How Did FirstBank Founder Grow to Tennessee’s Third Largest Bank?

February 13, 2024 / Share:

Founder Jim Ayers Shares All in Season 4 of “Circle Back” Podcast

Jim Ayers, a distinguished entrepreneur and philanthropist, has a remarkable life journey that begins in the modest town of Parsons, West Tennessee. In 1943, Ayers grew up learning the values of honesty, hard work, generosity, and the paramount importance of education, instilled in him by his parents. His relentless pursuit of knowledge led him to become the first in his family to attend college, where he majored in accounting at Memphis State University.

“I don’t feel real smart. I don’t feel like I look like a movie star. We’ve been very fortunate, shares Ayers. “I’ll be 80 years old this year. And if my body won’t let me down, I’ll keep working.” He continues, “There’s two things I enjoy, working and making money and being able to give money away in a way you can see it helps other people. I get a warm feeling with that.”

Ayers’ entrepreneurial journey spanned various sectors, including healthcare and real estate. However, it was in the banking industry that he would leave an enduring legacy. In 1984, alongside a business partner, he took the audacious step of acquiring Farmers State Bank in Scotts Hill, Tennessee, which marked the inception of what would eventually become FirstBank. Through strategic acquisitions and a steadfast commitment to personalized service, FirstBank’s assets skyrocketed from a modest $14 million to a staggering $2.3 billion, solidifying its position as Tennessee’s third-largest bank.

Premiering on February 13, Ayers shares the challenges, adversities, and obstacles that come with success. His inspirational story is one that any entrepreneur can benefit from hearing and holds valuable lessons for anyone seeking wisdom and insight.

Circle Back is recorded and produced in the Chase Studio, the NEC’s on-site production space made possible entirely by the Beth and Randy Chase family. This space allows creators the opportunity to craft world-class audio and visual content and share their own stories of growth, community, inspiration and perseverance.

Episodes can be found on all podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. Don’t miss out on these insightful discussions with Nashville’s leading entrepreneurs.

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