Where Has Gibraltar Gone?

Inside the Latest Reshuffling of the Banks in the Gables

By Dennis Nason

May 2018

Gibraltar has been captured again by the Spaniards, Iberia Bank. Despite the name, however, Iberia is from Louisiana. Branches of the Cajun bank have begun springing up in South Florida as bank mergers and acquisitions become part of our landscape. Iberia Bank is pushing into South Florida, having first taken over Sabadell with its expansive branch network, trade finance, and solid client base. Its latest acquisition, Gibraltar, is another gem. 

What Iberia acquired in Gibraltar is perhaps the best Miami-based bank in wealth management and client service. It is spot on with the way commercial and branch banking is going, as the thirst for deposits fuels the growth. Furthermore, the staff runs quite deep at Gibraltar, headed by Angel Medina, an experienced and highly regarded banker. They will keep most of the personnel and assuredly most of the clients. In addition to its headquarters in Coral Gables, and two more branches in Miami, Gibraltar Bank also has a bank in New York, Naples, and in the millionaire’s resort Ocean Reef.  This coverage will make Iberia Bank a formidable player in South Florida, and with assets approaching $40 billion it has suddenly become one of the largest banks in the area.   

The acquisition of Gibraltar by Iberia will reshuffle the players…

Dennis Nason

Gibraltar handled their business slightly differently than other local banks. Founded by local Southeast Bankers about twenty years ago, they started with a heavy emphasis on wealth management. They were the first bank to openly recognize the newly acquired wealth of athletes in our community, managing their money and helping them buy homes. Following the new rules initiated by 9/11, the collapse of the financial system in 2008, and a jump in regulations for offshore deposits, Gibraltar, like many other competitors, suffered as a result. But with hard work, dedication and good management, Gibraltar rebuilt itself. Until now, it was passed over as a purchase opportunity, which was unfortunate considering its excellent value. Gibraltar’s style of private banking, close coordination between the wealth management, real estate and lending give it a leg up on its competitors.  

Yes, the acquisition of Gibraltar by Iberia Bank will reshuffle the players, once it’s approved by the regulators. The current thinking is that Gibraltar’s office will stay in the current location and will become the private banking area of Iberia. The office will be headed by Orlando Roche, currently with Sabadell (now LaSalle) and formerly with Northern Trust. Angel Medina will be the leader of private banking, and all will report to Paco Perez-Hickman, who will oversee the area for LaSalle Bank. Mario Treva, former head of Southeast Bank for South Florida, will be president of Iberia Bank. And it will be good for Coral Gables since Gibraltar has not gone away and most of the branches and people will stay here and service the community. 

Gables-based Dennis Nason is a long-time banking and executive placement consultant