Foreign Enterprise in Florida: The Impact of Non-U.S. Direct Investment

By Mira Wilkins | Go to book overview

owned bank. In mid- 1978, there were ten foreign-owned banks in Miami, plus the eight new non-U. S. banks established for international business. The total of eighteen is up from three at year-end 1974, four in 1975 and 1976, and seven in 1977.

As pointed out earlier, with the Royal Trust Company's expansion and the new investment by J. J. Gonzalez Gorrondona, non-U. S. investment in Florida banking was in 1976-1978 no longer confined to Miami but included banks in Pembroke Pines, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Palm Beach, Orlando, and Dania. On the other hand, it should be noted that the eagerness in Miami for foreign investment was not necessarily indicative of statewide sentiment. When the Florida National Bank in Jacksonville was seeking purchasers of its stock, it was reported that a Venezuelan group made an offer of $42 million, which was rejected because of opposition to turning the bank over to "a bunch of foreigners. . . . They decided they didn't want to learn how to speak Spanish or Arabic or whatever it was." 39


SUMMARY AND COMMENTARY

Non-U. S. interests in banking in Florida are rising rapidly. It is remarkable that in mid-1974, Florida had only three non-U. S.-controlled banks. Four years later, in mid-1978 -- after acquisitions, one new bank, one merger of two acquired banks, and one sale of a bank -- seventeen Florida banks were non- U. S.-owned. Add to this the eight international banking offices of large foreign banks, and the total reaches twenty-five. As noted, eighteen of the twenty- five are in the Miami area. More are in prospect. The expansion runs parallel to the general growth in the United States, but the increase appears to be even greater than the norm. 40 As of April 1977, 210 U. S. banking institutions were owned by non-U. S. banks. 41 Florida's 12 non-U. S.-controlled banks at that time were not included in the 210, since the list excluded U. S. banks owned by foreign financial institutions that were not "banks" (e. g., the Royal Trust Company) and banks owned by foreign individuals, even though they might have had close ties with foreign banks (as in the cases of the Castell group, the Isaias family, and Gonzalez Gorrondona). What is happening in Florida in terms of "non-U. S. control" thus appears to differ from the pattern in New York, California, and Illinois, states that have commanded most of the attention of federal authorities. 42 The reason lies in differing state laws and also in the role of Latin American investors.

In 1974, the U. S. Congress began to consider legislation to regulate foreign bank operations in the United States. The International Banking Act was signed by President Carter on September 18, 1978. It provides for federal regulation of participation by foreign banks in domestic financial markets.

In promoting this legislation, the Federal Reserve has been interested in for-

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Foreign Enterprise in Florida: The Impact of Non-U.S. Direct Investment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vi
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter 1 the Extent of the Investment 1
  • Chapter 2 the Nature of the Investment 11
  • Chapter3 Nationalities of the Investors 20
  • Summary 34
  • Chapter 4 Land and Real Estate 35
  • Summary 51
  • Chapter 5 Other Industries 55
  • Chapter 6 Banking 84
  • Summary and Commentary 97
  • Chapter 7 Regions 104
  • Chapters 8 Benefits and Costs 117
  • Summary 126
  • Chapter 9 Public Policy 128
  • Conclusions 140
  • Notes Notes to the Preface 142
  • Appendixes 155
  • Index 185
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