Canadian Banks Depositing More Branches in Florida
Updated 8 yearss ago
As some U.S. banks closed or retrenched during the economic downtown, Canadian banks saw opportunity to grow in Florida.
"Canadian banks are following Canadian consumers," says Ken Thomas, an independent bank consultant and economist in Miami. They are also following opportunities for U.S. customers. "South Florida is one of the five best banking markets in the nation, with retail, wealth management and international trade finance," Thomas says.
Toronto-based TD Bank has become Florida's ninth-largest financial institution by deposits, with about $9.37 billion. Bank of Montreal, Canada's fourth largest bank, entered the state in 2011 via the acquisition of Marshall & Illsley, whose Milwaukee-based M&I Bank had about 30 branches in central Florida and the state's west coast. Some Canadian banks — especially smaller brands like NatBank — continue to strictly serve Canadian nationals who spend their winters in Florida.
TD Bank, which has 161 locations in Florida and plans to open 14 more this year, sees "tremendous opportunity on the deposit side" in Florida, says Ernie Diaz, the bank's Coral Gables-based regional president in Florida. He points to the state's population growth, GDP and strong small-business community.
"Florida is the perfect, although competitive, banking opportunity environment," Diaz says. "Couple that with the fact that so many Canadians spend a significant amount of time in Florida, with second homes or businesses or real estate investments, and it becomes a natural market for expansion."
International trade opportunities are also drawing Canadian banks, says Frank Gonzalez, principal-in-charge of the Audit Department at accounting firm MBAF's Miami office. "The new Canadian banks setting up in this area will have more opportunities to grow," he says, "depending on the extent that the banks can assist these businesses with their banking and financing needs, especially from an international standpoint. — Jennifer LeClaire
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