Fifth Third Bancorp is upping its lending ranks in the Orlando area, expecting it can become a stronger local force with more commercial bankers.
The exact number was not disclosed by Brian Lamb, president of the bank's north Florida region, but the move is in sync with the bank's activity in the area, he said.
"The fundamentals in the market appear sustainable," Lamb said. "There is a renewed energy around economic development and job creation."
In addition to adding employees, the bank is, at times, relocating branches into bigger quarters. The latest example is in Winter Park, where the bank is moving from a 2,360-square-foot branch on Aloma Avenue to a 3,872 one about a mile down the street.
All told, Fifth Third operates 40 branches in Orlando and the surrounding area.
Lamb is taken with the fervor of Orlando's growth, but he is also being a bit cautious.
"There may be a concern around being overbuilt around a segment like hospitality or residential but we are not seeing it," he said. "Still, we're being cautious so we don't concentrate on a lone industry class."
The bank's list of lending encompasses many industries, including manufacturing, wholesale distribution, science, engineering, pharmaceutical facilities and equipment, health care, commercial real estate, multifamily and office.
"We haven't seen any industry where there is something we won't lend around," Lamb said. "What's great about the area is there is significant representation of national and local enterprises.
The bank's sweet spot is middle market companies with annual revenue of $10 million to $50 million. Fifth Third lends to these enterprises for expansion and for operating needs.
And there is still more work to do, Lamb said. "A diverse economy is being built, but we are not there yet."
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