Coming off a solid second quarter that included nice cost savings from two recent acquisitions, Reliant Bancorp Chairman and CEO DeVan Ard Jr. said Friday his team isn’t counting on much loan growth for the rest of 2020 as the region’s economy looks to get back on track.

Speaking to analysts and investors, Ard said he’s a less optimistic about a strong economic rebound than he was in late spring given the uneven reopening of businesses in the area and the steady rise in COVID-19 cases.

“I don’t think anybody really knows what the pace of this recovery will look like over the balance of the year,” he said. “So we’re looking at zero to 5 percent loan growth” in the third and fourth quarters.

Excluding Reliant’s acquisitions of Community Bank & Trust and First Advantage Bank, loan growth for the past year was 16 percent, although that number was lifted by its participation in the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. Ard said many customers “are being very cautious” about new projects but is seeing, as other area bankers are, strength in the local home-building sector.

Reliant finished the second quarter with a net interest margin of 4.58, up nearly a percentage point from a year earlier thanks both to solid loan pricing and lower deposit rates. Ard and his team are counting on that number to tick up more through the rest of 2020 as higher-cost deposits, both from Reliant’s legacy operations and First Advantage, reprice at lower rates.

Shares of Reliant (Ticker: RBNC) rose nicely Friday after its earnings report but were giving up about 4 percent to $15 Monday afternoon. They began 2020 around $22.

This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post

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