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Bank capitalizes on fast growth

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  • | 10:00 a.m. July 18, 2014
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Longtime Manatee County banker Bill Sedgeman's anxiety was at an apex when he sat down for lunch at the Polo Grill in east Manatee County one day in April 2009.

The $252 million asset bank Sedgeman founded in 1995, Community Bank of Manatee, was one of many lenders that needed capital. Across the table from Sedgeman sat Trevor Burgess, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker. Burgess and a business partner, Brazilian investor Marcelo Lima, had spent the past 15 months scouring Florida for a community bank in which to invest. They worked off a list of hundreds of banks with assets from $100 million to $500 million.

Sedgeman and Burgess formed the beginnings of a partnership, and capital infusion plan, during lunch. That agreement culminated July 11 in the announcement of what could be a $50 million public offering from St. Petersburg-based C1 Financial, the holding company over C1 Bank, formerly Community Bank of Manatee. It was an unusually fast ride: C1 grew assets more than 450%, to $1.4 billion in five years.

Details of the bank's U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission IPO registration follow the bank's quirky branding. Nuggets include:

Quotes from luminaries like Colin Powell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and this one from Sam Walton: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The bank uses Mary Poppins to explain how it separates itself from competitors. “We are not afraid to try new ways to capture the public's attention, increase interest in the bank, grow our number of clients and enhance our overall image, especially with entrepreneurs, in the marketplace,” the prospectus reads. That includes the idea, in 2011, to pay customers $5 a month to switch to C1 — a response to national banks raising debit card fees.

C1 Labs: The place where C1 creates technology-infused products has five engineers, including the chief information officer. Launched in 2012, the department has filed seven patent applications.

The IPO prospectus also includes information about the top shareholders. Lima is at the top with a 30.7% stake. Burgess, the CEO and the Business Observer's 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Tampa region, has a 9.49% stake. Sedgeman, chairman of the bank, has around 30,000 shares, a stake worth less than 1%.

Other top 15 shareholders, according to the documents, include brothers Philip and Brian Burghardt, Manatee County investors and founding directors of the bank; asset manager Neil Grossman, whose wife, Mindy Grossman, is CEO of St. Petersburg-based HSN; and Alex Sink, former statewide executive for Bank of America and onetime Florida gubernatorial candidate.


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