Pinnacle Financial Partners Recruits 4 Veteran Financial Professionals in Birmingham

The team will bring Pinnacle to the 11th largest MSA in the Southeast

Four of Birmingham’s top financial professionals have joined Pinnacle Financial Partners, Inc. (Nasdaq/NGS: PNFP) to serve clients in Birmingham and the surrounding region. Mark Imig, former regional manager for corporate banking at First Horizon, will lead the team as Pinnacle’s regional president in Birmingham. He is joined by Pat Sullivan and Chris Bledsoe, both experienced financial advisors serving commercial clients, and credit advisor Rayna Hawthorne.

“This is a seasoned and well-rounded team who are perfect to bring Pinnacle’s brand of service and advice to Birmingham,” Imig said. “Our business community is well established, strong and growing and needs a bank like Pinnacle that focuses on personal relationships. We chose to work here because the culture gives us freedom to make decisions locally, just like at a small community bank. But we also have the tools and lending capabilities of a $35 billion firm. That’s an incredible combination that’s missing from our market, and this city is going to love it.”

Imig has 25 years of experience in commercial and real estate lending, with 23 of those at Wells Fargo, which is the third largest bank in Birmingham by FDIC deposit data. He led Wells’ commercial banking team covering Alabama and the surrounding region for ten years working for Sam Belk, who is now a senior lending officer at Pinnacle. He oversaw the lending and credit teams, as well as treasury services and business support. Imig left Wells in 2019 to join IBERIABANK just a short time before it merged with First Horizon.

“I’ve worked with everyone on this team, and it’s a thrill to get back together,” Belk said. “We’re focusing on commercial banking right now and expect to add personal banking and treasury management associates in the very near future. We’ll continue to recruit more of Birmingham’s top bankers with the full force of Pinnacle’s award-winning workplace culture behind us.”

Read more from Pinnacle President and CEO Terry Turner on how the firm’s growth is made possible by superior service and workplace culture.

“We had a great partnership with Sam in the past, so the opportunity to reunite with him at Pinnacle was too good to pass up,” Imig said. “Pinnacle’s CEO Terry Turner and Chairman Rob McCabe have built this firm into one of the premier banking brands in the country. Pinnacle provides a unique client and employee experience. Because of their focus on people and doing what’s right, Pinnacle is nationally recognized for client service and is one of the most successful and fastest growing banks in the country. Everywhere they’ve laid down roots, they’ve been successful, and the same will be true in the new markets we serve.”

Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama and the 11th largest MSA in the Southeast with a local deposit pool of $52 billion, according to the FDIC. Pinnacle’s strategy is to attract the best bankers in the largest and fastest growing markets in the Southeast and capitalize on vulnerabilities at the large regional and national franchises that typically control the most market share.

In addition to Imig, the Birmingham team includes:

Pat Sullivan – Financial Advisor

Sullivan has more than 16 years of experience in commercial banking, syndicated finance, mergers and acquisitions, international trade, foreign exchange and treasury management. He joins Pinnacle from Wells Fargo Bank, where he was responsible for commercial banking client relationships in the Alabama/Mississippi region for three years. Prior to that, Sullivan was with JP Morgan Chase for seven years serving the same geographic region. Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences.

Chris Bledsoe – Financial Advisor

Bledsoe has worked in commercial banking since 2003, starting at AmSouth and moving to Wachovia, which became Wells Fargo, where he remained until late 2019 as a middle market banker. He most recently worked at First Horizon, formerly IBERIABANK, as a commercial relationship manager. Bledsoe gained experience serving a number of industries including healthcare, waste and recycling, technology, life sciences and more. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama.

Rayna Hawthorne – Credit Advisor

Hawthorne comes to Pinnacle from First Horizon with 18 years of experience in both lending and credit. She was a portfolio manager at First Horizon and Wells Fargo before that. At First Horizon, she was responsible for underwriting and monitoring complex commercial transactions and syndicated deals. In her time at Bank of America, JP Morgan, Wells and First Horizon, she gained expertise in every step of the credit process, from managing documents to working directly with clients in collaboration with lenders and managing overall pipelines and portfolios. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama and volunteers with the United Way of Central Alabama.

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2020 deposit data from the FDIC. Pinnacle earned a spot on the 2021 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its fifth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For eight years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $10 billion in assets in 2020.

Pinnacle owns a 49 percent interest in Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), which provides innovative, hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare practitioners and other licensed professionals. Great Place to Work and FORTUNE ranked BHG No. 1 on its 2020 list of Best Workplaces in New York State in the small/medium business category.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $35.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 14 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.

Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at


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