by Mike Vogel
To say JPMorgan Chase is underbranched in Jacksonville is an understatement. Although it has hundreds of branches statewide — 233 of them acquired in 2008 with its purchase of failed Washington Mutual — it has just one in Jacksonville to serve Chase’s 4,000 Jacksonville employees who do mortgage processing.
Chase aims to rectify that as it builds toward 425 to 450 branches statewide by 2015, which would move it to No. 4 in Florida in branches. “Florida, along with California, has been the fastest-growing market here at Chase,” says George Acevedo, senior vice president and regional manager for Chase in the Southeast U.S.
As Chase shows, whatever Florida’s other problems, the state remains an attractive market for major banks. In the aftermath of the recession, large banks are the winners in Florida, increasing their already dominant market share. The top three, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and SunTrust, combine for 45% of Florida deposits.
Major banks are building out their networks and bringing their heft to bear with myriad products and with ways to access the bank via check deposit by phone, self-service branches, ATMs, apps and mobiles.
Chase is hardly alone in expanding.
» Pittsburgh-based PNC added 70 branches this year to bring its state total to 201.
» TD Bank, the U.S. arm of Canada’s Toronto Dominion Bank, opens nine branches this year.
» In August, Shelley Freeman, Florida community banking president for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, was out scouting new branch sites. Wells is adding 200 new bankers next year. “We’re very bullish on Florida. We’re focused on south and central Florida as our fastest-growing markets, our highest opportunity markets,” she says.
» Banks are seeing more loan demand. In-migration to Florida has resumed. Businesses want to finance expansion or get lower rates. Through the first half of 2012, Bank of America in Florida saw new small-business loan originations jump 39% from the same period in 2011. The bank is hiring small-business bankers across the state. However, the issue for bank business customers at many banks, regardless of size, is impaired credit histories.
Banks are noting changed consumer behavior. “Consumers’ personal asset and liability match is better. Now they are doing a car loan for a car, a home equity loan for a house expansion, a credit card for short-term needs. Not only did we as an industry learn from the events of the past few years, consumers learned as well,” says SunTrust spokesman Steve Peck.
Florida Deposits (in billions of dollars)
|Bank of America||$78.50|