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Business briefs: St. Pete’s most profitable banks, entrepreneurship and more

Margie Manning



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Freedom Bank, the only community bank headquartered in St. Petersburg, nearly tripled its net income in the third quarter of 2018.

Freedom Bank

The bank posted $1.16 million in profit in Q3 2018, compared to $416,000 in the third quarter of 2017. Assets were up 23 percent year over year, to $274.2 million as of Sept. 30.

“Third quarter performance, compared to that of a year ago,  is attributed to loan growth, including traction gained from the focus on our government guaranteed lending programs, as well as the asset quality of our overall portfolio,” said Cathy Swanson, CEO.

Most of the other locally headquartered banks with a presence in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County also turned in generally strong performances for the just-ended quarter. Banks with healthy profits can more easily provide capital and make loans to business clients, who in turn use that funding to grow their companies, make real estate or equipment purchases, or hire workers.

First Home Bank, a Seminole-based subsidiary of First Home Bancorp in St. Petersburg, had a 55.7 percent increase in assets year-over-year, to $354.4 million as of Sept. 30. Net income for First Home Bank was $920,000 for the three months ended Sept. 30, down 41.7 percent from the same quarter in 2017.

The Bank of Tampa, with nearly $1.7 billion in assets, posted $5.6 million in Q3 2018 net income, up 50 percent from the third quarter of 2017. Assets were up 7.4 percent.

Pilot Bank’s St. Petersburg office is at 2180 4th St. N..

Pilot Bank’s Q3 2018 net income was $474,000, an increase of 110 percent from a year earlier. Pilot Bank just opened its first St. Petersburg office, while Bank of Tampa has offices in downtown St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Largo.

Flagship Community Bank in Clearwater, which just ended a deal that would have made it a publicly traded institution, was the only locally based bank whose assets shrunk from a year earlier. Flagship had $118.4 million in assets on Sept. 30, compared to $124.4 million a year earlier. Flagship’s net income for Q3 2018 was $303,000, more than double net income from the same quarter in 2017.



There’s been a few shifts in the calendar since the St. Pete Catalyst wrote about Global Entrepreneurship Week last week, including the addition of a happy hour and discussion on innovation in Florida.

Local startup community leaders, including Linda Olson of Tampa Bay Wave and Marc Blumenthal of Synapse and Florida Funders, will talk about how Tampa Bay can advance through entrepreneurship. The event starts at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at Factory 114.

GEW kicks off tomorrow, with BarCamp Tampa Bay, an “unconference” with crowd-sourced content.

Check out all the events on the updated calendar.

Workers comp

Workers compensation insurance rates will drop by 13.8 percent in 2019, under a final order issued today by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The decreased rate will apply to both new and renewal workers’ comp insurance policies effective in Florida as of Jan. 1, 2019.

It amounts to half a billion dollars in savings for Florida’s business community, Jimmy Patronis, the state’s chief financial officer, said in a news release.

Veterans center

Fort Valor, a non-profit community center for military veterans, opens this weekend in Tarpon Springs.

The 6,000-square-foot community center, at 601 Hope St., is a free-to-use community hub and resource center for reserve, retired and active duty military members and their families. The center has a focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and will offer training in that, as well as recreational activities and career training.

SynDaver Labs, a Tampa medical technology manufacturing company focused on the creation of synthetic humans for medical device development and surgical training, is the corporate sponsor.

The grand opening is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 10 and will include a job and education fair, a barbeque and a raffle.

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