Polk banking veteran opens county’s newest bank, Prime Meridian – News – The Ledger

LAKELAND – Michael Micallef Jr. has come residence, and he hopes former associates and clients will be a part of him.

Micallef is the Polk County market president for the county’s newest bank, Tallahassee-based mostly Prime Meridian Financial institution, which opened on April 16 at 3340 S. Florida Ave.

That’s the identical building Micallef had inbuilt 2006 for Group Southern Financial institution, the place he was the founding president and chief government officer.

Retired on the time, Micallef stated he knew he would return to banking and the building in August, when Prime Meridian CEO Sammie Dixon Jr. provided him the opportunity to open the financial institution’s first branch outdoors its Tallahassee metro space.

He was tired of retirement, he added.

“I really like banking. I really like individuals. It’s my passion,” Micallef stated. “It was a fantastic opportunity to pair up with a financial institution that was rising.”

In a Friday interview with The Ledger on the Lakeland branch, Dixon stated he has recognized Micallef for some 20 years and recognized instantly he was the proper match for Prime Meridian.

“Discovering the suitable individuals is crucial facet of banking,” Dixon stated.

The bank is trying to increase in an space roughly between Macon, Georgia, and Lake Okeechobee, he added, and Polk’s rising financial system made it a horny location.

“We need to fill in where we will discover good individuals who can go into the group and be good bankers,” Dixon stated.

Micallef ran Group Southern till it was purchased in 2015 by Sunshine Bank of Plant Metropolis in a money deal valued on the time at $30.8 million.

He labored as a advisor to Sunshine briefly in the course of the transition, Micallef stated. In January 2016, Sunshine employed him because the Polk market president.

In August 2017, CenterState Financial institution announced the purchase of Sunshine in a stock deal worth at $176.7 million. The purchase closed the following January, Micallef stated, and he stayed with CenterState until April 2018.

“I went house and did some considering,” he stated.

Micallef explored buying a small financial institution with other buyers, however a number of prospects by no means made it previous the speaking stage, he stated.

In August, Micallef stated, he referred to as Dixon about his earlier supply to open a new Prime Meridian branch.

Dixon got here to Lakeland and was impressed with the world’s progress potential, he stated, but “Michael is the rationale we’re here.”

The Lakeland branch’s prime precedence it constructing a business loan portfolio, which was the important thing in building Group Southern, Micallef stated.

“We labored sensible, and we had a robust loan portfolio,” he stated. “We knew the market. We knew the borrowers. We knew who to lend to. We knew who to not lend to.”

Serving to with that activity shall be Stephanie Colon, one other Group Southern veteran and now vice chairman and enterprise improvement officer for Prime Meridian’s Lakeland department.

Based in 2008, Prime Meridian had almost $402 million in complete belongings on Dec. 31, up sixteen% from 2017. Last yr, it had a mortgage portfolio of $293 million, additionally up 16% for 2017, and complete…

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