Industry Outlook 2005
BANKING: Looking Good
As long as any interest rate increases are gradual and small, bankers will have a good year. Ocean Bank CEO José Concepci?n expects 8% to 10% growth and to expand in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. Riverside National Bank President Vernon Smith, his Fort Pierce office devoid of carpet and ceiling tiles thanks to hurricanes, says, "Frankly, I think the economy is going to be fine." Bankers will be watching for how regulators implement the federal Bank Secrecy Act, says Alex Sanchez, CEO of the Florida Bankers Association.
2005 Forecast: Ramiro Ortiz, president and COO of BankUnited, Florida's largest independent, says 2005 will be "a very strong year. In terms of growth, good, good things. The caveat here is rates. A sudden rapid uptick will hurt everybody."