Amsouth Bancorp has established a subsidiary to originate asset-based and secured-cash-flow loans nationwide.

Amsouth Capital Corp., based in New York, will focus on loans to middle- market customers, serving either as sole lender or as agent or lead participant in syndicated loans.

Executives at the subsidiary say that they aim to make loans for acquisitions by private equity investor groups and for debt restructurings, recapitalizations, and debtor-in-possession financings.

Birmingham, Ala.-based Amsouth, the nation's 45th-largest bank holding company, has a strong regional presence, but this is its first push into the nationwide loan market.

"Amsouth's involvement with structured finance has primarily been conducted on the basis of buying into participations," said Emmanuel Darmanin, who has been named president of Amsouth Capital.

Mr. Darmanin said the subsidiary was created to originate structured loans. The bank will probably keep the smaller loans the unit anticipates making, in the $10 million range, while syndicating the larger loans, up to $250 million.

Mr. Darmanin joined the bank in February from Telesphere, a New York- based financial information service, where he had served as vice chairman for one year. Before that, he spent 26 years with CIT Group-Business Credit, the last 10 years as chief executive officer and president.

Amsouth Capital has two other senior officers, Patrick Brocker, executive vice president in charge of credit and portfolio, and Joseph Huston, executive vice president in charge of business origination.

Mr. Darmanin said he hopes to hire about eight more professionals within a year.

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