During a period of 15 years, First Bank of Miami has grown to five branches. Just recently, the bank celebrated a grand opening/ribbon cutting to mark the opening of its newest branch on Kendall Drive, a long-awaited addition to the list of branches.
“We always wanted to come to the area,” said Jorge I. Triay, president and chief executive officer. “The whole idea is find the right location, finding the right market. This is the place for us.”
In fact, a few years ago, bank officials placed a bid on a property that they thought would be good but that deal fell apart. They were very happy when the property at 9851 N. Kendall Dr. became available. The original building was razed and the new bank was built to suit First Bank of Miami.
While the new building, a symbol of how well the bank is doing even in these economic times, Triay said his employees know the secret to success. And it’s not what most people think about banking.
“This is a people business,” he said. “It’s totally a business of people.”
In fact, banking is a long-term people and relationship business, Triay said.
“We’ve been at it for 15 years,” he said. “We know relationship banking, not only is it the way to go it’s a win-win for both the customer and us.”
At a time when technology is allowing some banks to exist only online and others to discourage customers from visiting and dealing with live tellers in favor of doing transactions via computer, First Bank has made it even easier for patrons to sit down and talk to someone.
“We don’t have a dedicated teller line,” said Nelson Alemany, First Bank’s executive vice president. “You do all transactions from a desk.”
Those who do want to bank online have that option as well as online bill paying. And First Bank is up to date on technology with the most modern check deposit features possible.
At the same time, First Bank keeps to the old-fashioned principle of customer service. If a customer calls with a question, they reach bank employees not a remote call center. And those employees remain constant, so each time a customer walks in, they can expect to see familiar faces.
Banks have taken quite a hit during the past few years, with many larger, well-known banks making uncertain loans that are now in foreclosure. At First Bank, they are cautious but they are still making loans.
“You cannot lend money to people who are going to have a rough time repaying it,” Triay said.
At the same time, they also are not buying into the practice of making loans so difficult to obtain that no money is being lent.
“We want to provide solutions,” Triay said.
Customers are concerned about the low interest rates on CD’s and savings accounts.
“Our mission is to find solutions,” he said. “We have things to offer to them. If you hold it for a while, it will make money.”
First Bank is located at 9851 N. Kendall Dr. For more information, call 786-347-2801 or visit online at www.FirstBankMiami.com.