Banking Trends & Trendsetters
Themes from Federal Reserve research and FLORIDA TREND'S interviews with senior bank executives in Florida.
• Mark Bensabat
CEO, middle market banking Florida
Someone told him: "You're not a true Floridian until you've invested in a real estate deal."
Summer vacation: Little Palm and a short cruise
Football: Dolphins and Saints
Baseball: LSU Tigers
Lately: Cooking. Historically: Diving, sailing, fishing, golf
Recent reads: "Last Man Standing: The Ascent of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase" by Duff McDonald; "The Defector" by Daniel Silva
[Photo: Brook Pifer]
JPMorgan Chase's plans for Florida include 140 new branches in the next several years in south Florida, building on the base it acquired in late 2008 when it took over failed Washington Mutual's operation here. To staff those branches, it is hiring hundreds of new bankers and is adding 600 to build its small-business lending and commercial, private and investment bank business. "All of these are receiving tremendous resources now and in the coming years," says Mark Bensabat, the New York bank's CEO for middle market banking in Florida, which covers companies with $20 million to $500 million in revenue.
Long term, Florida's lack of income tax and state estate tax and being "blessed with a great climate and a great piece of real estate" bode well, says Bensabat, 52. For now, though, commercial real estate and residential mortgages continue to weigh the state down, he says. In other sectors, "there's some foundation, some stabilizing and a base for moving forward," he says. Chase has counseled more than 22,000 mortgage holders since opening 11 centers in Florida to do loan modifications.
A second-generation banker, Bensabat is a fourth-generation New Orleans native. He came to Florida in the seventh grade when his father became head of the old Coral Gables First National Bank. He graduated from Florida State with a bachelor's in economics and an MBA and returned to Louisiana, spending 13 years in New Orleans and 15 years in Baton Rouge at Bank One and First Commerce, which eventually were subsumed into Chase.
Chase sent him to Florida in 2009 after it closed the WaMu deal. "We're new to the market, and we're very pleased with the reception we've gotten," Bensabat says of Chase.