Press Room

LW Chamber presents Durso awards

LAKE WALES, FL (Sept. 18, 2010)- Kathy Leight Berkowitz, Lake Wales News 

Members of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce packed out the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church on Central Avenue to celebrate their fifth annual Carl F. Durso Excellence in Business Awards Luncheon Friday. “It is always a great event to recognize the business in town that we take for granted,” said Chamber of Commerce president Jason Penrod. Sponsors for the event, besides the Chamber, were Citizens Bank & Trust, Lake Wales Medical Center and Polk State College. Those presenting the two trophies awarded were Greg Littleton, chief executive officer for Citizens Bank & Trust, and Dr. Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College. Jerry Miller of Progress Energy was the keynote speaker for the event. Florida’s Natural Growers and Center State Bank were this year’s Durso award winners for “excellence in business.” On behalf of Florida’s Natural Growers, vice president of operations Charles Matthews said “it’s certainly an honor to receive this award and to join the list of other great companies that support Lake Wales and the Chamber.” “We have over 300 Lake Wales residents that work in our company. That really creates a deep regard in all of us for the city of Lake Wales, the accomplishments that they have achieved today, the opportunities they have going forward,” he said. And Paul Gerard, senior vice president and area executive of Center State Bank receiving the award on behalf of the bank, said they were “indeed honored” to receive the award. “It’s a joy for each of us to serve this community. We love Lake Wales. We try to mold each branch to fit in each community,” he said. The criteria for the award is the length of time the nominee has been in the community; the number of residents employed; the significant capital investments each has made to improve local operations and enable them to better serve their customers; community and employees; involvement in and contributions to various community organizations; and leadership provided by key management in local, statewide, civic and professional organizations. On hand for the festivities were Durso’s daughter Asunta Durso Fleming and son Marc Durso. “My whole family is very overwhelmed that we have this wonderful event yearly in my father’s name,” Fleming said.

Community National Bank Bought Out

BARTOW, FL (Aug. 25, 2010)- By Bill Rettew, Jr. Staff Writer

 The former bank lobby of Community National Bank, Monday, could have easily been confused with a party site. Festive balloons hung in the air and tables were covered with goodies to eat. Bartow's locally-owned Community National Bank was purchased late Friday by CenterState Bank. Community Bank failed and was sold "without a premium" through a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assisted transfer, according to Dale E. Dryer, senior vice president of CenterState Bank. Still, smiles were contagious, probably since staffers met with CenterState brass during the weekend and were "relieved and excited," said Dreyer. Dreyer said all employees will keep their jobs and "not a single depositor lost a penny." CenterState bought out every depositor, both those insured and uninsured, said Dreyer. The company now has 14 branches in Polk County, with 27 overall, including branches in Marion, Orange, Indian River, Okeechobee and Hendry counties. CenterState now controls 49 banks overall, with a yearly net income, as a December 31, 2009, of $4.7 million and total assets of $1.3 billion. Bud Mears, former Community president and CEO, now Bartow CenterState executive, said Monday that a 40 percent drop in residential property values and a high concentration of residential loans led to the bank failure. "It's more acceptable for people to have their house foreclosed on," said Mears. Eighty percent of the bank's loan portfolio was residential loans, which five years ago was an indicator of a strong bank. Obtaining property at diminished values through foreclosures eroded the bank's capital, said both Mears and Dreyer. Mears, with 32 years of banking experience, said he is proud and excited to be working for CenterState and "a lot of loyal customers."

CenterState takes over Community National Bank in Bartow and Independent National Bank in Ocala.

WINTER HAVEN (Aug. 21, 2010)- Matthew Pleasant, The Ledger

 CenterState Bank of Florida announced Saturday it had taken over two failed banks, adding five more branches and raising its assets to about $1.3 billion. The Winter Haven-based company acquired Community National Bank at Bartow and Independent National Bank in Ocala through a deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The takeover occurred at the close of business Friday, when the FDIC informed employees at the two banks of the change, according to bank officials. The bank branches with weekend hours opened Saturday as CenterState branches. The company now has 14 branches in Polk County and a total 27 in Florida. The addition is expected to raise the assets of its parent company, CenterState Banks Inc., to $2.3 billion, said John Corbett, president of CenterState Bank of Florida. CenterState Banks Inc. has its headquarters in Davenport. The acquisition includes Independent National Bank's four branches Marion County and Community National Bank's location in Bartow, making it CenterState's first branch in the city. "We've always had an interest in being in the county seat," Corbett said. "This is a group of people who have been there longer than anyone. What really appeals to us is the longevity of the bank and its roots in the community." Many of the branches opened Saturday to explain the acquisition to customers. They seemed to accept the change without alarm, said Dale Dreyer, head of CenterState banks in West Polk County. "It was probably reassuring to customers and clients that it was a local bank," he said. "I think it was really the best outcome for them on many fronts." George Durhan, head of CenterState Bank of Florida's banks in Marion County, said customers in the Ocala area reacted much the same. "Naturally, you've got some concern," Durhan said. "But it doesn't have quite the gut-wrenching reaction it used to because customers are realizing now the FDIC insurance fund works." The acquisition did not interrupt the deposits of customers, who are still able to access money as usual. Customers with deposits over insured limits set by the FDIC did not lose money either. The transactions are the fourth acquisitions made recently by CenterState. In July it acquired the Olde Cypress Community Bank in Clewiston in a FDIC assisted transaction. On Aug. 9, CenterState announced it would be acquiring four branches of Mercantile Bank in Putnam County. Independent National Bank, founded in 1988, had about $156 million in assets and $142 million in total deposits. Community National Bank, which dates to 1984, had about $68 million in assets and $64 million in total deposits. CenterState Bank of Florida, founded in 2000, went from a $1.1 billion institution to one of about $1.3 billion. The first-quarter report from Coral Gables-based BauerFinancial, which rates banks and credit unions based on assets, profits or losses and other factors, gave CenterState Bank of Florida five stars, its highest rating. The company intends to keep the current employees of the banks. The FDIC has closed 112 banks in the nation and 22 in Florida alone this year, the agency reports.

CenterState to Buy 4 Mercantile Bank Branches in Putnam County

WINTER HAVEN, FL (August 11, 2010) - CenterState Banks Inc. (Nasdaq: CSFL), the parent of CenterState Bank of Florida N.A., has entered into an agreement to buy all four Putnam County, Fla., branches of Mercantile Bank, a division of South Financial Group (Nasdaq: TSFG), according to an SEC filing. The agreement by the Winter Haven, Fla.-based bank holding company includes as a party Cherry Hill, N.J.-based TD Bank N.A., whose Canadian parent TD Bank Financial Group (NYSE: TD) in May said it will buy South Financial Group, of Greenville, S.C., for $191.6 million. The merger has yet to close and faces at least one lawsuit from shareholders of South Financial. Under the agreement, CenterState will acquire the four Mercantile Bank branches with deposits of $113 million, as of June 30, and a portfolio of performing loans worth $125 million at 90 percent of its value, or $112.5 million, plus accrued and unpaid interest. Further, CenterState will have the right to return to TD Bank any acquired loan that turns delinquent or needs to be written off as a loss. The agreement will close after 90 days and has customary non-compete and termination clauses.

Clewiston bank closed by regulators

CLEWISTON, FL (July 16, 2010)-

 Olde Cypress Community Bank in Clewiston was closed today by federal regulators and its deposits were purchased by CenterState Bank of Florida, National Association, of Winter Haven. The bank was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. as receiver, according to the FDIC. All four branches of Olde Cypress will reopen Saturday as branches of CenterState. Depositors of Olde Cypress will automatically become depositors of CenterState. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC, so there is no need for customers to change their banking relationship in order to retain their deposit insurance coverage.