Cindy Stover: "there's still pent-up demand for growth."
Economic Backbone: Banking
TD Bank exec expects growth to continue despite challenges
Despite the specter of rising rates, growth in Florida is expected to continue.
Despite two years of economic uncertainty, temporary branch closings and the threat of rising interest rates, Northeast Florida banks are thriving, says Cindy Stover, commercial market president of North Florida for TD Bank.
In the last six months, TD Bank has opened three Florida branches — in Lake Nona (Orlando), Sun City Ruskin (Tampa) and Julington Creek (Jacksonville) — and plans are underway for 30 additional branches in the state over the next five years.
New branches are not the only signs of growth, however. This spring, the New Jersey-based bank will open a 30,000-sq.- ft., $4.8-million call center in Jacksonville, bringing 200 customer service and operations jobs to the area.
“There’s been a lot of growth in Florida and in Jacksonville,” Stover says. “We’re getting a lot of looks from companies wanting to relocate their headquarters, and we’re doing a lot of residential loans.”
In 2021, TD Bank ranked as the No. 1 Small Business Administration lender in Florida as well as No. 1 in the South on J.D. Power’s 2021 Small Business Banking Satisfaction Survey.
Though the general outlook is positive, challenges for the banking industry in the next few years will mirror challenges for businesses in general, Stover says. Customers will continue to face rising costs for goods and supplies, and the banks will continue to face rising costs for hiring qualified employees. Stover says rising interest rates could mean fewer people refinancing, but overall, Florida will fare better than some states.
“There’s still pent-up demand for growth,” Stover says. “Companies that have been waiting to see how the economy was going are now looking for expansion and acquisition.”