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Veteran bankers infuse Williamson County heritage into new Lineage Bank

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Kevin and Richard Herrington

Kevin Herrington, left, and Richard Herrington stand outside their new Lineage Bank location at 120 Fifth Ave. N. in downtown Franklin.

After a 50-year career in banking, Richard Herrington isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. 

He and his son, Kevin Herrington, also a veteran banker, began Lineage Bank in early 2020 and opened their downtown Franklin office on May 12. 

Richard Herrington is well known in the Franklin banking community; he founded Franklin Synergy Bank in 2007 and helped bring it into the public market in 2015. Kevin was an executive vice president and chief operating officer with the company.

In March of 2019, both Herringtons left Franklin Synergy. The bank soon made headlines after being purchased by and merging with FirstBank

They hadn’t planned to open another bank in Franklin, but Richard said many friends and colleagues reached out about the need for a true community bank in the city.

“The more we heard it, the more we saw the opportunities,” he said.

They decided to take over a building on Fifth Avenue North near Franklin’s Five Points previously occupied by Cornerstone Financial Credit Union and make it the lead bank in a network of local institutions. 

Lineage Bank opened its doors downtown on May 12 and will hold a ribbon cutting Wednesday, June 23 at 11 a.m. 

They’ve also purchased the Citizens Bank & Trust in Atwood, Tennessee. They rebranded the bank, but the Herringtons said they are passionate about maintaining the legacy and community focus of any banks they acquire.  

Integrating the bank in Atwood presented a particular challenge from a technological standpoint. 

“They didn’t have any,” Kevin said. “They weren’t in the 21st century.”

Both Herringtons were exposed to the financial world early in life. For Richard, it was helping his mother at a small-town bank while growing up in South Carolina. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Newberry College and a master’s degree from Florida State University, both in economics. 

The Herrington family moved to Williamson County in 1977 when he became chief financial officer for First American National Bank. In 1989, Richard and Gordon Inman, along with a group of others, founded Franklin National Bank, which they sold to Fifth Third Bank in 2002. 

He helped turn around the troubled Cumberland Bancorp, which they rebranded and sold as Civitas. In 2007, he founded Franklin Synergy Bank, which was at one point the state’s third-largest bank, with nearly $4 billion in assets. In 2019, it was acquired by FirstBank.

Other than a brief stint as a newspaper reporter in high school and college, Richard has been a banker for his entire career. 

For Kevin, his first job in a bank involved shredding financial documents while in high school. 

He graduated from Belmont University on an ROTC scholarship, with a major in finance. He began working in IT at Franklin National Bank, continuing on to specialize in information systems, cybersecurity, risk management and electronic payments. He serves as Lineage’s president, COO and chairman, while his father is CEO and chairman of the network’s board.

Kevin said people have asked when his father will hand him the reins. 

“It doesn’t matter to me; I enjoy working with him,” he said, laughing. “And he’s a workaholic. He’s not going to retire.”

They hope to draw in both new and old customers with a combination of personalized, speedy service and cutting-edge technology.

Their objective is to add another bank this year and a few more in 2022. The emphasis is on community banks in potential growth communities.

“Banking is all about people,” Richard said. “I love working with numbers, but banking is not about numbers. It’s not about technology. It’s about how we bring things to our customers and understand the work that involves.”

His son agreed. 

“I feel like we’re here to build the next great community bank,” Kevin said.

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