Michael Parker, the new Mississippi Community Bank President for First Tennessee Bank, knows that he has big shoes to fill in fulfilling the role enjoyed by departing Bank President Mackey Moore but Parker has more than 17 years of banking experience to chart a new path for one of the fastest-growing banking and financial institutions in North Mississippi.
Moore is retiring after more than three decades at the helm, helping to grow the bank from a deposit of $37 in 1991 to now more than a half billion in assets.
"First Tennessee and Mackey and his team — the lending team, the real team — have done an incredible job over the past three decades and my goal would be to continue that and grow that and possibly take us into some other North Mississippi markets," Parker said.
First Tennessee currently has five locations in the State of Mississippi — two in Southaven, which are the Southaven Main Branch at Elmore and Goodman and Snowden Grove, a branch in Hernando and Olive Branch and a Tate County branch in Senatobia.
"First Tennessee has an incredible reputation in the marketplace," said Parker. "It has the No. 2 market share in this area and the No. 1 market share across the State (of Tennessee). It also has an incredible customer service rating among its clients and an incredible tenure with its staff — with the average tenure being 18 years. It speaks a lot about the culture of this organization and that was one of the main drivers in my decision to become a part of this team."
A native of Meridian, Parker once pursued another kind of "net gain."
He tried his hand at tennis to great success at the high school and community college level.
Parker transferred to Mississippi State University after attending Meridian Community College, a two-year institution. With an undergraduate degree in marketing, he graduated from MSU with a Master's degree in Business Administration in 2000.
"From that point on, I got into banking and finance," said Parker.
He met his future wife Jenny in the Metro Memphis area and the couple have two young children.
"We love it here," said Parker. "This is really home to us. I'm excited about Mississippi, in general. I'm passionate about Mississippi. DeSoto County is one of the best places to live in the state. DeSoto County has a great school system."
Parker has experienced the top-ranked DeSoto County school system up close, working with the Junior Achievement organization to help instill financial literacy in high school students.
"We began that in the Olive Branch High School and hope to expand that further in DeSoto County," Parker said.
Parker also serves in the capacity of treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce, belongs to the Southaven Chamber of Commerce and supports other Chambers of Commerce in the area.
"I try to be involved in the community," Parker said. "As far as banking and the local economy, I would say that it all starts with relationships. I think every industry's goal is to have incredible customer service. We want to continue a high level of customer service with our clients. It gets down to having a personal relationship with our clients and attention to their needs and providing the services and products which can facilitate their needs for small business."
Parker hinted at future expansion plans for First Tennessee in North Mississippi but he said there was no "immediate timetable" for future expansion that has been released.
"We don't have brick-and-mortar currently where we are now but we are looking to expand," Parker said. "We've talked about going further into the state but we have no immediate timetable on that. The good thing is we can do business throughout Northern Mississippi even though we might not have a brick-and-mortar location there. We have ties to Starkville and Mississippi State, ties to Ole Miss and Tupelo. We service clients in Lee County and in the Delta. These are just fantastic areas where we can grow the bank."
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.