FIRST AMERICA NEWEST BANK TO SET UP SHOP IN MANATEE
BRADENTON - First America Bank opened its doors to Manatee County on June 1, paving the way for the bank's top executive to get back to his roots.
Dan Hager, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for First America, was the former CEO of the southwest Florida region for Regions Bank.
Hager left that post April 2 for a chance to join First America.
"Smaller community banks are what interest me," Hager said. "I like a board of directors and management that make decisions locally."
Hager worked at locally owned Liberty National Bank before it merged with Regions Bank in 1998.
First America has a temporary location with 10 employees at 410 43rd St. W., Suite C, behind a Colonial Bank.
First America is days away from signing a lease for a permanent spot on Manatee Avenue West. They plan to build a 6,000-square-foot facility.
There are also plans for a temporary Sarasota County site in Osprey that will be open by late July.
First America had its stock offering capped at $10 million and sold all the shares in three and a half months, Hager said.
Hank Goldsby, former senior vice president and senior lender at Regions Bank, was hired to organize and become president of First America Bank. Goldsby recommended Hager for the CEO post.
"Dan and I have over 25 years of experience in the Manatee and Sarasota area," Goldsby said, "and his experience in both counties seemed to be a good match for this bank."
First America has about 50 account holders so far at the temporary 2,100-square-foot location. "We have close to $4 million in deposits and $5.5 million of loans in our pipeline since we opened," Goldsby said.
The bank has yet to advertise, deciding to wait until their permanent location is finalized.
"Once we sign a lease for a spot on Manatee Avenue, that branch will be built in 6 to 8 months," Goldsby said.
First America offers the latest in banking products "that include Internet and online banking services," Goldsby said.
Goldsby said the bank has exceeded expectations so far.
"We had hoped to raise $7.5 million in capital," Goldsby said. "Instead, we raised $10 million."
Banking analyst Tom Kubik believes that local banks are a source of good competition in the area.
"It all boils down to service," said Kubik, president of Bradenton-based Kubik Financial Services LLC.
"Smaller community banks are in a position where they can be more flexible," Kubik said. "Bigger banks would like to offer better service, but because of their size, it is extremely difficult for them to compete."
Kubik said that community banks will raise the bar to a whole new level.
"With smaller operations becoming more successful, it will force larger banks to lower their fees and offer better service," Kubik said.
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