Banks in Florida face an­other chal­leng­ing year

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

BRADEN­TON: At first, it looked like 2009 would be the worst year for the bank­ing in­dus­try. And at the time it was. The 140 bank fail­ures of 2009 were the most in 17 years.

But then came 2010, bring­ing 157 bank fail­ures to date, of which 29 were in Florida. And bank an­a­lysts said the pace of fail­ures will con­tinue to be high in 2011 as the Fed­eral De­posit In­surance Corp. has 860 banks on its "Prob­lem List."

"Cer­tainly, banks are still mired in a lot of what's been go­ing on in the last cou­ple years with the econ­omy," said Karen Dor­way, pres­i­dent of BauerFi­nan­cial Inc., a Co­ral Gables bank rat­ing firm. "The Florida mar­ket is still one of the more chal­leng­ing mar­kets. There's still a lot of non-per­form­ing loans left on their books."

Lo­cal banks say they are closely mon­i­tor­ing as­set qual­ity to keep fed­eral and state reg­u­la­tors pleased.

Gate­way Bank of South­west Florida, based in Sara­sota, kept a close eye on as­sets and stuck to dili­gent un­der­writ­ing prac­tices since it opened nearly three years ago.

The bank re­ported to­tal as­sets of $146.9 mil­lion for the third quar­ter ended Sept. 30, and has a four-star rat­ing from BauerFi­nan­cial. But Shaun Mer­ri­man, pres­i­dent of Gate­way, says it has been a daunt­ing task.

"It's been quite chal­leng­ing be­cause the econ­omy is still not out of this re­ces­sion," Mer­ri­man said. "We still see small busi­ness own­ers, con­sumers and var­i­ous in­dus­tries still strug­gling here lo­cally."

At First Amer­ica Bank, Pres­i­dent Allen Lang­ford says the Pal­met­to­based bank has seen res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial loans pick up. But un­em­ploy­ment is pre­vent­ing a speed­ier re­cov­ery to lend­ing in Mana­tee and Sara­sota coun­ties, he noted. -PB News

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.