Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa-based bank is at home with its new name

Jerry Campbell of CNBS Financial Group, holding company for HomeBanc, poses for a promotional photo by Timothy Healy.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times

Jerry Campbell of CNBS Financial Group, holding company for HomeBanc, poses for a promotional photo by Timothy Healy.

TAMPA — What do you do when all the good bank names are taken?

Recycle one, of course.

Today, the fledgling Community National Bank of the South is trading in its forgettable moniker for HomeBanc, formerly the name of one of the Southeast's largest mortgage lenders.

"We thought it was a great name," said Jerry Campbell, president, chairman and CEO of the bank's Tampa-based holding company, CNBS Financial Group. "The size of the name fits on a building well and it's indicative of the business we are in." That would be residential mortgage lending with a dash of commercial mortgages and small business loans.

Campbell said every other name bank officials took a fancy to was not available. In fact, he said, their research showed more than 700 potential bank names were off limits in Florida because current or former users had exclusive rights.

There was, however, one potentially big problem with HomeBanc: The reason the name was available was because the Atlanta company that owned it filed for bankruptcy last August. When mortgage financing dried up, HomeBanc Corp. quickly collapsed. Once listed on the New York Stock Exchange, HomeBanc did as much as $5-billion worth of mortgages in a year during the real estate boom, primarily in Georgia and Florida. CNBS bought the rights to the name from the Delaware bankruptcy trustee for an undisclosed price.

Whether recycling the name of a bankrupt company is a problem depends on how the target market perceives the name, said Ken Banks, a marketing and branding consultant with KAB Marketing in Seminole. He said research is vital.

"If a fairly significant percentage have negative perceptions of it or even misconceptions, you might want to think about something else," he said. "With HomeBanc, I don't remember it being a notorious collapse; it's not like it was Enron or something that had a lot of bad press."

Campbell said CNBS used a focus group in Tampa to find out what people thought about the name. "We never found anybody who knew what happened," he said. "They remembered the name. They remembered the sign. Some even remembered doing business with them. They just didn't know where it went."

Campbell also liked the idea that HomeBanc had built a good image before its collapse, winning recognition both nationally and in Tampa as a great place to work. And while "HomeBanc" may be unique, many bank names include the word "home."

Coincidentally, CNBS recently signed a lease on office space the old HomeBanc occupied in the Rocky Point area of Tampa and has hired some of its former employees.

The new HomeBanc has five offices now and hopes to have 13 by year-end, then expand aggressively in central and southwest Florida. The long-range plan is to move into Georgia and the Carolinas. Most locations are loan production offices, typically staffed with three to six officers, but sometimes as many as 10. Others will have full banking services. Campbell said the bank is on pace to do close to $500-million worth of loans this year.

Golfer Brittany Lincicome, who lives in Seminole, has signed on to promote the bank. She'll be wearing the HomeBanc logo on golf shirts and sweaters while competing on the LPGA tour.

Campbell, 67, was the founder and chief executive of Republic Bank of Michigan, which was sold to Citizens Bancorp for $1.6-billion in 2006. As part of the deal, he agreed not to compete against the bank in Michigan. That prompted him to turn to Florida to stay in the industry.

Campbell and a group of investors raised $49-million to acquire a start-up central Florida bank and launch the holding company. Large investors in addition to Campbell include Michigan friends John Krasula, Robert Liggett Jr., William Rands III and Art VanElslander.

Campbell and his wife, Lisa, have long-standing ties to the Tampa Bay area. They own a condo on Sand Key and two dozen racehorses at Tampa Bay Downs.

"We like Florida a lot," he said. "We've had horses at Tampa Bay Downs for 30 years ."

Helen Huntley can be reached at hhuntley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8230.

About the new HomeBanc

. Holding company

CNBS Financial Group Inc., Tampa

. Locations

Tampa, Lake Mary, St. Cloud, Brandon, Largo and Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota (opens May 15)

. Employees

80; in the process of hiring 100 more

About CEO Jerry Campbell

. Education

B.S., Central Michigan University; MBA degrees Wayne State University and University of Michigan. Former trustee of Central Michigan.

. Banking

Most recently founder, chairman and chief executive for 15 years of Republic Bancorp of Michigan, sold in 2006 to Citizens Bancorp. He stayed on as chairman until January.

Tampa-based bank is at home with its new name 04/02/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 3, 2008 1:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks

    Business

    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday

    Business

    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes

    Transportation

    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at the DOT’s Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue.