Salisbury native Bryan Jordan taking helm of Tennessee bank
By Paris Goodnight
The largest bank in Tennessee has promoted a Salisbury native from chief financial officer to president and chief executive.
Bryan Jordan will lead First Horizon National Corp. and its main banking unit, First Tennessee Bank, effective Sept. 1.
He is the son of Jean and David Jordan, a longtime Salisbury banker affiliated with the institutions now operating as SunTrust.
“I tell people all the time I grew up around banking and learned a lot over the years from my dad,” he said Friday. “I’m proud of my dad and my roots.”
Jordan, 46, takes over as part of a succession plan to replace current president and chief executive, Jerry Baker. Baker, 65, will become vice chairman of First Horizon’s board of directors and assist with the transition until he retires Dec. 31.
As chief financial officer, Jordan has been involved at the bank’s highest levels during all the recent turmoil in the financial system, he said.
“It’s a difficult, interesting period,” he said. “But the banking system is strong.”
The Memphis-based company had seen more than half of its share price evaporate since the beginning of this year, according to the Memphis Daily News. A thousand shares of First Horizon stock worth almost $38,000 last July had dropped to only about $8,500 this year, based on the stock price of $8.47 a share when tabulated. The company stock hit a low of $4.52 before Jordan was named to his new position and closed at $9.67 a share Friday.
“The first couple of things we need to do is continue to reduce the size and essentially get out of our national businesses ó get out of the national construction portfolio, reduce and get out of our home-lending portfolio,” Jordan told the Memphis newspaper. “We’ve got to complete the sale of our mortgage business, which we expect will happen in the third quarter and will allow us to continue to place our energy on building what we think is an extraordinarily strong, if not dominant, franchise in our Tennessee banking franchise and our capital markets business.”
First Horizon National Corp. has 9,000 employees and hundreds of offices in more than 40 states. The corporation’s three major brands are FTN Financial, First Horizon and First Tennessee. As of Dec. 31, 2007, the bank had $17 billion in total deposits and $21.8 billion in total net loans. The company Web site is www.fhnc.com.
Jordan earlier worked for Regions Financial Corp. in Birmingham, Ala., and First Union Bank.
Jordan, a member of First Presbyterian Church when growing up, is a 1980 graduate of Salisbury High School and a 1984 Catawba College graduate. He currently serves on the college’s board of trustees. He and his wife, Kimberly, have three children.
While he travels to the N.C. mountains and coast for vacations, he doesn’t get back to Salisbury as much as he’d like, Jordan said Friday.
But his parents and his wife’s parents, Carol and J.R. Dunkley from Salisbury, travel to Tennessee often to see their grandchildren.
“We are blessed to have him as a son-in-law,” Carol Dunkley said. “We’re incredibly proud of him.”
After discussing his banking career, Jordan called a reporter back to note that he also is especially proud of his mother.
“She’s done a lot of great things,” he said, noting she was instrumental in helping start Salisbury’s soup kitchen, which has grown into Rowan Helping Ministries.