Bank for celebrities opens Atlanta office

A Los Angeles bank to celebrities and Hollywood power brokers has established a regional office in Buckhead, seeing opportunity in the metro area’s kaleidoscope of stars.

City National Bank, known as a financial services provider for the music, theater and movie industries, becomes the latest "private bank" to open in Atlanta, a city home to a growing cadre of musicians, actors and professional athletes.

Private banks provide dedicated banking, financial planning and investment services for affluent families and corporations. With City National's move, nearly all of the Top 15 private banks in the United States as measured by Barron’s are either here or moving here.

Chip MacDonald, a banking attorney with Jones Day in Atlanta, said Atlanta is particularly desirable as a Southeast business hub. The state’s lucrative tax rebate system for film and television projects has lured megawatt stars and major productions to Georgia.

Turner Broadcasting and its properties, including CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS and TNT are based in Atlanta. Tyler Perry Studios calls the city home, as does the recently developed EUE/Screen Gems Studios at the former Lakewood Fairgrounds. The state also has an enviable music pedigree.

"[Atlanta is] an attractive market and it’s a big market,” MacDonald said.

Affluent customers are a coveted demographic for banks.

Metro Atlanta has more than 100,000 households with more than $1 million in investable assets, including more than 15,000 households topping $5 million in investible assets, according to data provided by the bank from Phoenix Marketing International.

City National is the 26th-largest bank overall in the United States and also has offices in California, Nevada, New York and Nashville, Tenn.

In addition to financing film and television productions, City National said it provides financial services for 40 percent of Broadway shows.

City National opened its office in the Terminus 200 building with a team of four, including Atlanta office manager David Innes, a veteran of Wells Fargo Private Bank and SunTrust Banks’ entertainment division.

Martha Henderson, executive vice president of the bank’s entertainment division, said many of City National's clients live part-time in Atlanta and other entertainment hubs like New York and Los Angeles.

“The time has been right for some time,” she said.