Magazine article American Banker

Synovus Proves Doubters Wrong: CEO

Magazine article American Banker

Synovus Proves Doubters Wrong: CEO

Article excerpt

Byline: Jackie Stewart

Kessel Stelling has a message for all the doubters: my bank's still here.

In fact, the chairman and chief executive of Synovus Financial (SNV) argues, it's new and improved.

"Our company is probably not the same company that you knew three years ago," he said in touting the $26.4 billion-asset Synovus at an investor conference in Boston hosted by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

The Columbus, Ga., company was hobbled by bad construction loans, losing about $3 billion from 2008 to 2011, and is often rumored as a potential takeover target. But it has returned to profitability, earning $712.8 million in the fourth quarter after recovering roughly $800 million of the value of a deferred tax asset.

Stelling pointed to Synovus' consolidation of 30 banking charters, improved credit profile and six consecutive quarterly profits as proof of a transformation.

"So after three years of torturous headlines in many cases, and rumors and doubters and people who suggested to our customers and our team members that they go elsewhere, we come out of this crisis now with this franchise where we occupy top five market share in markets that represent about 80% of our core banking franchise," Stelling said Thursday at the conference.

However, Stelling had to cut the celebration short. The first question asked during the presentation related to Synovus' profitability targets for the long term.

"Well, so you asked me that question last night, and I wouldn't answer," Stelling joked in response to the question. …

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