Pinnacle Financial Partners (Nasdaq/NGS: PNFP) has hired a team of nine experienced financial professionals to serve clients and grow market share in Huntsville, AL. The group includes four financial advisors focused on commercial, small business and personal banking; one credit advisor; one office leader and three support and processing associates. Jason Baldwin, former market CEO for North Alabama at BBVA, will lead the team as Pinnacle’s Huntsville regional president.
“Jason is one of the top banking leaders in the state, and Pinnacle has assembled a group that can support nearly everything clients need right out of the gate,” said Terry Turner, Pinnacle’s president and CEO. “Pinnacle’s client service focus and recruiting strength allowed us to attract a complete team in Huntsville, which is among the fastest growing MSAs in the Southeast. This is the perfect way to set up shop quickly and capitalize on the opportunities to take market share in a growing city dominated by large, impersonal banks.”
Baldwin’s experience includes overseeing the complete suite of banking services for the second-largest bank in Huntsville, according to FDIC deposit share data.
Pinnacle’s strategy is to attract the best bankers in the largest and fastest growing markets in the Southeast and capitalize on vulnerabilities at the large regional and national franchises that typically control the most market share. Huntsville fits that profile. It is the second largest city in Alabama and is projected to be No. 1 by 2023. Huntsville’s rate of population and GDP growth are 6 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, over a five-year period ending in 2019.
“Our city is the fastest growing in the state and one of the hottest in all of the Southeast,” Baldwin said. “Pinnacle will be successful here because of our focus on people and relationships. The bank was recognized as one of the most responsive in the country during the pandemic and has earned a nationwide reputation for valuing long-term relationships and being easy to do business with. That’s what Huntsville business owners long for. Coming out of the pandemic, we expect to stand out as an alternative to bigger banks that too often let service slip when people need it most. We’ve found a home that gives us the support, tools and freedom we need so we can do what’s best for clients.”
Turner continued, “The banks that dominate Huntsville are many of the same ones we have successfully competed against for many years. Our model works because it’s easy for us to replicate in growing markets but difficult for anyone else to adopt. We attract and retain top-tier talent because of our focus on internal culture and work environment. FORTUNE magazine has named us one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For five years in a row. Because of that reputation we’ve had back-to-back record-breaking years in hiring revenue producers firmwide. And we breed strong client loyalty because of the differentiated client experience we empower our associates to deliver. It’s a one-two punch that allows us to seize opportunities like these.”
About the Team
Jason Baldwin, Regional President
Baldwin had been the North Alabama CEO for BBVA since 2014. He started his career at BBVA in 1999 in Dothan, AL, moving up to be a commercial banking team leader by 2005 and market executive in Pensacola, FL, by 2010. In that role and his most recent one, he’s overseen commercial, wealth and retail banking market wide. Baldwin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Troy University and is a graduate of both the First Union graduate training program and BBVA Compass School of Management. He serves on the board of directors for the Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce, the Catalyst Center for Entrepreneurs, Neighborhood Concepts/North Alabama Loan Fund and Huntsville Committee of 100.
Cindy Gifford, Financial Advisor
Gifford is an experienced banker who specializes in wealth management and financial planning. She has worked in financial services since 1994, including many years as a private banker at Colonial Bank and Regions, both in Huntsville. Since 2013, she’s served at BBVA as a private banking wealth advisor with a book of more than 250 clients and $56 million in assets. Gifford earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix. She holds series 7, 6, 63 and 65 licenses, as well as life, health and variable insurance licenses.
Chris Kern, Financial Advisor
Kern brings 27 years of experience to Pinnacle, starting as a bank teller at Union Bank on the west coast and working his way up to regional manager and senior vice president for integration and business growth. He served as a commercial banking relationship manager at PNC in Huntsville starting in 2014 and moved to BBVA three years later, ending with a portfolio of $127 million in loans and $432 million in deposits. Kern is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington and the Union Bank Executive Leadership Academy. He is also a member of the Leadership Huntsville/Madison County Class of 2014. He is the president-elect of the Rotary Club of Greater Huntsville and serves on the board of Still Serving Veterans.
Chris Pfeiffer, Financial Advisor
Pfeiffer has worked in financial services since 2005, starting as a relationship manager for Fifth Third and filling a variety of roles at Regions and BBVA since then, including commercial risk analyst, underwriter and corporate banking relationship manager. He has also worked in corporate finance at General Electric. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and his MBA at Vanderbilt University.
Mary Dingus, Credit Advisor
Dingus began her banking career in 1999 at Union Planters Bank in Huntsville as a loan assistant. She also worked as commercial construction lender at Heritage Bank before coming to BBVA in 2006. While there, she first worked as an associate relationship manager, then a commercial real estate underwriter and most recently as a commercial relationship associate, where she was involved in every step of the lending process, working with lenders, credit officers, risk managers and clients. Dingus is a graduate of Southeast Virginia College, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and organizes financial education workshops.
Matti Harrell, Office Leader
Harrell brings experience as a customer sales representative and commercial relationship associate to her role leading Pinnacle’s future retail banking office in Huntsville. She started at Wells Fargo in 2012 and served at BBVA since 2014. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and has served as both a project coordinator and president of BBVA’s Huntsville Volunteer Chapter.
Brian Bigelow, Financial Advisor Assistant
Bigelow has been in banking since 2008 and has spent all of that time at BBVA in Huntsville and Decatur. He was most recently a wealth relationship support specialist, serving as the primary point of contact for the needs of high-net worth clients and assisting relationship managers. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Athens State University.
Jennifer McFall, Financial Advisor Assistant
McFall has been at BBVA since 1998, working as a branch manager, assistant relationship manager and on the credit portfolio team. She most recently served as a wealth management relationship associate, working directly with high-value clients to book and fund loans and manage portfolios. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Kim George, Financial Specialist
George served in the Navy for five years in the 1990s and has been at BBVA since 2014. Nearly all of that time was spent in client service roles as a financial sales advisor and client experience operations manager. Earlier this year, she transitioned into a support role helping prepare relationship managers for calls, closings, events and more.
Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2020 deposit data from the FDIC. Pinnacle earned a spot on the 2021 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fifth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For eight years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $10 billion in assets in 2020.
Pinnacle owns a 49 percent interest in Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), which provides innovative, hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals. Great Place to Work and FORTUNE ranked BHG No. 1 on its 2020 list of Best Workplaces in New York State in the small/medium business category.
The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $35.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 13 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.
Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at www.pnfp.com.