Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

U.S. Banks Are Doing Better; Their CEOs Are Doing Well, Too; ELEVEN MONTHS HAVE PASSED since Southwest Florida's Last Bank Failure, [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

U.S. Banks Are Doing Better; Their CEOs Are Doing Well, Too; ELEVEN MONTHS HAVE PASSED since Southwest Florida's Last Bank Failure, [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

ELEVEN MONTHS HAVE PASSED since Southwest Florida's last bank failure, the longest stretch without a bank collapse since the onset of the financial crisis four years ago.

Nine community banks based in Sarasota, Manatee or Charlotte counties have closed since Aug. 1, 2008, when First Priority Bank of Bradenton kicked off a string of failures.

In the state, regulators in 2012 had shut down four banks as of Thursday, compared with six at this point last year.

The last local failure was Sarasota's LandMark Bank of Florida, which was closed July 22, 2011.

The pace of failures has eased nationwide as well. Many of the weakest players have been rooted out, and some believe the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is now taking a more leisurely approach to shuttering sick banks.

"FDIC takeovers have slowed considerably in recent quarters, not because of a reduction in the number of distressed banks, but because of an apparent change in policy in Washington," said Benjamin C. Bishop Jr., chairman of the Allen C. Ewing & Co. investment bank in Jacksonville.

He noted that IberiaBank Corp., a buyer of several failed Florida banks, struck a traditional deal this year to pay $43.7 million for the parent of Florida Gulf Bank in Fort Myers, with $350 million in assets and eight offices.

"This transaction is significant, as it indicates that Florida bank holding companies with a strong market franchise and core deposits can command a premium price, even in the current market," Bishop said.

BankUnited moving into N.Y.

Two top executives of BankUnited Inc. will pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit and clear the way for the Florida bank to expand into New York.

BankUnited chairman and CEO John Kanas and vice chairman John Bohlsen will pay the money to resolve Capital One Financial Corp.'s complaint that they violated non-compete arrangements by returning to New York banking.

Miami Lakes-based BankUnited, which operates six offices in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, struck a deal last year to acquire Herald National Bank, a three-office, $500-million-asset bank in New York City.

Regulators approved the sale, but Capital One claimed that it meant Kanas and Bohlsen had breached the terms of their non-compete agreements when they left that company in 2007. …

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