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First Foundation Expands into Texas with Relocation of Principal Executive Office

April 07, 2021, 07:06 AM
Filed Under: Industry News

First Foundation Inc., a financial services company with two wholly owned operating subsidiaries, First Foundation Advisors and First Foundation Bank, announced its expansion into Texas with the relocation of its principal executive office to Dallas.

The move to Texas aligns with First Foundation’s strategic goals of expanding into major markets that present great opportunities for banking, trust and wealth management, and with the expansion into its fourth state moves First Foundation into the regional bank category.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth area today reminds me of what Southern California was like 30 years ago, where First Foundation started, and for me personally, it is nice to return to Texas as my roots are in the South,” said Scott F. Kavanaugh, CEO of First Foundation Inc. “Texas has such a business-friendly environment which gives us confidence in being able to serve the communities of Dallas with our high standard of exceptional client care. This also is a natural expansion for our company and marks a milestone as we enter our fourth state and truly become a regional bank. We are excited about offering our services to more clients and building meaningful relationships with those who seek financial guidance from our team of dedicated professionals.”

With a strong employment base in the area, First Foundation Bank will build out a lending team and hire additional staff to support future growth.

One of its first key appointments in the region is Gary Woods, Executive Senior Vice President, Director of Commercial Real Estate Production, who will be in charge of the commercial real estate finance division in Texas, including the income property permanent and bridge loan financing. He will help First Foundation assemble a loan production team in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area, as well as aid in the development of the credit administration team for the state. Woods brings with him over 20 years of experience in the banking industry and most recently served as a Senior Vice President at BankFinancial. Prior to managing the debt placements for commercial real estate owners for BankFinancial, Woods served in a variety of leadership roles for commercial real estate lending institutions including roles as a Relationship Manager at Greystone & Co, Executive Vice President at A10 Capital, and Managing Director of GE Capital’s Commercial Real Estate Equity Investment Group.

First Foundation Bank expects to continue its real estate lending program success in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, one of the largest markets for multifamily lending in the country. The diversity of businesses in the area and the expanding business community along with the large supply of apartments make it a strong fit for First Foundation’s offering. The demographics also present a compelling opportunity to add trust powers in the state, which aligns with the company’s current offerings and experience with its trust and wealth management teams. The bank has also already experienced success in Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth area included, with its online savings account offering, which attracted new clients to the bank from throughout the state.

In addition to its new principal executive offices at The Crescent, First Foundation Bank has plans to expand the company’s presence with a lending production office and a full-service branch by the end of 2021. These plans could include opening a de novo branch or growing its branch presence via an acquisition. By moving the principal executive office to Dallas, the company will also be more centrally located in the U.S. to better serve current markets as well as position it for potential future expansions into other states.

First Foundation has a history of successfully expanding its footprint. Since 2012, it has grown its presence throughout the state of California, as well as opening branch offices in Las Vegas, NV, and Honolulu, HI.

First Foundation will also add Dallas-Fort Worth to its corporate nonprofit giving initiative, Supporting Our Communities. Since its founding, First Foundation has sought to build strong ties with local nonprofits, and now it will be able to partner with local Dallas-area nonprofits to expand its support of charitable causes in the region, including affordable housing, emerging entrepreneurs, financial literacy, and underserved youth.

First Foundation, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFWM) and its subsidiaries offer personal banking, business banking, and private wealth management services, including investment, trust, insurance, and philanthropy services.

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