Vice Chairman & CEO of Coral Gables-Based Amerant Bank
When Venezuela’s Mercantil Servicios Financieros acquired Commercebank (with one branch in Coral Gables) in 1987, it had assets of $53 million. Three decades later those assets had grown to more than $8 billion. A big part of that growth took place under the guidance of Millar Wilson, who became CEO of the bank and its investment and trust subsidiaries in 2009 after having worked for Mercantil in various capacities since 1977 (he moved to the Gables in 1982). As CEO, he expanded the bank’s presence not only in South Florida, but also in the Greater Houston and now Dallas areas of Texas, and as a commercial real estate lender in New York.
Millar oversaw the spinoff of Mercantil Bank as a U.S.-based community bank, completed last year with its listing on the NASDAQ , its Initial Public Offering, and its rebranding this year to Amerant.
What He Says
“Our biggest challenge now, being a public company, is all the reporting and the formalities required for an organization that has to report to the OCC, SEC and NASDAQ,” says Wilson. As for the future of Amerant – now the largest community bank based in Florida – he says, “For the short term, we are focusing on being a traditional community bank. We want to simplify everything to focus exclusively on the U.S. market – though we have a very large foreign deposit base of loyal, longterm customers. They are a key pillar of our success… Looking forward, our idea is to continue expanding.”
Photo by Lizzie Wilcox