Following the halted merger with TD Bank Group, First Horizon, the 36th-largest bank in the U.S., has revealed an impressive strategy for its future as an independent entity. The unexpected termination of the $13.4 billion sale resulted in a $200 million payment from TD, half of which is anticipated to fund technology advancements and staffing.
CEO Bryan Jordan addressed investor concerns by providing an optimistic overview of First Horizon’s strategy, emphasizing an offensive approach, staff enthusiasm, and growing deposits. Following the termination of the merger, First Horizon is poised to use the cash from TD to bolster its momentum. With approximately $75-100 million dedicated to new technology and tech talent, Jordan is confident in the bank’s strategy moving forward.
This financial commitment will support a range of technological upgrades over the next three years, including digital banking, wealth management, treasury management, marketing technology, and artificial intelligence. Tech staffing is expected to rise by 20% in the next two years. Projects to enhance the customer experience, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, will make up half of the initiatives funded by the TD payment.
First Horizon has already demonstrated a commitment to improving the customer experience, having launched a new website in late 2022. This site enhancement has led to a fourfold increase in leads for deposit marketing, translating to $500 million in new deposits in 2023.
Amid rumors of staff exits during the merger period, top managers reaffirmed the bank’s stability, citing a staff retention program and an overall retention rate of 87% between the first quarters of 2022 and 2023.
Despite the optimism, Jordan anticipates tighter lending conditions and a potential economic slowdown in late 2023 or early 2024. He also expressed caution over exceeding $100 billion in assets due to the heightened regulatory burden.