Magazine article American Banker

Barnett Veteran Returns to Overhaul Real Estate

Magazine article American Banker

Barnett Veteran Returns to Overhaul Real Estate

Article excerpt

After more than 10 years away from Florida, William Nicholson has come back to Barnett Banks Inc. in Jacksonville as director of real estate, overseeing a $3.6 billion portfolio of performing loans.

Mr. Nicholson, 46, worked in Barnett's mortgage subsidiary from 1973 to 1979. Until two months ago, he was senior vice president in charge of commercial real estate at PNC Financial Corp.'s lead bank in Pittsburgh.

He never lost touch with Barnett and its people, but said he isn't about to let sentimental attachments influence his management of the real estate portfolio.

Design for Lending

"We plan to try to look at our business in more of a prospective than restrospective way," said Mr. Nicholson, who is well known in the industry as chairman of the American Bankers Association's real estate and finance committee.

"Barnett has always been a relationship bank, and in terms of real estate we are going to become more market driven," Mr. Nicholson said.

A devotee of "process" in banking, Mr. Nicholson said Barnett's new lending will be based on analysis of demographic and economic trends. By determining what types of property are in demand, "we'll find the best producers, and those will be the ones we hook up with."

Mr. Nicholson said he regards his new job as an opportunity to take on greater responsibility. He left a $600 million portfolio at Pittsburgh National Bank.

At Barnett, Mr. Nicholson succeeds Bruce Anglin, who resigned last year.

In a state where many markets are now "top heavy with vacancies," as one Barnett official put it, Mr. Nicholson faces a challenge in more ways than one. …

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