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City National Bank: A Long Heritage of Service


  Rosary Plana Falero

City National Bank takes pride in its long heritage of serving South Florida law firms. Since its founding in 1946, the bank has catered to the needs of attorneys and other professionals, while expanding its network throughout the tri-county region, the Treasure Coast and Orlando. Now under the ownership of Bankia (formerly Caja Madrid), City National Bank is well-capitalized with funds to support the changing needs of the professional services market.

“There are law firms that have been banking with us for decades,” said Rosary Plana Falero, senior vice president and manager, Private Client Group in the bank’s Coral Gables office. “We have products customized for the legal market, but our real focus is on providing the high-quality personalized service that builds lasting relationships.”

City National’s client roster includes law firms of all sizes, accounting firms, architects and real estate companies. “We offer depository and credit solutions, with access to advanced technology,” Falero said. “We also know that a 100-attorney firm may have very different banking needs than a smaller practice with four or five partners.”

A leader in banking technology, City National offers an array of online services for attorneys’ daily account activities, as well as full-service support for attorneys who prefer to let their banker handle all the details, said Falero.  On the credit side, City National can provide financing for new equipment, office build-outs and renovations, new partner acquisitions and working capital.

City National Bank has been working with real estate attorneys and their clients since it opened its doors. “We are very well versed in escrow accounts that meet all Florida Bar requirements,” said Falero. “Our team also facilitates real estate closings, which often happen late in the day. We can wire the funds out as soon as the attorneys get the final signatures on the closing documents.”

Serving Attorneys for 65 years

City National Bank of Florida was established in 1946 when Leonard L. Abess, Sr. and Baron de Hirsch Meyer founded the North Shore Bank on 71st Street in Miami Beach. In the 1950s, they acquired Industrial National Bank in downtown Miami.  Over the next 50 years, City National expanded into Broward, Palm Beach and Martin counties as well as Orlando and Winter Park, building a reputation for practical, prudent banking and customer service. Under Leonard Abess, Jr., City National Bank became one of the largest community banks in the nation.

In 2008, Caja Madrid purchased the bank, after determining it would be a good match. The recently renamed Bankia was founded more than 300 years ago and its growth has been driven by conservative banking practices and personal service. In addition, Bankia uses more than 20 percent of its profits to fund various social, educational and cultural projects in local communities.

“Having Bankia as a parent has strengthened and complemented our organization with greater reach and resources and more extensive services and products,” said Jorge Gonzalez, CEO and president, in a recent statement. “Together, we look forward to a future of healthy growth, for our organization, our people, our local communities and, most importantly, our customers.”

Building Strong Relationships

Today, City National’s corporate offices are located at 1450 Brickell Avenue, Miami, while the Private Client Group is based in Coral Gables.  The bank has more than $3.8 billion in assets, $2.8 billion in deposits and $1.8 billion in loans. It has consistently ranked in the top 50 of all U.S. community banks in terms of profitability, productivity, efficiency and asset quality, and has received the highest Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) rating three times.

The bank’s Private Client Group has nine relationship managers who service law firms in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. The bank’s Business Banking Group, which handles firms with less than $10 million in annual revenue, is adding two more relationship managers to its current seven-person team.

Overall, the bank has 26 retail locations in Southeast and Central Florida, with the ability to provide convenient service to multi-office law firms. “As we expand and grow our institution, we plan to offer our expertise to more attorneys and professional firms,” said Falero. “We have the personal touch of a small community bank with the resources of a global financial institution. It’s an ideal combination to serve our market.”

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