Synovus hires former Regions execs to form affordable housing business

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Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., has hired two executives from Regions Financial to create an affordable housing business.

The $48 billion-asset company said in a press release Monday that it has recruited Brian Coffee, who developed Regions’ affordable housing department in 2002, and Reed Dolihite, who was responsible for equity and debt origination in four states. Coffee was named a senior director, while Dolihite is director.

Brian Coffee (left) and Reed Dolihite, formerly at Regions Financial, are spearheading a new affordable business at Synovus.

“Affordable housing is a significant opportunity for Synovus’ corporate banking function and a natural extension of our role as the bank of here in many fast-growing cities with affordable housing challenges,” Kevin Howard, Synovus’ chief wholesale banking officer, said in the release.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, in an October report, said there was a shortage of 1.2 million affordable housing units for those earning less than half of the median income across the district. In Georgia's Clarke County, which includes Athens, more than 30% of renters pay more than half of their monthly income to housing, the Atlanta Fed noted.

Synovus has nearly 300 branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee. The company is trying to keep momentum going in commercial and industrial lending.

Coffee is vice president of the Affordable Housing Investors Council, which had lobbied the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to give banks more flexibility to invest in housing credits outside their assessment areas as part of Community Reinvestment Act reform.

Coffee and Dolihite "are deeply experienced and highly regarded affordable housing bankers and we are delighted to welcome them to Synovus,” Howard said.

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Synovus Financial Affordable housing Regions Bank