"We're in Louisville, West Point and Columbus. ... and we always considered Starkville and the home of Mississippi State University and waited for the right opportunity," said Renasant Mississippi Division President Scott Cochran.
Tupelo-based Renasant found that opportunity, announcing Tuesday that it was opening a branch led by none other than veteran banker Tommy Tomlinson.
The former vice president and Starkville regional president of Cadence Bank, Tomlinson has more than 28 years of experience in the city.
"Tommy is a perfect fit," Cochran said.
"Starkville for me is home," he said. "After my first banking job in Meridian, I came back here in 1983. I think that's a plus. I think the community knows me and I think my first priority is introducing the community to Renasant."
Renasant will open in a temporary location with a loan production office within the next 30 days It is looking for a lot on which it will build a permanent full-service location within the next 18 months.
Joining Tomlinson are Jim Ferguson as senior vice president and trust officer and Jeff Overstreet as commercial lender and banking officer.
"I am excited to be joining the Renasant Bank family and look forward to building a strong banking franchise in Starkville," Tomlinson said. "Renasant is a community-oriented bank where decisions are made on the local level, you get the products of a big bank with the service of a local community bank and relationships are the foundation for success."
The Starkville market entrance is Renasant's eighth expansion during the past year. Earlier this month, it entered the Montgomery, Ala., banking market, two days after it announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire RBC Bank (USA)'s Birmingham-based $680 million asset trust division.
In February, Renasant acquired the former American Trust Bank in Roswell, Ga., adding three branches in north Georgia. During the first quarter of this year, Renasant completed its conversion of Crescent Bank amp& Trust of Jasper, Ga., which was acquired in the third quarter of last year.