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Renasant Bank to open in downtown Johnson City

Madison Mathews • Dec 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Downtown Johnson City will be getting a new bank next year thanks in part to the public and private investment that has made the downtown area more attractive for future business.

Tupelo, Miss.-based Renasant Bank will locate its flagship Tri-Cities branch at the corner of King and Roan streets downtown. The bank hopes to have the new branch open by mid-to-late February at the former First Tennessee Bank financial center at 103 King St.

“After we studied what Johnson City’s local leadership and the private sector were doing in the downtown area, we became convinced the time was right to plant our flag here. We wanted to make a statement regarding our belief that downtown Johnson City is on the rise, and that we want to be a part of it,” Renasant’s East Tennessee Region President Kent Vaught said in a news release.

Renasant is a 108-year-old financial institution with approximately $4 billion in assets. The bank opened a Jonesborough branch about two weeks ago.

The move to locate Renasant’s newest branch in downtown Johnson City was spurred by the revitalization efforts led by the city of Johnson City and the Washington County Economic Development Council, as well as the pending arrival of Northeast State Community College, Tupelo Honey Cafe and Paxton Place.

That commitment offered the kind of opportunity the bank was looking for in creating its Johnson City branch, according to Randy Humphreys, president of Renasant’s Tri-Cities market.

“Johnson City seems really committed to downtown with Tupelo Honey, the farmer’s market and (East Tennessee State University) seems like it wants to do a lot of things. It’s really exciting for us. With all that’s going on in downtown, we’re just excited about it. We think it’s going to be a good fit,” he said.

Humphreys said the branch’s employees have a long history of banking in Johnson City and they hope to pick up new business from downtown merchants and the other businesses that are opening up in the downtown area.

“To me, we’re kind of setting the trend there and we’re going to make that happen. We’re going to do a lot of renovation and make a really nice facility — something that Johnson City can be proud of. We’re just trying to build off their momentum and take the people we have and really do a good job with it,” he said.

Washington County Economic Development Council CEO Robert Reynolds said Renasant’s choice to locate downtown validates the work that is being done to help revitalize the downtown area.

“Success breeds success, if you will, and having the private sector recognize the efforts that are occurring from the public sector and private investments, such as Paxton Place and Tupelo Honey, just bodes well and tells the story that it’s a great time to make a new investment in downtown,” he said.

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