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Millennium Bank emphasizes simpler, local banking in Chattanooga area

This article was originally published on timesfreepress.com.

Millennium Bank, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year as one of Hamilton County's biggest locally-owned banks, has launched a new campaign focused on providing a simpler and more personal banking experience.

"The idea of traditional banking institutions can intimidate many people," said Mike Haskew, president of Millennium Bank. "Being a locally-owned bank, we offer a truly personal experience that hinges on face-to-face interaction and efficiency, particularly for our customers who are making major financial decisions, like purchasing a home."

Haskew worked for regional banks for 25 years before joining the former Community Trust & Banking Co., in 2010 and helping to rename the bank to Millennium Bank in 2016. Haskew said decision making by Millennium is local, direct and usually speedier than other regional or national banks with more centralized credit approvals.

"Millennium Bank is changing the way people view banks," Haskew said. "What we're trying to do is to make people more aware of the options they have and provide those options in a more streamlined and user-friendly manner."

While Millennium provides an array of mobile and online banking options, Haskew said the banks tries to maintain the personal touch and aid for customers "for those times in life when you need the assistance of a good banker" to save or borrow money and seek some sort of financial advice.

Millennium Bank added a new headquarters branch on Shallowford Road last year after opening a downtown branch in the West Village a year earlier. Millennium Bank's assets grew 6.4% in the past year to $184.4 million as of June 30, making Millennium the 11th biggest bank among the 28 commercial banks operating in metro Chattanooga.

Bank at a glance

Name: Millennium, adopted in 2016 from the former Community Bank & Trust

Started: June 1999

Locations: 7201 Shallowford Road, 6392 Artesian Way, 8045 E. Brainerd Road, 4712 Hixson Pike and 823 Chestnut Street.

CEO: Mike Haskew

Majority shareholder: Byron Defoor

Assets: $184.4 million, as of June 30

2018 net income: $2.6 million

Sources: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Millennium now has five branches throughout Hamilton County that offer a full range of banking services including personal banking, business banking and home loans and mortgages.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average closing time on a new home or property is nearly two months. This period may be extended if there are delays in obtaining required documentation, which can happen often working with major lenders who are located out-of-state.

At Millennium Bank, Haskew said the loan process is executed fully in Chattanooga, minimizing the wait time for buyers and sellers.

"Home buying should be an exciting process, and for many, it's anything but," he said. "Our ability to accelerate the closing process is very valuable."

Haskew said bankers at Millennium offer an array of lending options to meet all of a client's needs, usually handled by the same banker.

"We have commercial bankers here who help people open checking accounts and we have branch managers who make commercial loans," Haskew said. "It's a much more comprehensive experience here in a community bank and we try to provide more personal service."

The bank is also able to handle bigger loans and more complex transactions through its correspondent banking relationships, and ties to other banks also owned by Byron Defoor, Haskew said.

Defoor, who acquired a majority interest in the former Community Bank & Trust in 2010 and helped recapitalize and propel the growth of the bank since under its Millennium brand, also is a major shareholder of the Bank of Commerce in Sarasota, Florida and First Columbia Bank in Lake City, Florida.

Defoor founded Grace Healthcare, a company which manages skilled nursing, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities across the U.S., and is a developer with his brother Ken in the West Village portion of downtown Chattanooga, which includes the Westin Hotel and numerous restaurants and retail shops.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 423-757-6340.