KINGSPORT - Lynn Shipley is back in banking once again.
On Monday, Shipley officially opened his new TriSummit Bank, with offices in Kingsport and Johnson City, and another branch to open next week in Bristol.
The new bank was given the final green light Friday when state inspectors issued a certificate of authority to operate. Regulators granting the certificate include the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions in conjunction with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve Bank.
"My vision now is that we just build a great bank," Shipley said Monday.
Shipley had been in the banking business for 32 years when he retired from AmSouth at the end of 2004.
"I knew when I left that I was going to do something else. But after I had been away from the bank for a while, I missed it. I missed the employees and customers, that interaction," Shipley said.
Just a few months after retiring, Shipley started thinking about organizing his own bank and conducted his own research to analyze the local banking market, market share, and how that market had changed in the past decade.
From there, Shipley devised a concept for banking that he thought would work in the Tri-Cities, and brought together organizers to join him in the effort.
By early August 2005, the details for the new bank were in place, and on Aug. 29, 2005, Shipley filed with state banking regulators his notice of intent to organize the new institution.
The next year and a half would feel like a roller coaster.
"I wish I had kept a diary. It's been a wide swing of emotions, but it's been a great experience," Shipley said.
By early October 2005, Shipley had received approval from the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions to secure subscriptions to the bank's stock. And in a year, TriSummit had raised more than $32 million in capital - a record for a state-chartered bank. Most of that capital came from investors in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
In August 2006, the bank was granted its state charter and its applications were approved for FDIC insurance and Federal Reserve membership.
Meanwhile, Shipley was searching for sites to establish the new bank in each of the Tri-Cities. His first choice in Kingsport was the old AEP building on Church Circle. He initially planned to buy the building from the city, and then renovate and expand it to fit a bank's needs. But in December 2005, local attorney Tom Dossett filed a lawsuit to block the sale of the building to Shipley.
That lawsuit was dismissed last November, but Dossett has said he plans to appeal the decision.
With the AEP building tied up in the courts, Shipley looked elsewhere in Kingsport and decided on the former Executive Park building on East Stone Drive as an alternative location.
The site has been remodeled and now includes a drive-through and ATM. The new office is led by senior vice president and Kingsport area manager Ted Fields, who is joined by financial center manager Cristy Woelkers and assistant manager Joyce Dockery.
Shipley said he still wants to locate an office in downtown Kingsport - whether or not it ends up in the AEP building.
"I just think downtown is such an important part of the business climate in Kingsport, and we just need to be part of it. We'll be downtown one way or another," he said.
In Johnson City, TriSummit is located in a temporary office at 600 N. State of Franklin Road. Construction is expected to begin soon on a new office at the intersection of State of Franklin Road and Med Tech Parkway. Until the permanent facility is completed, the Johnson City branch will serve as a loan production office. It also includes an ATM. The Johnson City operations are led by Greg Compton, Johnson City president and chief lending officer.
TriSummit's Bristol office, expected to open March 6, is located in a renovated facility at 425 State St., on the Virginia side. The branch includes a drive-through and ATM services, and is headed by Brock Fleenor, Bristol president, and Willie Whisman, financial center manager.
TriSummit is the first Tennessee-chartered commercial bank to initially open with three principal offices in three different cities in two states.
"I would do this again in a heartbeat," Shipley said, adding he hopes to stay with TriSummit "as long as I'm able to."
"You can talk about nice buildings and technology, but it all comes down to people, and we've got some great people on the TriSummit team," he said.
The bank will hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies and grand opening activities in the next few weeks to welcome prospective customers and introduce its bankers to the community.
For more information visit www.trisummitbank.com.