Dan Dellinger, a Nashville banking executive for 30 years, and Farzin Ferdowsi, CEO of Brentwood-based Management Resources Company (MRCO), have partnered to run Sonata Bank.
Sonata marks the duo’s third banking collaboration.
Dellinger, who is president and CEO of Sonata, was instrumental in founding Reliant Bank (now United Community Bank) in 2005, where he spent 15 years as chief financial officer and served on the board before Reliant went public in 2015. He also played a central role in the 1997 formation of Premier Bank of Brentwood (now BancorpSouth).
Ferdowsi’s banking history runs deep in central Tennessee. He first worked with Dellinger while on the board of Premier Bank of Brentwood, then as an organizer for Reliant, where he was chairman of the board for 13 years. Prior to organizing Premier Bank, Ferdowsi held similar positions at Brentwood National Bank (now Wells Fargo). He will be Chairman of the Board of Sonata.
Having exceeded its initial fundraising goal, Sonata opened a deposit and loan generation office at 761 Old Hickory Blvd. in Brentwood and focuses primarily on commercial banking services for small and medium sized businesses. Sonata plans to open a full-service banking center in Brentwood in the fall. Sonata also operates a banking center in Sebree, Kentucky.
“We have assembled a talented team of experienced bankers who are deeply committed to helping local businesses,” Dellinger said. “Their proven success in the Nashville-area market, along with our strong operations team, will be the cornerstone that will ensure we deliver an extraordinary customer experience.”
While Sonata’s first step is to focus on community banking in Middle Tennessee, bank executives plan to launch a nationwide strategy focused on the fast-casual restaurant industry, which includes more than 200,000 restaurants. fast, casual service employing more than 5 million people in the United States Sonata will serve this nationwide customer base using modern delivery systems, eliminating the need for an extensive physical branch network.
“Industry owners and franchisees see huge growth opportunities, but face increasing pressures around employee acquisition and retention,” Dellinger said. “We see many opportunities to combine the provision of banking services and other employee rewards and benefits through an integrated digital application. Not only will this help employees meet their financial needs, but it is also a differentiating advantage that employers can offer as they work to attract and retain staff.
Ferdowsi and several other Sonata investors have extensive experience in the QSR industry and across a wide range of restaurant brands.
“The QSR market has the highest employee turnover of any industry at 144%,” said Ferdowsi, whose company has more than 2,000 employees serving numerous businesses, including 90 Taco Bell restaurants in downtown. Tennessee, southern Kentucky and Atlanta. “We see an opportunity to reduce this turnover by meeting the banking needs of workers. Far too many workers in our industry are unbanked or underbanked. It has truly become both a professional and personal mission to make a difference to this underserved segment of the market.
Sonata will introduce its technology-driven platform and services for the QSR market in Q2 2023.