Canada's TD Bank opening regional headquarters in Coral Gables
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
One of Canada's leading banks is seeking growth and expansion in South Florida after acquiring Commerce Bank, a 2007 entry into the region's banking sector.
TD Bank is opening its first regional headquarters in Miami-Dade County at Coral Gables' BAC Colonnade building. Executives there will be carrying out a strategy that calls for opening nearly 200 branches locally, bank officials say.
Canada-based Toronto-Dominion Bank, considered the sixth largest bank in North America with 17 million customers, is a subsidiary of TD Bank Financial Group.
TD Bank Financial Group acquired Commerce Bancorp in March. Soon after, the official merger led to subsidiary TD Banknorth and Commerce Bank becoming one.
In November, the combined stores of Commerce Bank and TD Banknorth in the mid-Atlantic, Washington DC and Florida markets were renamed TD Bank with a slogan of "America's Most Convenient Bank."
The new TD Bank headquarters at 2333 Ponce de Leon Blvd. houses about a dozen bank officials including commercial and consumer lenders, said Kevin Gillen, TD Bank's metro president in charge of the bank's operations for the central and southeast United States.
He said the bank made the move in December after deciding Coral Gables offered a centrally located area to connect to South Florida's financial market.
The bank's aggressive business expansion plan calls for growing from its 25 current locations into close to 200 branches locally, he said.
"We do that so our bankers are in the market and accessible to customers and prospective customers," he said.
After the merger and rebranding, TD Bank's locations from Florida to Maine total about 1,100 stores with more than $114 billion in assets.
TD Bank's Mr. Gillen said the next two years promise further expansion for the New Jersey- and Maine-based TD Bank, with plans to open new branches in Cutler Bay, Miami Lakes and Collins Avenue in South Beach.
He said the bank has an interest in making ground in other cities in Miami-Dade, adding the company is looking at Coconut Grove, downtown Miami, Brickell, and Westchester and Cooper City in Broward.
"I think it's a great business and banking market that's why our business plan is to expand in 150 to 200 locations in the South Florida market," Mr. Gillen said.
Mr. Gillen said the bank has "bypassed the subprime debt debacle" and remained with high liquidity during the banking crisis.
He said during this credit crunch in the banking industry it's important "to have a company that can give stability and has the capital base to invest in a community."
Mr. Gillen said TD Bank hopes to stand out from longstanding competitors with the bank's service-convenience model that includes operating 361 days a year, Mondays though Saturdays until 8 p.m. and on Sundays, providing free Internet and coin counting services.
"These are all services and amenities that the majority of the competition assesses fees to customers."
For its HQ, TD Bank is leasing 5,500 square feet on the third floor of the 130,000-square-foot BAC Colonnade, a Class A office building with leasing rates at $40-plus per square foot triple net and three on-site restaurants, said Marc Pearl, leasing vice president of BAC Colonnade's management company Holly Sime Realty.
He said the mixed-use development, also home to the 157-suite Westin Hotel, is 96% leased with about 12,000 square feet available for office leasing.