acquisition of Franklin Synergy bank — could help Reliant attract new customers and talented bankers.

"The FirstBank and Synergy deal is certainly a good opportunity. We’re both … headquartered in Williamson County. We’ve got a lot of market overlap just in Williamson County,” he said. “I think whether it’s opportunities for customers or certainly opportunities for people there are going to be plenty of opportunities for us going forward. We like disruption in the market and we plan to take advantage of it.”

In 2019, Reliant reported $16.2 million in net income, up from about $14.1 million in 2018. Net income during the fourth quarter was flat year-over-year, but the company was in the process of integrating the two banks it recently acquired, which resulted in $1.3 million in merger expenses.  

Reliant reported $1.9 billion in assets at the end of 2019. According to an investor presentation, its recent acquisition would push that number to $2.9 billion.

Reliant finished the integration of Cheatham County’s Community Bank and Trust in January, and expects to finalize the merger with First Advantage in Clarksville in the second quarter of 2020. Reliant has already received regulatory approvals for that merger and plans to hold shareholder votes in March.

Reliant’s stock price stayed essentially level at about $22 per share on Friday morning following the release of fourth quarter financial results on Thursday afternoon.

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