Photo:BankUnited's lending total jumped $3.75 billion in one year.
Borrower's market: A lending boom in Miami-Dade
Miami-Dade banks are eager to make loans again.
A hot real estate market and continuing influx of international business interests helped Miami-Dade banks grow their loans by 20. 3% between June 2013 and June 2014, far above the national bank loan growth of 4. 9% for the same period and above statewide loan growth of 12.6%.
The increase in lending is largely real estate-related, driven by everything from rising home and condo sales to new construction, says Manuel A. Garcia-Linares, managing shareholder of Coral Gablesbased law firm Richman Greer P. A. “The economy is getting better; rates continue to be at the lowest point that they’ve ever been in history. … Home sales are up; condo sales are up; developers are back to building again; and there’s no question that lending has gone up exponentially,” he adds.
In fact, says Garcia-Linares, Miami-Dade banks are so eager to make loans that desirable borrowers set off fierce competition among banks. “Banks are having to negotiate, offer good rates, because the customer will just go to the other bank,” he says. However, while banks are more willing to lend than they have been for years, both regulatory requirements and caution are forcing lenders to be careful.
The largest percentage increase in loans, up 257%, according to the FDIC, came from Banco do Brasil Americas, the U.S. branch of a giant Brazilian bank. By dollar amount, BankUnited grew its loans the most, by $3.75 billion; that figure accounts for growth at its south Florida and New York offices.
Industry watchers say Miami-Dade banks are likely to be ahead of the national average when it comes to loan growth as long as interest rates remain low, although the growth may taper down during the next several months.
University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala will step down at the end of the 2014-15 academic year after 14 years as head of the university.
Megan Kelly, Swire Properties’ executive vice president, will retire this month.
E-commerce software company PrestaShop has doubled its revenue during the past two years by giving online merchants an all-in-one retail platform, including virtual storefront and payment processing. It uses a “fremium” model, meaning merchants can build and manage an online store for free but must pay for customized services and additional features. In fiscal year 2013, it had more than $11.7 million in revenue. The company says it is profitable.
PrestaShop has been around since 2007 and opened its Miami headquarters in 2011. It hosts more than 185,000 online stores worldwide. With 20 Miami employees and another 80 around the world, the company has a second headquarters in its founding city of Paris.
PrestaShop allows merchants to build and manage a site for free.
CORAL GABLES — The city commission approved $18.8 million for new streetscapes on downtown’s Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue. The city and property owners on Miracle Mile will split the costs.
HIALEAH — Atlantic Investors Group acquired the 127,867-sq.-ft. Furniture Market warehouse for $6.5 million. The $50.83 per-square-foot price is one of the highest paid for a warehouse.
MIAMI BEACH — The city commission approved an 84% increase in stormwater fees to pay for infrastructure work to deal with the effects of rising sea levels. The city charges a flat per-residence fee, which increases to $16.67 per month in October. Terranova and partner Acadia Real Estate Trust signed a deal to sell six commercial buildings on and just off Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road pedestrian mall for $342 million – one of the priciest real estate deals in south Florida history. The transaction has not yet closed, and the sellers won’t disclose the buyer’s name. Chicagobased private equity firm Z Capital Partners won the bankruptcy auction for part of the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa. Its $21.6-million bid buys the company 13 unsold condo/hotel units and the common areas, including spa, pools, retail spaces and the gym.
MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is buying Prestige Cruises International, parent company of luxury lines Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, for $3 billion. > The struggling Jungle Island attraction plans a massive renovation that operations manager Iconic Attractions Group says will cost “tens of millions” of dollars. The renovation will include zip lines, bungee swings, pool areas with waterfalls and a private beach. > The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $50,000 to the Venture Hive accelerator. The SBA made awards to 50 accelerators in the U.S., out of 800 that applied. > The historic Vagabond Hotel, north of downtown on Biscayne Boulevard, reopened after a $5-million renovation. > Spainbased Melia Hotels International will debut its new ME brand in the city on a site owned by developer CGI Merchant Group. CGI will tear down the Casa Moderna hotel, which it acquired at the end of last year, to build the 129-room ME Miami and a restaurant.
Developer Florida Fullview Immigration Building is converting a former Immigration and Naturalization building on Biscayne Boulevard in the northeastern part of the city to a mixed-use development. Triton Center will have 317 condominiums, 135 hotel rooms, a restaurant, retail space and parking.
MIAMI-DADE — Burger King is acquiring Tim Hortons for $11.4 billion. The company will keep its headquarters in Miami. The deal was criticized as an inversion play to avoid taxes.
SWEETWATER — County voters will decide this month whether to allow Florida International University to expand its main campus by leasing the county’s Tamiami Park. If FIU is allowed to expand into the 86-acre park, the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair will need to be relocated.
Ikea opened its first Miami-Dade store.