Former Avenue bankers look to form bank in Tennessee

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Nashville might be getting its first new bank since 2008.

A group of former Avenue Financial and Metropolitan Bank executives are looking to open Studio Bank. The group said in a press release Friday that it is seeking approval from the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions so it can submit a formal application and start raising money for the proposed bank.

Studio would operate in a number of sectors, including music, arts, health care, mortgages and residential construction and development. The founders said in the release that they want to work with “small to midsize businesses and the local freelance economy.”

Aaron Dorn, former chief strategy and marketing officer at Avenue Financial, which was sold last year to Pinnacle Financial Partners, would be the bank's CEO. Other proposed executives, including Larry Dorris, Richard Bynum and April Britt, are former Avenue executives.

Greg Barron, a former chief financial officer at Metropolitan BancGroup, will have the same post at the bank. Metropolitan agreed to sell itself to Renasant earlier this year.

Another notable name associated with the proposed bank is Howard Bluver, who would to join the board. Bluver is a turnaround expert who oversaw the post-crisis recovery of Suffolk Bancorp in Riverhead, N.Y. The company was sold to People’s United Financial in February.

The group behind Studio disclosed earlier this month that it had raised about $4.3 million in seed money from roughly 40 investors.

“The company we are creating will reflect the soul of Nashville, which is beloved for its creativity, innovation and collaborative spirit,” Dorn said in the release.

Studio aims to join a growing list of proposed banks that have filed applications in recent months.

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