ServisFirst Goes Public: Time Ripe for Stepping Out

Life is full of trades and they’re all public now for ServisFirst Bancshares Inc., Alabama’s new contribution to the NASDAQ exchange. President and CEO Tom Broughton says it’s a good time for stepping forward.

“People are doing things they haven’t done since the recession. They’re not just replacing worn-out equipment, they’re cautiously doing expansions, maybe buying a new airplane. It’s good for business, ” he says.

His industry is healthy again, Broughton says, with about 90 percent of banks nationwide back to profitability and the wave of foreclosures “pretty much over.” The only negative is the waning of the mortgage rate boom, but home mortgages aren’t a big part of the ServisFirst business plan, he says.

ServisFirst closed its initial public offering, raising $52.5 million with an IPO that opened May 14 at $91 per share, the Birmingham-based parent of ServisFirst Bank announced. A few weeks later, the stock, traded under the symbol “SFBS, ” had dropped 2 percent, but Broughton says he believes the IPO was fairly priced.

Meanwhile, the bank will use the money raised to support growth over the next two years, while enjoying the transparency of a publicly traded company.

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“It gives us better visibility, better branding with our target audience of businesses and professionals. It broadens our appeal to prospective clients inside and outside our current footprint.”

The company has good prospects to double its size in Alabama “in a reasonable period of time, ” though probably more than two years, Broughton says.

That growth probably won’t come quite yet from institutional buyers, who look for banks with a market cap over $1 billion. ServisFirst’s market cap was close to $700 million in early June.

Text by Dave Helms

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