Photo: Marc Vaughn
A Day in the Working Life
Finance & Insurance
» $49.5 billion
» 5.9% of Florida’s GDP
» GDP rank: No. 7
» Employment: 638,478
» 5.85% of total employment
» Employment rank: 9
Loan Operations Specialist, First Green Bank
Jordan Thompson, 26, graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with a finance degree. She wanted to work for a bank but couldn’t seem to get through anyone’s door. After a fluke encounter with a branch manager, she landed a job in 2014 as a teller at First Green Bank, a 7-year-old bank based in Orlando that today has five locations, 70 employees and about $400 million in assets.
The 26-year-old is now a loan operations specialist, responsible for making sure the paperwork is in order to close and book loans for things like residential solar panels, automobiles and lines of credit. Thompson was among the employees directly affected in October 2014, when Ken LaRoe, a veteran community banker who is the founder, chairman and CEO of First Green, decided to implement a living wage and raised starting pay to about $30,000. Some tellers were making as little as $22,000 a year.
The bank has since committed to raising its minimum wage by $1,000 every year “until we can’t afford it,” LaRoe says.
Thompson, who lives a short drive from her office in Mount Dora, says she is happy, and not just because of the pay. First Green offers benefits such as a 401(k) matching program up to 6% and a wellness program that includes a personal trainer and reimbursements for things like race entries and CrossFit memberships. And, she adds, “The best part of banking is that there isn’t any typical day. Every day is different.”
Thompson can see herself building a career in banking. “I definitely think this can be long term,” she says. “There are all different aspects of the business and you can move around. There’s definitely room for growth.”
Former State Senator, Chairman/ President, Security First Insurance
Covering Florida Homes
“We wrote our first policy in May of 2005. And now we have 281,000 customers.”
“What has happened in Florida in the last 25 years is that the State Farms of the world, the Allstates, they have withdrawn from the market. And who has taken their place? Small companies like Security First that you’ve never heard of.”
“We did a focus group and we asked real, live people in Orlando and Jacksonville, ‘If we said we had $100 million in capital, would you think that was a big deal?’ And they said no. ‘A hundred million?’ ‘That’s nothing.’ ‘Well, if we told you that we could have the four hurricanes of 2004 and pay all of our claims and keep writing business, would that make a difference?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, that’s what’s important.’”
“If you go to our website, you can get a picture of our reinsurance program. We’re the only company that does that. Our agents say that’s their best handout.”
“We do advertise. That was another thing people told us. ‘You’re not a real insurance company unless you’re on TV.’ I’m the spokesman because I work cheap.”
“People complain about the cost of their insurance, and it’s like, ‘Well, OK, it costs more to buy insurance than in Iowa.’ We do live in the most hurricane prone area of the world. How much are you paying on your cable bill? How much are you paying on your cell phone bill? And we’re insuring your most important asset.”
“You have to manage against the public part of the state of Florida. In other words, if the Legislature decides to cut Citizens’ rates in half, we can’t afford to compete against the government. If they want to sell something below cost, you can’t compete against that. So we have to always keep an eye on that. What’s the Legislature going to do to change our business?”
“Dodd-Frank and the regulatory environment are killing our community banks. The amount that our community banks and our regional banks have to spend on compliance costs is just overwhelming.”
— Alex Sanchez, president/ CEO, Florida Bankers Association
25% – The portion of medical spending by Jacksonville-based Florida Blue through “value-based” contracts — in which medical providers are paid a flat amount to care for patients rather than reimbursed for every service provided. That’s up from almost zero three years ago. “Our evolution from a fee-for-service platform to one focused more on valuebased, quality outcomes, means we are taking a more holistic look at personal health care that will benefit our members in the short- and long-term.”
— Prakash Patel, COO, GuideWell Mutual Holding, Florida Blue’s parent company
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