S. Florida banks loans surge on BankUnited

Commercial real estate lender has grown $2B in 12 months
September 17, 2013 01:00PM

John Kanas

Loans at South Florida-based banks surged by $3.82 billion, a 10.6 percent gain in 12 months, largely on a $2.04 billion increase at commercial real estate lender BankUnited.

The market for banks loans in South Florida has flourished compared to the growth rate nationwide – 2.9 percent, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. BankUnited was third for percentage growth, at 43.3 percent.

Chief executive John Kanas and his team arrived in Miami in 2009 to take over BankUnited, then sinking in subprime mortgages, on behalf of billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Ross, Blackstone and Carlyle Group put up $900 million in new capital, according to the FDIC.

The FDIC absorbed $5.9 billion of BankUnited’s losses, helping steer it towards profitability as a commercial lender to real estate developers.

Most of the growth acme as the bank recruited bankers from other Florida banks who brought clients with them. Kanas said growth was forecast for the next few quarters. [South Florida Business Journal] Emily Schmall