By: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 minute read November 2019 — Staying competitive and emerging as a leader in a crowded banking field takes smart growth strategies, remaining cognizant of trends in the industry and an ever-increasing focus on the technological wants and needs of customers. Jesse Flowers, the community president for CenterState Bank, spoke to Invest: about how his bank is ensuring continued growth into the future.
How does your bank ensure continued and sustainable growth?
We continue to grow, hire more people and expand our client base. We are always looking for acquisitions and good partnerships. We have acquired five banks over the last six years in South Florida, and all of them have been a strong fit. We want to make sure that our culture fits with the companies we acquire. We still run like a small bank, and all our decisions are made locally.
We stick to our fundamentals. We make sure that the loans that we provide are to good, qualified borrowers that can withstand a recession. On the commercial lending side, most of the demand is driven by real estate. We are paying close attention to where we are in the real estate cycle because Florida is mostly driven by tourism and real estate.
What is a particular trend you are keeping a close eye on?
Banking is always changing. One of the trends that we have seen over the last five years is people using alternative lenders. Whether it be hedge funds, internet lenders or hard-equity lenders, a high number of those lenders have stepped into the market, more than they used to in the past. That might continue to be a trend because they are often able to be more flexible on the terms and conditions of their loans due to less regulation.
How does CenterState Bank remain client-focused in a rapidly changing banking environment?
People are more focused on technology. We have to focus on the services that people want, like better and easier online technology. Those are the services that are expanding with people using phone and online banking. CenterState has invested in technology over the last several years because we know how important it is. Now, with open source platforms, access is getting cheaper, and we have hired in-house programming professionals to develop software for us.
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