Mercantil Commercebank hosts ‘Growing Your South Florida Business’ with economist J. Antonio Villamil

By Bari Auerbach….

Martha Carvanna, Mercantil Commercebank; J. Antonio Villamil, Principal, Washington Economics Group; Julia Brauner, Mercanil Commercebank; Andrew Waxman, Mercantil Commercebank

Mercantil Commercebank hosted an Aventura Marketing Council Chairman’s Roundtable luncheon featuring nationally-acclaimed economist, J. Antonio Villamil, who shared success strategies for “growing your South Florida business in the ‘new normal’ economy.”

AMC Chair Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman joined by Andrew Waxman, Mercantil Commercebank Aventura Banking Center manager, welcomed business and community leaders to Christine Lee’s at Gulfstream Park. “The drive to take you further” event highlighted the bank’s mission to offer business products that can help businesses succeed.

The Aventura Banking Center now offers extremely competitive rates on versatile loans and lines of credit as well as a full array of services including retail, commercial, domestic and international banking products designed to meet the community’s financial needs.

“Small businesses in South Florida need access to credit to grow and prosper,” Waxman said. “In recent years, many banks curtailed lending. At Mercantil Commercebank we’ve always looked at businesses on a case-by-case basis, and are eager to provide credit to small businesses looking to expand their reach. We’re not only lending, our rates are as competitive as can be found.”

Mercantil Commercebank has been serving the tri-county area for over 30 years and is one of the most well respected financial institutions in South Florida, while Professor Villamil has over 30 years of experience as a business economist, university educator and high-level federal and state policymaker, so his advice is invaluable.

He is currently Dean of the School of Business at St. Thomas University, a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations in Washington DC; and has served as a Presidential appointee U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, as well as Chief Economist of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

Villamil also founded the successful economic consulting practice, The Washington Economics Group, Inc. He serves as Chair of The Beacon Council’s Economic Roundtable; and is on the Board of Directors of Mercantil Commercebank, the Spanish Broadcasting System, and Enterprise Florida – the state’s principal economic development organization.

Addressing the topic, “Growing your South Florida business in the ‘new normal’ economy,”Villamil noted, “Understanding the economic environment is important for your business planning and decisions. It’s going to take us a few years to get back into the kind of period of economic growth we feel the U.S. and global economy can certainly aspire to.

“There are opportunities for South Florida businesses to grow by emphasizing ‘core competencies’ as well as capitalizing on the emerging markets of Asia and Latin America,” says Villamil. South Florida certainly has a stronger economic outlook because of our growth orientation in diverse industries.

“The bottom line for business owners…focus on productivity, cost controls, credit quality and marketing competitive advantages… turn off the TV in the morning – and just go to work!”he concludes.

For more information about Mercantil Commercebank’s Aventura Banking Center, call 305-521-4912 or visit

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