First Tennessee Bank, a unit of First Horizon National (FHN), is opening its first branch in Texas.

The new Houston office will focus on corporate lending, commercial real estate and the energy sector, a First Horizon spokesperson said.

Gary Olander, who had been CEO of Sovereign Bank's Houston office, will oversee First Tennessee's Texas office. Before his time at Sovereign, Olander was the Texas regional president for Whitney Bank, and executive vice president of real estate banking for BBVA Compass, the U.S. unit of the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.

The $23.8 billion-asset First Tennessee plans to hire six or eight people in the next two months for its Texas office, Olander told the Houston Business Journal. Olander is hopeful to have about 10 employees in the next 18 months.

Still, Olander told the Houston Business Journal that the bank's ambitions in Texas are modest. "We're a commercial bank and we're not going to invest heavily in brick and mortar," he said. "We have a five-year plan to be a $750 million to $1 billion bank in terms of total assets in Houston."

First Tennessee has approximately 170 branches in the Volunteer State, the spokesperson said. Besides the Houston office, First Tennessee has out-of-state operations in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

 

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