Shortly before the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, entrepreneur Baron de Hirsch Meyer met Leonard Abess, an accountant from Rhode Island, who arrived in Miami in hopes of building a longstanding legacy. Both shared a common vision of what Miami could be, and quickly developed a flourishing partnership.
During a time when small businesses would struggle to access credit, their partnership focused on providing loans to help small businesses thrive alongside the growing city and deliver a true relationship-based banking model.
It wasn’t until 1946 – two decades after their first handshake – that Abess and Hirsch Meyer opened the predecessor to City National Bank – North Shore Bank. The bank was in the heart of North Miami Beach, on Harding Avenue and 71st Street.
At the time, federal regulations did not allow banks to have banking centers. In turn, the partners established various small, community banks under the City National Bank name. When regulations allowed, all City National Bank locations merged into one City National Bank of Florida name.
Since then, City National Bank of Florida has expanded into Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as the Central Florida region. With a reputation for practical, prudent banking and a best-in-class client experience, City National Bank of Florida continues to grow alongside Florida, but its roots remain the same.
Years later, the son of Mr. Abess – Leonard Abess Jr. – took the helm of the bank. Under his leadership, City National Bank of Florida expanded to more than 20 locations throughout Florida, becoming one of the largest community banks in the nation.
Driven by founding principles of personal service and relationship banking, City National Bank of Florida grew throughout the state, yet little changed in the way City National Bank of Florida conducted business. Throughout the years, City National Bank of Florida has remained a strong and stable institution clients and community can rely on.
Today, Jorge Gonzalez, CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board, continues to build on the legacy of leadership, relationships, and strength.
Since joining the bank in 2009, Jorge has diversified and expanded the 75-year-old institution to include: Business and Personal Banking, Commercial Banking, Corporate Banking, Private Banking, Wealth Management, Commercial Real Estate, and added a specialty finance subsidiary BciCapital. Rooted in the client-centric and community driven business model, City National Bank of Florida continues to deliver a best-in-class client experience. Under Jorge's leadership, City National Bank of Florida has grown from $3.5 billion in tangible assets to more than $20 billion in 2021, and from 20 banking locations to 32.
Jorge's experience, focus and passion continue to center on ensuring clients are a top priority and building on the infrastructure – such as investing in people and technology – that infrastructure prepares the bank for continued success.
In 2008, Caja Madrid – one of Spain’s oldest banks – was searching for a partner with similar banking practices and values that would help introduce their presence to the U.S. Caja Madrid approached City National Bank of Florida and acquired the bank in 2008. Little changed at City National Bank of Florida after the acquisition. Caja Madrid strengthened and complemented City National Bank of Florida with greater reach, and additional resources. In 2010, Caja Madrid merged with several other Spanish savings banks to form Bankia.
Due to hardships experienced in Spain, Bankia sold its assets in 2012, which included City National Bank of Florida.
After a long and thorough vetting process, City National Bank of Florida was acquired by Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (Bci) in late 2015. The acquisition was the first time a Chilean bank purchased a U.S. domestic financial institution and represented the largest single investment ever by a Chilean company in the United States.
The partnership with Bci makes City National Bank of Florida a global community bank backed by one of the strongest banks in Latin America. Bci and City National Bank of Florida have similar corporate cultures and a profound understanding that the client experience is key to success.
City National Bank of Florida remains a South Florida-based bank with a focus on personal relationships and local decision-making.
Shortly after the acquisition, City National Bank of Florida launched a new brand image, incorporating a Joan Miro-inspired hourglass with the name of the bank in bold black lettering. The hourglass is representative of the precision with which City National Bank of Florida strives to serve its clients, the value it places on their time, and the personal relationships it seeks to establish.
In 2017, City National Bank of Florida launched a specialty finance subsidiary which offers expertise for equipment finance and leasing. Now named BciCapital Management Group, it is a national platform offering specialty finance to the aviation, construction, industrial, franchise, public sector, rail and vessel, and healthcare industries.
At the same time, City National Bank of Florida opened offices in Tampa and Sarasota, Florida.
In 2018, City National Bank of Florida acquired Miami-based TotalBank. The acquisition strengthened City National Bank of Florida’s position as Florida’s “Big Bank Alternative,” offering the same products and services as large national banks, but with personalized experience and local decision-making.
In 2019, City National Bank of Florida announced plans to acquire Executive National Bank (ENB), a Miami-based bank with more than 40 years in South Florida. Although the COVID pandemic delayed the acquisition, City National Bank of Florida completed the purchase of ENB in late 2020.
City National Bank of Florida continues to be the consistent partner clients have come to rely on and deliver the best-in-class experience clients have come to expect.
The partnership with Bci puts City National Bank of Florida in a unique and enviable position, making it a community bank with global reach. The bank has leveraged this partnership to take the client experience to higher levels and provide a wider array of products and services for businesses and individuals.
The Office of the Comptroller (OCC) awarded City National Bank of Florida with an “outstanding” rating – the highest possible – for City National Bank of Florida's Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance. City National Bank of Florida has received this rating for more than 20 consecutive years.
The bank’s commitment to the community remains as strong as ever, as it firmly believes City National Bank of Florida is only as strong as the communities it serves.
The FDIC Money Smart Program is designed to boost your financial skills. You can explore Money Smart resources, as they are available 24/7.
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Please note: City National Bank of Florida does not offer tax, legal or accounting advice
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