FirstBank in Lexington, Tenn., is expanding its operations in Alabama by opening a Huntsville branch.

The $2.2 billion-asset bank said it had hired banking veteran Jim Owens will oversee the branch. FirstBank plans to hire about 10 people for the office, which will offer commercial and consumer banking products, mortgages and investments.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions and Alabama State Banking Department are reviewing FirstBank's branch application. Owens said in a press release that he expects the review and approval process to be completed in the next 30 to 45 days.

"We will focus initially on building our commercial business, especially in the areas of technology, health care and owner-managed businesses, and will then work on attracting consumer banking customers," Owens said.

FirstBank first entered Alabama when its FirstBank Mortgage Partners bought Henger Rast Mortgage in Birmingham. The Huntsville branch will share space with an existing FirstBank Mortgage Partners office.

"Huntsville is a vibrant market and we see tremendous opportunity there," FirstBank President and CEO Chris Holmes said in the release.

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