Banking Trends & Trendsetters
Banking: The Big Picture
Themes from Federal Reserve research and FLORIDA TREND'S interviews with senior bank executives in Florida.
• Michael M. Fields
Bank of America
Florida state president, director of government relations, Tallahassee president
Age 63: "I don't have that date out there when I'm going to sit on the front porch and rock."
Annual trip: To South Dakota with his brother to hunt
Recreation: His beach place between Panama City and Destin, trips to the gym, children, grandchildren
Collegiate career: FSU football. "Linebacker — and I wasn't very good." He's a past chairman of the Seminole Boosters.
Favorite book: "A Land Remembered" by Patrick D. Smith.
Recent reads: "Age of Turbulence" by Alan Greenspan; "Havana Nocturne" by T.J. English. For light reading: Clive Cussler
[Photo: Mark Wemple]
Lewis State Bank. Gulf National Bank. Southern Bank of Tallahassee. C&S National Bank.
The four banks have two things in common. All — and this speaks volumes about the trajectory of Florida banking — wound up part of Bank of America. And Michael M. Fields worked at all of them. "I have been fortunate to do virtually everything in the industry, and I have been blessed by that," Fields says.
As state president for Charlotte-based Bank of America, Fields, 63, provides the strategic leadership for the company's corporate social responsibility work such as grants and community development lending. He's also its lobbyist and its face, elucidating the bank's record on loan modifications, foreclosures, services for low-income and minority people and charitable giving — more than $12 million in grants to Florida non-profits by the bank's foundation in 2009. "Corporate philanthropy is central to Bank of America's vision, and one of the ways we set opportunity in motion for our communities," he says.
Fields says the bank is "aggressively hiring in virtually every space" and, as of August, had 400 jobs open.
At present, customers are "very cautious" about taking on more debt to expand their businesses, Fields says. "Our customers and the state of Florida have been under a huge amount of stress. It appears it's going to be a slow and arduous recovery. As a state, we're going to have to have some patience."