Synovus Financial (SNV) in Columbus, Ga., has formed an equipment-finance division.

The group will be based in Charleston, S.C., the $26 billion-asset Synovus said Thursday. The company has hired six bankers, including four former employees of Bank of America (BAC), to lead the group, and plans to continue to add sales and support positions.

John Geist will lead the group as president, Synovus said. He is a former executive vice president of B of A's corporate banking operations, Synovus said.

He will be joined by five senior vice presidents: Tad Herrin, Bill Orr, Ricky Mims, Chris Legris and Jim Shaw. Herrin, Orr and Shaw are former B of A employees.

"The creation of this team further strengthens our equipment financing line of business and signals our continued commitment to offering a broad range of expertise, products, and services to commercial customers," Curtis Perry, Synovus' chief commercial banking officer, said in a press release. "As the economy recovers, the market for this product is expected to experience tremendous growth because it gives business owners a lending alternative for investing in the equipment needed to start and grow their businesses."

Synovus exited the Troubled Asset Relief Program in July. At the time, it had had one of the largest outstanding stakes of any company in the program.

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