Continuing its aggressive expansion throughout the Southeast, Renasant Bank in Tupelo, Miss., is opening its first office in east Tennessee.

The bank's parent, Renasant Corporation (RNST), announced Wednesday that it will open an office in Maryville, near Knoxville, by the end of this quarter and that it has hired banking veteran Kent Vaught as its regional president.

East Tennessee would be the latest new market the $4.2 billion-asset Renasant has entered over the last 18 months as it has aimed to use its strong capital position to grow market share and take advantage of market disruption across the Southeast. The company has opened branch offices in Starkville, Miss., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and North Georgia to go along with acquisitions of two failed banks in Georgia and the purchase of the Birmingham, Ala., trust division of RBC Bank USA.

Vaught has 25 years of banking experience in Tennessee and was most recently the president and chief banking officer at GreenBank in Greeneville. GreenBank was acquired by North American Financial Holdings of Coral Gables, Fla., and has been merged into the company's Capital Bank subsidiary.

"East Tennessee is a dynamic market, and with Kent Vaught joining us to lead Renasant's entrance, the opportunity is tremendous," Rick Hart, Renasant's northern division president, said in a news release.

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