Plans Announced for Gulfside Bank

Todays News


The business community on the Gulf Coast got news it hasn’t heard in a decade—a new bank will open in Sarasota. A charter application for Gulfside Bank has been filed with the state of Florida, and the institution plans to open in the fourth quarter of this year. Dennis Murphy will serve as the bank’s president and CEO. “We are forming this bank to provide high quality personal service and customized banking solutions to the residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties,” Murphy said in a statement. “We will offer financial products and services designed to meet the unique needs of our clients and all decisions will be made locally by highly trained bankers and directors who know the market. Bank management and all its directors live and work locally and have a mutual interest in furthering the prosperity of the community.”

In fact, the bank will be the first new state-chartered bank to form in Florida in 10 years. That’s left the Gulf Coast, once a hotbed of community banking, with just one bank based in Sarasota and one in Manatee, Sabal Palm Bank and Premier Community Bank of Florida respectively.

Murphy, former executive vice president and senior lending officer for Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, will serve on the Gulfside Bank board of directors with a number of other business leaders in the region. Tim Clarke, a previous director of Insignia Bank, will serve as board chair for the new institution. Other directors include: Jennifer Compton, shareholder at Shucker, Kendrick & Loop; Compton Cramer, former owner of Cramer Auto Group; Rogan Donnelly, president of Tervis Tumbler; Teri Hansen, CEO of the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation; John LaCivita, executive vice president at Willis Smith Construction; Sam Norton, partner at Norton, Hammersley, Lopez & Skokos; Mike Pender, co-managing partner of Cavanaugh & Co. CPAs; Dr. Charles Rush, orthopedic surgeon at Kennedy White Orthopedics; and Drayton Saunders, president of Michael Saunders & Co.

Clarke says board members have pledged to provide 25 percent of the capital, assuring a commitment to the venture. “I call it a pure play bank, so there is no out-of-town influence and we have people who are committed,” Clarke says.

While the Sarasota-Manatee area at one point was more lush than most of Florida in terms of number of banks, it also saw a number of bank failures amid the financial crisis and Great Recession. As new regulations put more financial requirements on banks, the region also saw a number of healthy banks acquired by larger institutions or which went the route of merger to form larger institutions. But as federal officials including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin look at loosening regulations, at least on small community banks, a shift the other direction may occur, Clarke says. 

“You don’t want it to be easy to open a bank,” Clarke says. “The process is difficult, but you want it be difficult.” But you also want small community banks, he says, so a lightening of burdens on upstart institutions is welcome. And he says in Tallahassee, there’s rumors of four or five other banks planning to form in Florida.

“Community banks have basically gone away, but they are the heartbeat of economic well-being and are so important to success to a small town,” Clarke says.

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