Photo: Ben Hider/NYSE EuronextEverBank leaders say the bank is still “deeply rooted” in the community. CEO Robert Clements (center right with President/COO W. Blake Wilson to his right) decided to move the company downtown to support the city's revitalization effort.
Unheard of a decade ago, Jacksonville-based EverBank is now the eighth-largest bank in Florida — and the largest bank headquartered in Florida, with $15 billion in assets and $11 billion in deposits — more than triple its 2007 size.
Having grown so large, so fast, can Jacksonville still claim it as a community bank? The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency now puts EverBank in the midsize category, among banks that have more than $10 billion in assets. But the company’s leadership maintains EverBank is “deeply rooted” in Jacksonville.
Even as it pursues an aggressive U.S. growth strategy and hones in on “mass affluents” and business lending in other parts of the nation, the bank bought naming rights to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ football stadium, EverBank Field, in 2010, and this year relocated 1,600 employees from the suburbs to downtown Jacksonville, in part to support revitalization efforts.
EverBank got its start as an online bank just as consumers were beginning to entrust their banking to the internet. And while the internet is the meat of its model, EverBank does not ignore the potatoes. Its strategy is to “capitalize on the best features of both online and brick-and-mortar banks,” says CEO Robert M. Clements, “while avoiding the limitations of each.”
For example, online banks struggle with customer retention and a good balance of deposits; regional banks lack geographic diversity and ability to quickly scale. EverBank says its model is excelling at all facets. It has stepped up Florida brick-and-mortar marketing after acquiring the failed Bank of Florida Tampa, Bank of Florida Southwest in Naples and Bank of Florida Southeast in Fort Lauderdale. “The response rates and growth rates in that are really encouraging,” says President and COO W. Blake Wilson.
This year, EverBank has built up a national commercial lending platform, acquiring first the warehouse finance business of MetLife Bank, then a subsidiary of GE Capital called Business Property Lending. EverBank went public in May, raising $200 million — considerably less than it sought. Shares have since risen 20% to about $12.
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