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Veteran St. Pete banker moves into a new role

Margie Manning

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Republic Bank at 6300 4th St. N. in St. Petersburg (Google maps)

David Feaster, Florida market president for Republic Bank, will step down from that job and move into a new role, as a consultant at the corporate level for Louisville, Kentucky-based Republic Bancorp Inc.

David Feaster, Florida market president, Republic Bank

Feaster also will join the board of directors of Republic Bancorp (Nasdaq: RBCAA), a $5.7 billion asset bank with 45 full-service banking centers and two loan production offices in five states.

Jim Kirkpatrick, who has been Republic Bank’s Hillsborough County market president since 2017, will succeed Feaster as Florida market president. Under Kirkpatrick’s leadership, Republic Bank has added branches and lenders in Hillsborough.

Both Kirkpatrick’s and Feaster’s job changes are effective Aug. 5.

Feaster, who lives and works in St. Petersburg, is a 43-year veteran of the local banking industry and an active civic leader, helping to recruit the Tampa Bay Rays to St. Petersburg and chairing the All Children’s Hospital board of directors, among other things.

Feaster and Kirkpatrick met when they worked on a deal together. “He’s been a great influence professionally and a gentleman,” Kirkpatrick said.


Related story: Listen to the SPX podcast with David Feaster, October 2017 here.


Feaster, who is 65 years old and began his banking career in 1976, has worked for both community banks and large national players. At the former Flagship Bank, Feaster started as a management trainee, working with Jerry Divers, now chairman emeritus of The Bank of Tampa. Feaster later joined Landmark Bank, which went through several acquisitions by larger institutions until it eventually became part of what is now Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

He opened the Tampa Bay market for The Northern Trust Co., with an office in downtown St. Petersburg in 1992, and started a bank, the former Signature Bank in St. Petersburg, which grew to $270 million in assets before it was bought by Whitney Holding Co.

“In 1999, I was approached to start a bank and we opened Signature Bank in downtown St. Pete, just as downtown was taking off. I sold that at the top of the market in March 2007,” Feaster said.

Feaster was area president for Whitney when Skip Carr, the chairman, president and CEO of Cornerstone Community Bank in St. Petersburg, died in September 2008. In January 2009, the Cornerstone board asked Feaster to become president and CEO.

He led Cornerstone through the great recession — keeping the bank going as dozens of other community banks in Florida failed. In 2016, Republic bought Cornerstone, and Feaster stayed on, initially as Pinellas market president, and later as Florida market president. His office is in Republic’s branch at 6300 4th St. N.

In his new role, Feaster expects to maintain office hours, but he won’t be involved in day-to-day bank operations, focusing instead on specific projects.

One of the challenges facing banking is transitioning to a digital environment.

“When I started in banking, we wrote things and used typewriters. Clearly the direction is electronic banking. There’s a diminished role for the branch and for face-to-face contact and the challenge is how to continue a high level of service with that transition coming,” Feaster said.

He expects to see continued banking consolidation, but not at the pace of the last several years, when more than 200 Florida-based banks were snapped up by larger buyers. The consolidation he sees ahead will primarily be large national banks buying mid-sized banks, those with between $5 billion and $20 billion in assets.

But the biggest financial industry shift is the growing presence of non-traditional banks.

Jim Kirkpatrick

“The amount of money that lies outside the banking system needs to be addressed,” Feaster said. “Seventy percent of Starbucks transactions are on [payments] cards. Amazon is 100 percent cards. The amount of money flowing there is where the industry is going. Online loan applications, account openings, etc. are the trend. It’s not bad, it’s just the industry has to transition and be ready for that.”

Republic Bank opened a digital-only bank, MemoryBank, in 2016. The Republic Bank branch that opened in Tampa’s Westshore district last year was the second Republic office to feature an interactive teller machine, with live customer service representatives connecting to customers through real-time video.

In October, Republic will open a new branch in Temple Terrace, a stand-alone facility that will replace an older office in a strip shopping center, Kirkpatrick said.

“The organization has committed to continuing to expand our footprint and we’re doing that by hiring strong lending and sales representatives in the market,” Kirkpatrick said. “Our success in Hillsborough was to hire strong local lenders with strong contacts and we’ll continue to do that.”

 

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