February 28, 2024
Pure optimism and momentum

Photo: Nick Garcia

City National Bank closed a record $5.4 billion in loans last year, Vice Chairman and CEO Jorge Gonzalez says. Nearly two-thirds involved real estate lending.

Economic Backbone: Banking

Pure optimism and momentum

Longtime banker Jorge Gonzalez sees plenty of opportunities ahead.

Nancy Dahlberg | 4/20/2022

When Jorge Gonzalez joined City National Bank in Miami 12 years ago, the community bank had about $3 billion in assets. Assets have since grown to nearly $22 billion, making CNB the second-largest bank based in Florida, with about 1,000 employees statewide. While much of its footprint is in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the 75-year-old bank has made big pushes in Central Florida, the Tampa Bay area and Jacksonville over the last five years.

CNB closed a record $5.4 billion in loans last year, up from $3.4 billion in 2019, Gonzalez says. Nearly two-thirds of that amount was real estate lending, a reflection of the influx of businesses and residents making their way to Florida.

  • Market Outlook: “I’ve been in the banking business now for 30-plus years, and I really have not seen the pure optimism and momentum and just the sheer growth that we're experiencing today across a lot of sectors, industries and geographies. People just want to be here.“
  • What’s Different: Noting that Florida has long been known as a transient market, he says it’s different now: “What we're seeing are people coming here with a very long-term perspective. They are uprooting the family, the kids, and then moving companies and employees. It's not fly-by-night money. It’s serious money.”
  • Interest Rates: “Growth will continue … but with the Federal Reserve starting to look at interest rates, I think you'll see a leveling off of growth and appreciation, which I think is healthy. But I do think the next five years in Florida are going to be very healthy. I'm very bullish.”

Tags: Miami-Dade, Banking & Finance, Economic Backbone, Feature, Banking

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