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Q&A: BofA market president positive on Jax region

Jacksonville Business Journal - September 21, 2018 - by Junior Skepple - read full article here

The Business Journal spoke with Greg Smith, the market president of Bank of America, about the state of the banking sector in northeast Florida and how digital banking has impacted the industry.

What is the state of the banking industry in Northeast Florida?  We are in a very good spot. After the recession in 2008, and the recovery started in about 2010 and the economy of Jacksonville has benefitted from that. The area is very healthy: You look at the unemployment rate and new businesses that have been attracted here by JaxUSA Partnership – we have a very strong economy so that means that the banking business is healthy. All the banks over these last years have built up their capital positions and have continued to focus on lending. Our company focuses on our responsible growth strategy where we continue to lend and put money back out to businesses and the consumer side in a responsible way. 

The banking Industry has changed locally with fewer community owned banks. How has that impacted customers and how do you see this dynamic between community owned and national banks continuing to develop?  There is always going to be a place for both. There are difference niches and needs that both can serve, but the one big trend for both types of banks is digital banking. Digital banking changes how the customer experiences banking. A customer can do so much more banking now on their mobile phone and that is a place where Bank of America puts a lot of investment. 

The banking industry has been the subject of some big headlines in recent years. Do we have these issues here in Jacksonville? I really like the Jacksonville banking landscape and community. I don't see that we've had those issues here. If you harken back to 2008, the whole industry took a very big hit, and everyone has been building out of that and rebuilding their brand and community outreach. I see all the banks engaged in a positive way in the Jacksonville, Northeast Florida community. The headlines and things that impact us more broadly, I have not seen that type of negativity in our community. 

What do you think about the rise of digital currencies like bitcoin and its impact on the financial industry?  Bitcoin is interesting, but there is a lot of speculation and I think adopters need to be careful. That's the only thing I would caution people to be thoughtful about the uncertainty. We think that we have solutions in the banking industry that really can handle this niche.

 

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The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

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