Paragon National Bank announced the hiring of an entire Residential Construction Lending group this week. Bob Word, Paragon's new Senior Vice President/Senior Construction Lending Officer, brought with him long-time colleagues Lisa Barthol, Banking Officer; Steve Maury, Vice President/Residential Construction Lender; and Margie Smith, Banking Associate.
Most of the team has been working together in the Memphis market, specializing in writing loans for new residential construction, for eight years. In fact, this group made a commitment to each other--before recent mergers created a scarcity of locally owned banks--that "if one of us ever goes, we all go," according to Word.
Word brought more than his crack team to Paragon. At least one key loan customer followed them there: "These 'four amigos' are the reason I moved my business to Paragon," explains Frank Uhlhorn, whose Frank Uhlhorn Construction Company builds 8 to 10 luxury homes each year. "They understand every facet of residential construction and build their relationships around your specific capabilities. Large banks just don't understand as well what happens here in the trenches."
True to their spirit of cooperation, the foursome let Word negotiate all employment related terms with Paragon for them. Paragon President Robert Shaw knew a good deal when he saw one.
"They have a great reputation in the market," Shaw said. "In the past they have been referred to as a 'franchise' by some of their customers."
"Their addition is meaningful to Paragon on so many levels," said Andy Taylor, Paragon's Executive Vice President/Senior Credit Officer. "From their real estate expertise, to what they add to our overall portfolio mix, to being a great group with which to work personally."
Word has been a banker for 30 years, Maury and Barthol for 20 years and Smith for 16 years.