Jorge I. Triay, a longtime South Florida banker, will assume the role as the new chairman of the Florida Bankers Association on Wednesday, an appointment he will hold for the next year, after having served as chairman-elect for the past 12 months.
Born in Havana, Triay has lived most of his life in South Florida. His career spans more than 30 years in banking, including high level jobs at several local banks, as well as a three-year stint as a state bank examiner.
In 2001, he joined First Bank of Miami as president and chief executive. He now serves as president and vice chairman of the Coral Gables-based bank, which has $208 million in assets and five branches in Miami-Dade County. The bank is majority owned by its chairman, Italian banker Rene de Picciotto, who has homes in France, Switzerland and Italy.
We met with Triay in his Coral Gables office, and then emailed him these questions. Here are his responses:
Q. Please tell me about the Florida Bankers Association’s mission and membership.
The FBA was established in 1888 and is currently celebrating its 125th anniversary. Our organization represents more than 250 financial institutions of various sizes (community, regional, and money center banks) located throughout the state.
The FBA mission is a simple one, advocacy, advocacy, and advocacy. We have strong ties with both the state legislature and our Congressional delegation up in Washington, D.C. We also offer a strong educational program to our bankers to ensure they stay up-to-date on the latest products and services to assist their customers as their trusted advisor.
Q. As the second Miamian and second Cuban American chairman in the organization’s 125 year-history, please tell me what attributes that background will allow you to bring to the table as a chairman.
The FBA prides itself on diversifying its leadership, with chairmen from all over the state that have represented a wide range of institutions. I’m very honored to have been chosen. Being from Miami and having a Cuban American heritage has provided me with many invaluable experiences and lessons that will help me bring a unique and timely view to the table.
Just look out the window, Miami has not only become an economic powerhouse within the state, but a global epicenter for international commerce and trade and an iconic city. The future of the United States, especially for the banking industry, is shaping right outside these doors, and I have been lucky enough to live here and be a part of that.
Q. The FBA has teamed with its counterpart in Texas to fight new requirements on reporting foreign deposits. Please tell me about that issue.
This topic is very important to our state, especially South Florida. The FBA has spent countless hours up in D.C. fighting the issue—emphasizing the dangerous position it would put many of our foreign customers in should it move forward. The entire Florida Congressional delegation, on a bipartisan basis, signed a letter to President Obama asking him to reconsider the rule, but the Administration and the IRS moved forward and enacted this rule. Joining forces with Texas, which is similarly situated when it comes to foreign deposits, to sue the Administration and the IRS was the next logical step. We will not stop until something is done about this.
Q. Another issue affecting Florida banks is the regulatory environment. Please tell me about that.