The Art of Poaching Talent at Park Sterling in N.C.

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Park Sterling in Charlotte, N.C., is making a habit of treating its rivals as a farm system for banking talent.

The $3.2 billion-asset Park Sterling announced this week that it will hire four commercial and industrial bankers from the $2.3 billion-asset CommunityOne Bancorp to help expand its commercial banking team in the Charlotte metropolitan area.

The move follows a similar one in recent months, when Park Sterling plucked four mortgage bankers from CommunityOne after Charlotte-based Capital Bank Financial announced its agreement to buy CommunityOne in November. That acquisition still awaits regulatory approval.

As part of the latest hires, Doug Smith will become regional president in western North Carolina; Tiffani Tedder will be senior vice president of commercial banking; Reggie Gaither will be vice president of commercial banking; and Ashley Gibson will be commercial support administrator.

All four jobs are newly created, and the recruits are expected to start July 5.

At CommunityOne, Smith served as area commercial banking manager and Charlotte market president. Tedder and Gaither were commercial relationship managers, and Gibson worked as a commercial relationship assistant.

Park Sterling learned an important lesson two years ago when it recruited a team of bankers for its wealth management group in Richmond, Va., after the then Union First Market Bankshares bought StellarOne, said Bryan Kennedy, the president of Park Sterling's bank unit.

"I think the success we had with that team from StellarOne really lead us to think about the same opportunity of recruiting a number of several bankers from another competitor," Kennedy said in an interview. "When the CommunityOne announcement happened last year, that gave us that opportunity."

The new quartet of bankers will help expand Park Sterling's coverage across the entire Charlotte metropolitan statistical area and help grow its commercial and industrial portfolio, Kennedy said. Prior to their tenures at CommunityOne, Smith worked at JPMorgan Chase, Tedder was with Wells Fargo, and Gaither served with Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

"Pretty much every one of our bakers in the metro markets have spent a good part of their careers with large banks," Kennedy said. "That's pattern we've used with hiring people."

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