Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sarasota's Sabal Palm Bank Is Getting Ready for Growth

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Sarasota's Sabal Palm Bank Is Getting Ready for Growth

Article excerpt

WITH MORE THAN $5 MILLION in fresh capital and a new chief executive officer in place, Sabal Palm Bank of Sarasota is looking to grow.

The bank completed a stock offering this month, topping its $4 million goal and putting veteran local banker Neil D. McCurry Jr. in the CEO's chair.

"It's good to see that local banks can once again raise capital," McCurry said.

Sabal Palm, which opened in 2006, has been one of the region's slower-growing community banks. McCurry said the bank did not have capital issues but needed additional funding to expand its lending and increase deposits in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

"There are very good opportunities for the bank, but we've got to get out there and work very hard," he said. "We've got the capital and the desire to grow. Even in the good times, you can't sit back and wait for people to walk in the door."

Brian Hall, the lender's founding president and CEO, will remain as president and report to McCurry.

Sabal Palm raised $5.6 million in the offering, which was priced at $2 per share, less than the $10 per share that the original 200 investors paid to launch the bank. Each new share included a warrant to buy additional shares at $2.50. About 15 percent of the new shares were sold to existing shareholders. Another 50 investors, all local, bought the rest, McCurry said.

He put up more than $250,000, making him one of the bank's five largest shareholders. No single investor owns more than a 5 percent stake.

"I've always said that I would never ask anyone to put money into something I wouldn't do myself," he said. "I also believe that everybody has to invest in themselves, put their money where their mouth is."

McCurry needed to raise at least $4 million to join the bank as CEO. He said $5.6 million was generated within a month after the offering -- which was initially restricted to current shareholders - - went out to the public.

Sabal Palm earned $123,000 in 2012, compared with a loss of $492,000 in 2011. The bank reported assets of $83.2 million last year, along with loans of $55.8 million.

The bank, which was considered to be well capitalized before the offering, now has $15. …

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