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Beach Bank launches version 2.0 with a brand refresh

Margie Manning

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Henry Gonzalez (left), senior vice president and Tampa market president, and Chip Reeves, president and CEO, Beach Bank

Beach Bank is taking the next step forward in its evolution with a brand refresh, including a shorter name, a new logo and website, and an updated mobile app.

The bank has dropped “community” from its name, although it continues to focus on delivering service in a community bank fashion, said Chip Reeves, president and CEO. The starfish in its old logo has been replaced with a surrealistic view of waves washing onto the shore and two B’s on top of each other.  The website, which just went live, is beach.bank. The bank’s mobile app reflects the branding changes as well. The bank’s eight locations, including one in downtown Tampa, have new signs reflecting the changes.

Beach Community Bank’s old logo (top) and Beach Bank’s new logo (bottom)

Beach Bank, headquartered in Fort Walton Beach and with an executive office in Tampa, was recapitalized with $100 million in 2018. 

“We have completely reimagined and redefined the institution in these two years. Beach 2.0 means we’ve fixed the problems that were legacy driven, and it’s now about the aggressive and exponential growth, which will be led by the Tampa region likely including St. Petersburg, likely including Sarasota-Bradenton, and some additional growth in Tampa,” Reeves said.

The brand refresh reflects the changes in the bank over the past two years, said Henry Gonzalez, senior vice president and Tampa market president, treasury management.

“It’s a little more serious. If you look at some of the old ads the bank did, you’d see beach balls and beach umbrellas. Our logo was a starfish. All that is gone. It’s a little more serious. I call it a casually serious look to the brand. That’s what we are. We’re not coat and tie. We’re business casual and that’s the impression we want to give to clients. We’re not stuffy but we’re very confident in what we do and we have a lot more skills than you would think a bank this size would have,” Gonzalez said.

ReliaQuest CEO joins board

Beach Bank has been strengthening its Tampa-St. Petersburg connections. Four of the 10 members of the board of directors are Tampa residents. Brian Murphy, founder and CEO of ReliaQuest, a Tampa cybersecurity firm, recently joined the board. Other local board members are Reeves; Jonathan Levy, managing partner of Redstone Investments, a commercial real estate developer; and Carl Chaney, Beach Bank’s executive chairman and the former president and CEO of Hancock Whitney Corp.

Beach Bank opened its Tampa office in August 2019. It was its first branch office outside the Panhandle and at Sept. 30 of this year, had $78 million in deposits and about $143 million in loans outstanding.

The Paycheck Protection Program gave the bank a big boost. Overall, the bank did $57 million in PPP loans, Gonzalez said. On the Friday night the program launched, Gonzalez and Steve Stagg, senior vice president and Tampa market president, commercial banking, along with a few other bankers, sat at a conference table in the Westshore executive office and started entering loan information.

“Many of the big banks dropped the ball so we were able to bring some deposits over. Since then those deposits have stuck, meaning people have used their PPP dollars but kept their business with us,” Gonzalez said.

The bank also has been successful with the Main Street Lending Program, to support lending to small and medium-sized for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gonzalez credited Beach Bank’s lenders deep community roots and experience in the marketplace, along with the right skills sets — a focus on lower-middle market and middle market, which is the bulk of the local business community, he said.

The bank’s investment in technology paid off when PPP rolled out, he said.

“When PPP hit, we were ready especially on the depository side. Any bank can provide a loan, depending on the amount of capital they have, but a lot of the middle market companies won’t move unless you have a good treasury services platform. We invested in that early on, and we’ve been able to pull those relationships out of the larger banks because we have those services ready to go,” Gonzalez said. “As Chip often says, we’re fighting above our weight class, which is where we want to be. We want to punch a little bigger than we are.”

Beach Bank’s aspirational goal is to be a multi-billion bank. To reach that aspirational goal, the bank is looking at mergers and acquisition activity. A planned deal with Florida First Cities Banks fell through in March. Now, there’s a focus on banks in Central Florida, Reeves said.

Beach Bank also is growing organically.

“Ultimately I think we’re extremely interested in the St. Petersburg and the Sarasota-Bradenton marketplaces. We have a branch-lite, commercial or business-heavy strategy. Covid-19 has been an accelerator of  consumer and customers behavior, and the branch system, or brick and mortar, are drastically changing. They were previously and Covid-19 is an extreme accelerator, so we’ll be able to service those markets with essentially one branch per market but with a heavy dose of commercial banking presence, meaning our team members, client managers, treasury management officers, in those markets,” Reeves said.

Closer look: Beach Bank (as of June 30, 2020)

Total assets: $568.8 million

Net loans and leases: $412.8 million

Total deposits: $417.5 million

Net income (loss) H1 2020: ($40,000)

Source: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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