Apollo Bank of Miami to acquire First Bank of Miami, based in Coral Gables

 
 
Eddy Arriola
Eddy Arriola

icordle@MiamiHerald.com

Apollo Bancshares, parent of Miami’s Apollo Bank, said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire First Bank of Miami Shares, parent of First Bank of Miami, based in Coral Gables.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals and could be completed in the second quarter of 2014, will nearly double Apollo Bank’s size. The community bank, which is closely held by about 120 local investors, will be able to increase its assets to about $465 million, and expand its network to seven branches across Miami-Dade County.

“We felt we needed to make an aquisition to get bigger, to have economies of scale and have more branches, and increase our lending capabilities and attract more bankers,” said Apollo Bank Chairman Eddy Arriola.

Launched in 2010, Apollo Bank has grown by 20 percent each of the past three years, to reach $265 million in assets. The bank said it has grown organically by investing in technology, new branches, top personnel and the addition of banking products and services.

Founded in 1996, First Bank of Miami is majority owned by its chairman, Italian banker Rene de Picciotto. Last May, the bank agreed to a regulatory consent order, which cited such issues as asset quality, management effectiveness, earnings, capital, and sensitivity to market risk, in addition to compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act. Arriola said the bank has made significant strides addressing those issues.

Apollo Bank, with branches in the Brickell Financial District, Coral Gables and Doral, will gain a presence in Downtown Miami, Hialeah, Kendall and Westchester when it completes the acquisition. Each bank has about 60 employees, and First Bank’s branch in Coral Gables will be consolidated, Arriola said. Apollo Bank’s headquarters will remain in the Brickell Financial District.

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