When David Feaster, the newly retired Florida market president of Republic Bank, joined the bank’s board of directors earlier this month, it was a unique opportunity for St. Petersburg.
Although dozens of local banks in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and in Florida have been swallowed up in a wave of consolidations in the past decade, very few of the acquiring banks have appointed Florida residents to their boards of directors.
One notable exception is Hancock Whitney Corp. (Nasdaq: HWC), a Gulfport, Mississippi-based bank that named Sonya Little of Tampa to its board of directors in 2016. Little, former chief financial officer for the city of Tampa, recently was named chief administrative officer for Water Street Tampa developer Strategic Property Partners.
Board service can bring a local perspective on business development and community involvement to a company based out of the area such as Republic Bancorp (Nasdaq: RBCAA), a $5.7 billion bank headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky with 45 banking centers across five states. That includes the bank’s seven offices in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties that Republic picked up after it bought the former St. Petersburg-based Cornerstone Community Bank in 2016.
Feaster announced last month he would step down as Florida market president, although he will remain a consultant to Republic in addition to serving on the board.
Republic honored his 43 years in banking at a reception Thursday night at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.
The newly named Florida market president, Jim Kirkpatrick, called Feaster “a gentleman and a professional.”
Andy Powell, chief lending officer and executive vice president for Republic Bank, said Feaster is “a classy individual” and “beloved in the community.”
Feaster helped to recruit the Tampa Bay Rays to St. Petersburg and chaired the All Children’s Hospital board of directors, among other community activities, as he discussed on an episode of St. Pete X.
More than 100 leaders in the civic and business community attended the Republic Bank reception.
“I look at all of you here tonight and so many of you initially were clients. Then you became very good friends. And I’m proud to say — [long pause] — most of you paid me back,” Feaster said, drawing laughter.
Feaster also said he would do his best to represent Florida clients and employees on the Republic Bank board.