How small businesses are driving South Florida’s economic growth
Jorge Gonzalez President & CEO – City National Bank
In which area of business do you expect to see the most growth for South Florida?
Small business will continue to be the main economic driver in South Florida, and this is an underserved segment when it comes to banking. Our value proposition is particularly attractive to small and midsized businesses that really want a partner, not just a bank. There are various growing sectors in South Florida, including distribution, technology, healthcare and professional services. We see great opportunity there. Small businesses will continue to grow and expand as the economy continues to strengthen, and we’ll see job growth and innovation across various of these sectors. City National Bank has added new segments – leasing and specialty finance – allowing us to support companies of all sizes with their equipment and financing needs. These new offerings allow us to provide more solutions to existing clients and broaden our ability to serve new clients of all sizes. The marketplace has really embraced our banking model based on personal relationships, local decision-making and providing an excellent client experience.
What regulatory frameworks would you like to see addressed?
I wholeheartedly believe that banks need to be closely regulated, but that regulation should focus on the areas where there is risk and exposure. There has to be a prioritization of regulation to focus on areas with the most risk. Technology is one area that I think we’ll see more regulation, and that makes sense, because of the risks associated with electronic fraud. Information security and cyber security are emerging areas that banks and regulators need to be focused on. It is a new and quickly growing threat that needs to be managed very carefully.
What challenges need to be overcome?
Miami is a brand that has tremendous national and international appeal, and it has emerged as one of the most important places for business in the world. But that growth comes with challenges. Our infrastructure needs to be properly developed to support long-term growth. This is best illustrated by the traffic situation. Affordable housing is another area that we need to find innovative ways to increase the inventory. Companies want to ensure employees have a certain quality of life and that includes being able to live closer to work. Education is an area that we need to continue focusing on. Our public schools have made great strides, but more work is needed, particularly in ensuring we provide opportunities for individuals to be productive members of our community.