ServisFirst Bancshares in Birmingham, Ala., has entered the Florida's Tampa Bay area after hiring the former chief executive of Bay Cities Bank.

The $5.1 billion-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that it also hired a team of bankers who had worked at the Tampa, Fla., bank. The parent company of Bay Cities sold itself to Home BancShares in Conway, Ark., in October.

Greg Bryant, who was also Bay Cities' president, was named CEO of ServisFirst's Tampa Bay Region team. Gwynn Davey, Pat Murrin, Jennifer Noel and Jonathan Zunz rounded out the bankers hired to staff the new commercial banking group.

Separately, ServisFirst said that its fourth-quarter profit increased 31% from a year earlier to $19.8 million. Net interest income rose by 25% to $43.2 million, based on solid loan growth and a stable net interest margin.

Noninterest expense increased by 45% to $19.1 million.

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