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SRQ DAILY Jul 27, 2015

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"The vast majority of small business loans that are made are by community banks."

- Shaun Merriman, Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida

[Health ]  Vaccine Preventable Conditions

The black linear trend line here depicts an increase of cases in which individuals under the age of 65 were hospitalized due to vaccine preventable conditions in Sarasota County. The vaccine preventable conditions in this study include hepatitis A and B, measles, meningococcal diseases, mumps, whooping cough, rubella, tetanus and chicken pox.  

[Finance]  Community Banks to Fill Lending Void?
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A new study from Dun and Bradstreet and Pepperdine University says greater demand exists in Florida for small business loans than in other states, but a lower percentage of loans are approved. Community banks in Southwest Florida, though, say they have been busy lending, and believe small banks will meet the demand. “The vast majority of small business loans that are made are by community banks,” said Shaun Merriman, president and CEO of Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida.

The Pepperdine study released this month shows small businesses (defined as those with under $5 million in revenue) have seen loans approved less than half the time every quarter dating back to at least the second quarter of 2012, and while things appeared to be improving in mid 2014, each quarter this year has seen a decline. In Florida, a higher percentage of businesses are planning for expansion in the next six months. But of the 41 percent who attempts bank loans in the second quarter this year, only 19 percent were successful, compared to 37 percent of businesses nationwide who were successful at obtaining the loans.

For what it’s worth, that’s an opposite experience to what Charles Brown III, chairman and CEO at Insignia Bank, has seen on the Gulf Coast, at least as far as approval rates. “I’ve had to hire more lenders than at any time in our history,” Brown said. “We are seeing more high-quality borrowers and are starting see our competition pick up as well. We’ve been clipping along for over a year now at a much more rapid pace than the year before.” But that could be because Insignia is a small community bank, Brown said. The Pepperdine study may reflect a tendency of national and large regional banks to back away from small business lending, which then directs business down to the community bank level. 

Merriman said the reason the stats may play out as they do is because many small companies are new companies. “When a business is growing it puts a lot of stress and strain on capital needs, and those businesses tend to have a higher revenue-to-tangible debt ratio,” he said. So it makes some sense it’s more difficult for businesses with less than $5 million in revenue to secure loans. But he said Gateway, like Insignia, does a great deal of business with the small business sector. Indeed in the Sarasota area, some 95 percent of business are in that sector. That means regional and large banks that don’t specialize in small business spending may be reticent to give loans, but banks that do specialize in small business will likely approve loans at a better rate than reflected in the Pepperdine study, Merriman said. “Those establishments with less than $5 million in revenues, we love them,” he said. “That’s what we do. It’s our bread and butter in this bank.” 

Graphic from Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp.

[Launch]  Award Celebrates Innovation Economy
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

As creativity and design take a more prominent space in today’s economy, the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County has joined efforts with Ringling College of Art and Design to launch a new award honoring innovation. Nominations will be accepted through Aug. 10 for the first Innovation Through Creative Design Award. “Sarasota has always been a center for creativity and this award is intended to recognize and elevate current day innovators that embody this enduring spirit,” said EDC Chairman Larry Fineberg. “This award is the perfect avenue to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurial innovators driving our community forward.”

Chris Purnell, Corporate Relations director for the EDC, said the award creates an opportunity to celebrate entrepreneurs. “That’s what we are all looking for,” Purnell said. “Especially as technology grows, we want a reputation for being a region filled with innovators and entrepreneurs.” The college seemed a perfect partner, Purnell said, because of the role design has in the innovation economy. 

Larry Thompson, Ringling College president, has made a the elimination of the “starving artist” concept a theme of his tenure, and expressed enthusiasm for this joint effort with an economic organization. “Ringling College understands the energy and vision required to create something special,” he said.

To qualify for the award, a nominee must have a product or service available in the marketplace that has achieved demonstrable financial success, must have a majority of revenue generated coming from outside of Sarasota County and must have been developed within the last five years. Those interested can nominate themselves or others. A winner will be announced at the EDC’s annual meeting on Sept. 11. 

[Agenda]  North Port Considers Urban Design Standards

North Port City Commission: The board meets today to consider creating Activity Center Deisgn Centers and establishing the Urban Design Standards Review. The regular meeting begins at 6pm at City Hall.

Sarasota County School Board: The board meets Tuesday to hold a public hearing on setting the property tax rate for the coming fiscal year and to adopt a budget for the 2015-16 year. The meeting begins at 5:15pm at the school district headquarters at The Landings. 

North Port City Commission

[Exec Moves]  Thomas Joins Intercoastal Medical

Intercoastal Medical Group announced physician Dr. Jessica M. Thomas has joined the Intercoastal Family Practice. Thomas is seeing patients at IFP in Sarasota. Thomas received her medical degree from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. and completed her residency at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Tenn. She is a member of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Intercoastal Medical Group

[Exec Moves]  Beasley, Dahlborg Join First Physicians

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System announced two new primary care physicians have joined the First Physicians Group network, Dr. Mitchel Beasley and Dr. Rachel Dahlborg. Beasley joined Drs. Christopher Jefferson and Veronica Nabizada at their family medicine practice on the Venice Bypass. Beasley earned his osteopathic medicine degree at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. He completed his internship and residency at St. Petersburg General Hospital. He came to Sarasota from St. Petersburg, where he served as a resident physician at Family Care at Bardmoor. Dahlborg joined Drs. Karen Hamad, Alan King, Jack Rodman, John Wassenaar and Joseph Yeh at the Internal Medicine and Pediatrics practice located in Sarasota Memorial’s Health Care Center at Blackburn Point in Osprey. Dahlborg earned her medical degree at New York Medical College in 2011. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina in South Carolina. She came to Sarasota from the South Carolina, where she served as chief resident at Medical University of South Carolina. 

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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