Banking Forward – SouthState Bank

The South State Bank in Tavernier is unlike any other. Their managing team has a combined experience of over 125 years in banking. Most of those years have been serving the Keys, which is why many of you know them by name. 

More than as bankers, you know the South State Bank team as your neighbors, community volunteers, and even your friends. They know you as more than customers, too.

“We’ve all been here so long that we know everybody,” Bette Brown says. “We run into our customers at the grocery store, at school activities, and on the water.  Our customers know us, and we know them, which is why we care so deeply.”

Bette Brown is the Area Executive for South State Bank, but you may also know her as a mentor in Take Stock in Children. She helps low-income students prepare and get accepted into college. Bette’s colleague, Lisa Feliciano, mentors as well. In fact, Lisa Feliciano is the longest-standing mentor in the Keys’ Take Stock in Children program.“It’s so wonderful to work with people who care about the community as much as you do,” Lisa, a lead mortgage broker in the lending office, says. “Whenever there is a need or fundraiser for our various causes, we come together as a team to support each other.”

William Doxey, or “Bill” as you probably know him, is the Commercial Relationship Manager. He works hard to ensure all business relationships are maintained beautifully, but that’s not all. He also works hard to maintain the Florida Keys Scenic Highway’s beauty with its Corridor Alliance.At the head of this philanthropic-minded team is Branch Manager Adriana Cuomo with 19 years of experience. She has strong ties to the community as a Rotarian, Leadership Monroe County and Islamorada Chamber Board of Director, and past mentor of Take Stock.  

“Our team brings their compassion for the community into the office,” Adriana explains. “We sincerely want to help our customers organize their finances, get the best lending rates, and actually enjoy the process. We pride ourselves on consultive banking.” Adriana goes on to explain that with online banking on the rise, consultive banking is more important than ever. While most tasks can be accomplished online with South State Bank, the bank has not lost sight of the importance of human-to-human interaction. Their customers can view them as consultants as much as bankers.

“Our customers are lucky because they get the power of a big bank with small-town customer service,” Adriana explains. “We have all of the services and lending power our customers need and the personal and consultive customer service they want.”

South State Bank offers standard and free checking, savings, personal, and business accounts, but their services extend beyond the norm, especially when it comes to lending. South State has more flexibility and offers many different lending programs that other banks do not, including a range of mortgage, commercial, working capital lines, and more. 

“The Keys is a unique place to live, and along with that comes unique requirements for lending,” Bill explains. “Our local team has decades of experience lending in the Keys, which is why our customers get the best service and get approved for loans they couldn’t otherwise get elsewhere.” 

Lisa shares they invest more time with customers than other banks to ensure everyone leaves with confidence and a clear understanding. 

“When you meet with one of us, you meet with all of us,” Adriana says. “Because we truly work as a team. If one of us doesn’t know something, we work with the person who does. Plus, we have an even bigger team behind us with other South State banks.” 

Bette sums up why their team at South Bank is so effective: “It may sound corny, but we’re bankers because we like helping people. We like making a difference in our neighbors’ lives.”

– Jerrica Mah is a writer, army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.


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