Banks in the region added $6.1 billion in assets in the first quarter.
While the amount of banks with a headquarters in the region has shrunk by some 50% in the last half-decade, a chunk of the ones that remain standing have been rapidly growing assets of late.
Overall, 20 of 24 banks based in the region posted a year-over-year increase in assets from the 2018 first quarter to the most recent quarter, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. More than half the banks that gained assets were up at least 10%; four were over 20%; and two, Sarasota-based Sabal Palm and Seminole-based First Home, nearly hit 40%. All told, banks based in the region added $6.1 billion in assets in the first quarter, the data shows, with 80% of the increase in actual dollars coming from Winter Haven-based CenterState Bank and St. Petersburg-based Raymond James Bank.
Sabal Palm President and CEO Neil McCurry says the bank’s rise, a 38.5% increase in assets, is a combination of internal and external factors, from a strong economy to the bank’s new headquarters in downtown Sarasota. Coming from a space that was closer to Interstate 75 on Fruitville, the new digs, McCurry says, is more practical, near CPAs, attorneys and commercial real estate brokers. The artistic design of the building, which opened halfway through 2018, he adds, “is a conversation starter and has made a lot more people aware of us.”
Sabal Palm had $240.7 million in assets through the first quarter. McCurry says the bank is shooting to end 2019 at close to $300 million. One obstacle to growth? He says even with less community banks, competition remains fierce, and finding — and keeping — new customers is paramount. “Our challenge,” he says, “is to get out there and keep telling our story.”