We sat down with Jose Ambert, Vice President & Branch Manager for the Orlando Branch of Ocean Bank to ask a few important questions:
Ocean Bank Expands to Central Florida
Ocean Bank, Florida’s largest independent, state-chartered commercial bank, expanded its footprint to Central Florida this year, opening a full-service branch in downtown Orlando. The $6.1 billion bank now has 23 branches, including 20 in Miami-Dade County and two in Broward County. The bank is set to open a 24th branch in another new market, Boca Raton. Ocean Bank hired veteran commercial lender Jose Ambert as a Vice President and Branch Manager of its Central Florida operations at 111 North Magnolia Ave. Ambert has more than 20 years banking experience in Florida and Puerto Rico, serving as a branch manager and vice president of business banking and financial centers.
What brought you to Ocean Bank?
Ocean Bank is built on personal relationships, and that was very attractive to me. Every customer, both on the commercial and retail sides, has a relationship manager. We get to know our prospective customers and understand their businesses, and they get to know and understand us. It’s not just about the bank’s products, it’s what Ocean Bank offers and how those products meet their financial needs paired with service.
What drove the decision to expand into central Florida?
Our chairman and CEO, Agostinho Alfonso Macedo, recognized the potential the area holds, with expanding population, emerging businesses, and a strong hospitality industry. Ocean Bank is a full-service institution with a strong history of outstanding service and expertise in commercial real estate and business banking. Central Florida offers great opportunities in this area with developers, engineers, architects, construction companies and owner-occupied commercial buildings.
What is your biggest concern as a banker?
Not a concern, but a factor in the daily life of a banker is credit worthiness. The rise in interest rates is something that affects just about all businesses. When rates are low there is a greater emphasis on loan-to-value ratios and the value of the assets underlying a loan. With higher rates, you have to factor in cash flows and the ability to repay the loan to a greater degree. But the Central Florida market is strong, and we see ample opportunity for business that want to grow with Ocean Bank as its financial partner.
Tell us why you joined the Small Business Council and what you would say to other business leaders about the benefit and value of this council.
As a commercial bank, Ocean Bank lends to businesses of all types – developers, professionals, manufacturers, importers, hospitality, and many others. Most of these businesses in Florida are small to medium-sized institutions, like the members of the Chamber’s Small Business Council. We have an affinity for these businesses and look forward to expanding our client base in Central Florida.