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Banker warns to protect from lax lending

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  • | 7:18 a.m. March 13, 2013
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The mood was chipper when top executives from three of the region's fastest-growing banks gathered recently to chat about the industry.

For good reason, too: The bankers, Jim Gburek, Florida regional president for IberiaBank; Jim Kuhlman, president and CEO of Venice-based Florida Shores Bank; and Katie Pemble, president of St. Petersburg-based C1 Bank, all have happy stories. The trio spoke during an event sponsored by the Sarasota/Manatee chapter of the Risk Management Association.

An underlying theme was each bank's ability to grow in a market that remains littered with uncertainty. Florida Shores has focused on organic customer growth, while C1 and IberiaBank have grown both in new customers and through acquisitions of other institutions.

Still, Gburek reminded the crowd — mostly young bankers and attorneys — that good times could quickly turn sour if the industry returns to the lax lending ways of the boom. In fact, the advice from Gburek, based in Naples, works for just about anyone tempted to take on a deal or a customer, for a loan or anything else.

“You have to have the courage to walk away if you don't think (getting paid back) will happen,” says Gburek. “If you are not really sure, if you think there's too much risk, then don't do it.”


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