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Loans rise at area community banks

Sept. 28, 2018

Via The Business Observer

Executives at five banks in the region share the why behind their loan growth.

Around the west coast of Florida, loans are on the rise at several community banks. 

Some institutions are seeing percentage growth in the double-digits over the previous year — up to an increase of 34.2% for Winter Haven-based CenterState Bank. 

The reasons behind the increase in loans are varied. They include two big ones: the consolidation of the area's banking industry through acquisitions and a strong economy overall. 

Examining loan growth from the second quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, executives at five area banks offer a peek behind the curtain. They explain why their institutions are doling out more dollars — and why it makes good business sense. 

The Bank of Tampa

Total assets: $1.65 billion

Loans: $1.1 billion in 2018 second quarter, up 11.0% over 2017

With assets totaling $1.65 billion, The Bank of Tampa is one of the largest independently owned community banks in the Tampa Bay area. Founded in 1984, The Bank of Tampa is privately held by its employees, directors and clients. 

Corey Neil, executive vice president and Hillsborough County market president of The Bank of Tampa.

Built on the foundation of a commercial bank, Executive Vice President Corey Neil, who is also Hillsborough County market president, says the bank has enjoyed steady growth by sticking to its core principles. But he adds its lending growth of 11 percent in second quarter 2018 over the same quarter 2017 — with total loans of $1.1 billion — is due in part to overall economic conditions combined with an increase in investment in non-owner-occupied real estate.

“We’ve taken advantage of our interest and expertise to get some of that business,” says Neil. “We’ve also had some decent growth in our core commercial and industrial, and also owner-occupied commercial real estate. We’ve seen good growth, but we have an appetite for more in both of those core areas."

Neil says The Bank of Tampa’s lending growth is reflective of the economy of the broader Tampa Bay market. With 15 offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties, he says the bank is positioned to take advantage of growth of its core lending business. 

“The lift in the economy is creating an environment where our borrowers are seeing their businesses doing well,” says Neil. “Good credit viability among our borrowers means you don’t have banks out there being too aggressive and artificially inflating the lending market.”

The bank’s real estate loans total $715 million, $433 million of that non-farm non-residential, and $39 million in construction and land development. Commercial and industrial loans total $293 million.

“We see a lot of positive trends in this market and a rising tide raises all ships, so we are taking advantage of that,” says Neil. “Our strategy going forward is to stick to our knitting in the commercial real estate investor space. We are very comfortable in our core C&I and owner-operator space as we continue to expand on the consumer side.”

— Andrew Warfield

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