Welcoming culture Many people dont come into a branch anymore, Vasilopoulos said, but for those who do we want there to be a welcoming culture that embraces them because were fortunate to have the clients we have. Florida locations catering more to millennials such as South Beach in Miami-Dade County will see brick-and-mortar institutions shrink, said Alex Sanchez, president and CEO of the Florida Bankers Association . But in other places people want the physical location. We need to serve both communities. Also having a physical location has a billboard effect. They tell people hey, were here, were safe, and were not some theoretical company headquartered in Nebraska. See us, touch us, feel us. Wealth management is the name of the game in Palm Beach, and the banking study predicts that it will become a baseline service for retail banking. Banks without a strong wealth offering will lose share, as customers take increasing responsibility for their lifelong financial well-being Wealth management has become big business throughout Florida, Sanchez said. Its been happening for decades, and its largely because of the type of population we have. Sabadell entered the Palm Beach market in 2011 and bank leaders recognized that specialized services were required. We wanted to provide wealth management and trust services to clients, and that was really the driver, said Vasilopoulos. Weve continued to expand in that arena, not only here but with offices in Miami, North Palm and on the West Coast of Florida. Also, bankers in Palm Beach have learned that its important to become involved in philanthropic efforts, an island trademark. Vasilopoulos, for example, was past chair of the Palm Beach United Way campaign. That was something very near and dear to my heart, and I really enjoyed being part of that. I was also involved with Johns Hopkins Womens Journey I sat as the co-chair of that event. Its a wonderful organization that puts on health symposiums for women. We do a lot of internal seminars with people who are interested in learning more about financial services and issues with children, since theyre being brought up in a wealthy environment. We try to touch on a lot of different topics that are valued by our clients and by people in the community. Few markets are as competitive as Palm Beach when it comes to financial services. Whos Who of banking You drive down Royal Palm Way and its a Whos Who of banking industry wealth management, Sanchez said. In its early days, Palm Beach was served by just one or two banks. Now, there are 11 institutions on the island that offer everything from traditional services to private banking and trust services. The result is that careful planning is required to make a company stand out. Bessemer Trust, which has been at 222 Royal Palm Way since 1988, is undergoing a major renovation this summer a complete face-lift, according to Philip Kalafatis, regional director of the Palm Beach office. We recognized that we needed to do some technological upgrades cabling, enhanced wires and lines, Kalafatis said. We also wanted to modernize bathrooms, kitchens and private offices with fresh paint and wallpaper, with new desks and chairs as needed. Some employees have been rotated into West Palm Beach office space during the project, which began June 1 and is expected to wrap up Sept. 30. Bessemer, a private wealth-management company, wanted to offer its high-end clients a fresher look, Kalafatis said, without being ostentatious. We recognize that we need to have a very fine looking office space. Customers returning for the season will also find faster computers and higher quality phone connections, he added.
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