Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

The state of banking

Stephen A. LeMay is an associate professor at the University of West Florida’s College of Business. He teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in finance, marketing, banking and computer literacy and supply chain logistics. He spoke to FLORIDA TREND about the state’s banking and finance industries.

Health of Florida’s Banks: “There has been only one FDIC bank failure in Florida over the past two years. Most Florida banks are in good shape. There has been a lot of consolidation among banks over the past two years. And I think with COVID, the smaller community banks have had some advantages over the larger banks in terms of having closer personal relationship with their customers.”

Trends: “What I see going on now is the federal government focusing on consumer protection, especially on overdraft fees charged to customers. There are some big banks — like Capital One — now saying there’s no fee for overdrawn accounts, and that’s a pretty radical thing for them.”

Self-Regulation: “Another move among banks is toward more self-regulation. The thinking is this will derail the federal government’s efforts to make banks behave themselves in terms of their relationships with consumers.”

Interest Rates: “Rising interest rates will increase banks’ revenues to some degree with higher fees on mortgages and consumer loans. I don’t think consumers are going to lose sleep over mortgage interest rates going from 3.5% to 3.75%. But there is some number out there — say above 5% — where people will go ‘nope, not going there.’ ”

Lending: “One of the things we’re observing in the housing market is that we’re not seeing any moves by banks toward making shaky loans to people who cannot afford to make the payments.”