Local Institutions Here to Help You

Photography by Jason Stephens

Seven trusted financial institutions are striving to provide customers with top-of-the-line services for business and in life.

Lakeland’s banks and credit unions are integral parts of our local economy. By providing savers a return or dividends on deposits, extending credit to homeowners for improvements, mortgages to home buyers, and commercial loans for entrepreneurs, they efficiently facilitate economic growth in ways it would be difficult to achieve otherwise. Having a relationship with your hometown banker can be helpful especially when hard times hit. Knowing and trusting one another — with a shared stake in the community — can make a world of difference. Let us introduce you to some of Lakeland’s excellent community banking institutions and their leadership.

Suncoast Credit Union

Alisha Martin · Business Relationship Manager

• 15 years of banking experience
• Lakeland Chamber Board Member
• Lakeland Chamber Business Resource Committee Member
• Active in BNI United Referral Partners
• Active in Central Florida Development Council
• Lakeland Economic Development Council
• 2020 Athena Awards Committee Member
• Active in Bridge Local

Suncoast Credit Union began in 1934 when a handful of local educators founded Hillsborough County Teachers Credit Union. Throughout the years, Suncoast has expanded its membership to include anyone who lives, works or goes to school in 39 counties in Florida. Today, Suncoast is a full service financial institution with two of its 73 locations right here in Lakeland. As the largest credit union in Florida and 10th largest in the country Suncoast has $12 billion in assets and serves more than 900,000 members.

 Savings · Checking · Auto loans · Mortgages · Credit cards · Investment services · Commercial Real Estate · Investment and equipment loans · Seasonal capital/short-term credit · SBA lending options

What is Suncoast Credit Union’s philosophy?

Suncoast strives to inspire people to live their best lives. We accomplish this through service in our communities which creates a deeply rooted connection to our members. Lakeland’s branches partner and sponsor Swantoberfest, Florida Tropics Soccer Team, Polk Museum of Art, Good Day Lakeland, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mulberry Chamber of Commerce, Florida Sheriff Youth Ranch, Heather’s Hope Foundation, Mulberry Community Service Center, Goodwill, I-4 Commercial Corridor Conference — Saunders Ralston Dantzler Group, Lakeland Regional Health, Polk County School Board, and the Dream Center.

This philosophy is also wonderfully exemplified by Suncoast’s own Business Relationship Manager, Alisha Martin. Thirteen years ago, she broke her neck and back in an auto accident and was in a wheelchair for five years. Doctors told her that she would never walk again. Through perseverance and hard work, Alisha became a competitive athlete and dragon boat racer. She has become known as the bionic banker in the community because through the difficulty of many surgeries, she refused to give up and used her tragedy as an opportunity to change her life and become an inspiration for others.

[alert type=blue ]SUNCOASTCREDITUNION.COM • 800.999.5887 • 2 LAKELAND LOCATIONS[/alert]

Centerstate Bank

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[column]Michael Clanton SVP · Area Executive

• 19 years of banking experience
• Board Chair of Heartland for Children
• McKeel Academy Board of Trustees

[column]Juli Surface AVP · Residential Loan Officer

• 21 years of banking experience
• Current or past board member of many local non-profits[/column]

Mortgage Lending · Commercial Banking & Lending · Treasury Management ServicesSBA Lending · Personal Banking & Lending · Online & Mobile Banking · Wealth Management · International Services · Card Services · Merchant Processing along with Payroll & HR Services


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Do I really need 20% down to buy a house?

No, this is one of the most common misconceptions about buying a home. You can buy a home with as little as 0% down depending on the program. Give me a call, and let’s get started making homeownership a reality!

Juli Surface


Are banks willing to lend on my new business during the pandemic?

New businesses in normal economic times have inherent risks; however, through resources available to the bank there are credit enhancements available that improve borrower opportunity, including our SBA department. There are also resources available such as Catapult, SCORE, and USF Small Business Development Center to help guide new entrepreneurs.

Michael Clanton


Founded: 1992 // 2020 Top 50 of Forbes 100 Best Banks in America // 121 branches throughout Florida

Bank of Central Florida

Paul Noris · Chairman and CEO

• 30 years of banking experience
• Former chair of Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce
• Former Chair of Business Voice
• Chair of Leadership Lakeland Class XXXIII and Class XVI graduate
• Former Chair of Lakeland Regional Hospital Foundation
• Past President of Explorations V Children’s Museum
• Advisory Board Member of the Barney Barnett School of Business at Florida Southern College

Mr. Noris started Bank of Central Florida in 2007. During a time when the economy was unstable and at some of its lowest points, the new adventure of Bank of Central Florida had an overwhelming support of investors and advocates. Bank of Central Florida was first established with a local board of directors and has been fortunate to grow year over year.

Our team strives to deliver a premium banking experience that is centered on providing high-value service and products that serve the personal and business financial needs of each client. We invest in talent and technology so that our clients have the best support from our teams who offer solutions for a wholesome banking experience.

What makes you unique?

Banker Personalization and Service plus Technology Investment. Our focus is our clients. We are always asking ourselves, “How do we serve our clients best and provide the most value?” Having direct access to your banker when you need them the most is important to consumers. We’ve seen this just recently through the process and processing PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Loans.

Our relationships are top-of-mind showing that we care about providing exceptional client service and that our
clients know we are not only here for them when they need us, but as a resource every day.

Additionally, we understand that technology plays an important role in the convenience of managing money. It is valuable for our clients in saving time and efficiently managing money so they can run their business or spend more time with family. Bank of Central Florida is unique in that we invest in the same technology of big banks while still providing client-focused service of a local banker.

[alert type=blue ]BANKOFCENTRALFLORIDA.COM • 863.701.2685 • 3 POLK COUNTY LOCATIONS[/alert]

Midflorida Credit Union

Steve Moseley · President

• Over 24 years banking experience
• Co-Chair of Peace River Full Moon Howl annual signature event
• Board member of 71:17 ministry (formerly local chapter of SEARCH ministries)
• LEDC High Skill group
• Married to Lisa with two adult children – Sam & Jacquelyn
• Enjoyed coaching various sports when his children played.

MIDFLORIDA began in 1954 as Polk County Teachers Credit Union. The Polk County School Superintendent told a history teacher, Rebecca Keith, that Polk County teachers needed a credit union and asked if she would manage the credit union as its first treasurer. Mrs. Keith set up all the appropriate paperwork and began accepting deposits, which she was known to keep in a shoebox at her home. Polk County Teachers Credit Union began with only 10 charter members but ended the first year with 273 members and about $7,000 on deposit. From meager beginnings of a shoebox, MIDFLORIDA has grown to nearly 65 branches, more than 1,200 employees, 359,500 members in Florida, and assets over $5 billion.

Consumer and business banking, first and second mortgages, consumer and business lending, trust and investment services.

How has the pandemic changed business?

MIDFLORIDA has been available throughout the pandemic for our members as well as customers of other financial institutions who have not been able to get service elsewhere. All financial institutions have online options and have for years, but we never underestimate that there are times when you need personal service. In fact, MIDFLORIDA typically enjoys seeing members face to face, but to continue to do so meant some changes to continue serving people.

We quickly implemented new features like sneeze guards, adding social-distancing floor markers, offering masks and gloves, and deep cleaning each branch every business day. Drive-thru service quickly evolved to handle more volume as well as different types of transactions. We extended drive-thru hours, modified our call center practices, and eventually reopened our lobbies.

MIDFLORIDA was also able to fund over $78 million to small business members. This not only helped these businesses stay open, but also supported their employees and families.

We are very proud of how our staff has worked together through this unprecedented time and all the ongoing changes that the pandemic brings. We are also extremely grateful that our membership continues to look to us for their financial needs.

[alert type=blue ]MIDFLORIDA.COM • 863.688.3733 • 8 LAKELAND LOCATIONS[/alert]

Prime Meridian Bank

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Stephanie Colon

VP, Business Development Officer

• 21 years of banking experience
• Florida School of Banking Graduate
• Active involvement in Polk County civic, leadership, and charity organizations


David Sullivan

SVP, Regional President, Central Florida

• 40 years of banking experience
• Former Chair of the Plant City Economic Development Corp.
• Skilled business development professional

Justin Northcutt

VP, Relationship Manager

• 12 years of banking experience
• Credit analyst
• Commercial lender
• FDIC Loan Review Specialist
• Portfolio Manager

Prime Meridian Bank (NMLS# 393620, Member FDIC) offers a broad range of business and personal banking services, including home mortgages. Our focus is on offering lending and deposit solutions customized to fit our clients’ needs. Expert commercial lending officers and relationship managers have a firm grasp of the local landscape and the knowledge and insight to help businesses succeed.

What sets Prime Meridian Bank apart from other

Prime Meridian Bank approaches each client’s need by thinking of a few good reasons why it can be met. Prime Meridian Bank is built on that philosophy. Regional President — Central Florida David Sullivan has been in banking almost 40 years and simultaneously owned several businesses (Subways, UPS Stores, and HteaO) — nearly as long. This has given him a deeper appreciation of the challenges of starting and managing the kinds of businesses Prime Meridian Bank clients own. As he explains, he’s had to sign both sides of the check. This is at the core of Prime Meridian Bank’s empathetic approach to meeting clients’ needs — searching for ways the challenge can be met.

If cash flow is tight and payroll is in jeopardy, or sales tax is higher than expected, or if sudden growth has stressed a business’s resources, Mr. Sullivan understands because he’s felt the pressure of those situations. He knows the challenges of building a brand and how to underwrite the causes. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding clients’ needs and finding “a few good reasons why it can be done.”

[alert type=blue ]TRYMYBANK.COM • 863.417.2265 • 1 LAKELAND LOCATION[/alert]
Founded: 2008  //  Locations in Lakeland, Tallahassee, and Crawfordville

Publix Employees Federal Credit Union

Photo courtesy of Publix Employees Federal Credit Union

Shannon Patten · CMO

• 20 years experience
• Communications
• Public Relations
• Marketing
• Social Media
• Community Outreach

PEFCU’s story began with Publix founder George Jenkins (Mr. George) over 63 years ago. Mr. George also fostered a company culture that prioritized his associates’ personal needs. He wanted Publix associates and their immediate families to be at their best financially—at every phase of life. He envisioned them having lower loan rates, higher-yield savings plans, and other benefits that banks did not offer. With over 100,000 members, they continue to expand their membership throughout the southeastern U.S. In May of 2019, they exceeded $1 billion in assets, surpassing 95% of credit unions in the U.S.

• Serves current and retired Publix associates and their family members • Competitive savings and certificate rates • Low-rate VISA® credit cards • Free checking accounts to eligible members • Competitive rates on consumer loans

What is Publix Employees Federal Credit Union’s purpose?

PEFCU stays committed to improving the financial lives of their members and boasts an “A+” in financial health.

“Serving our members with excellence is the key to our credit union’s success,” Bregler says. “Our service to our members continues throughout their lives.’”

What is next on the horizon for PEFCU?

“How we live out our brand is summed up in our tagline, which is ‘Helping You Live Your Best Financial Life,’” Bregler says. “We want to have the best reputation in the industry for member service.”

Within the last two years, PEFCU restructured the leadership team, creating positions that did not exist before. Karen Boccaleri, Chief Operating Officer, believes that this group of visionaries includes some of the best talent in the industry who will harness the credit union’s potential for reaching current and potential members to accelerate them into uncharted territories.

“We realize that the best outcomes in life require the best people,” Boccaleri says. With the financial industry speeding towards digitized interface and voice automation, PEFCU continues to evolve to reach their goal of being best in service. They plan to roll out a major digital transformation in the future.”

[alert type=blue ]PEFCU.COM • (800) 226-6673 • 7 LOCATIONS (1 LAKELAND Location)[/alert]

Citizens Bank & Trust

Greg Littleton · CEO and President

• 31 years banking experience in Polk County
• Chair-Elect for United Way of Central Florida
• Advisory board of Advent Hospital of Polk County
• Winter Haven EDC Executive Committee
• Board of Trustees Polk State College

Founded in 1920.

Founded in Polk County by Latt Maxcy, Citizens Bank is still owned by Mr. Maxcy’s family—his grandchildren—who knew and continue Mr. Maxcy’s commitment to the community.

Citizens Bank & Trust is different and somewhat unique in today’s banking environment. One hundred years of continuous family ownership and three generations.  A family-owned bank is not nearly as prevalent as it was years ago. In fact, it’s becoming somewhat rare.

• Commercial Banking • Small Business Banking • Consumer Lending • Wealth Management

Why choose Citizens Bank & Trust?

This year, we are celebrating 100 years in business, 100 years of serving Polk County. The expertise and complex product line that our family-owned bank has gives us a great combination. We have the flexibility to do things that big banks cannot do, yet we have virtually every product the big banks have. Combine that flexibility, local decision making, and sophisticated product line with service that you cannot find at most banks today, and, in my opinion, you have everything you could want or need from a bank.

Our bank was proud to have participated in the Paycheck Protection Program, originating over $115 million of “PPP” loans.

We’re proud of our history and legacy, but we’re also very proud of the progressive products and services we offer. We’re investing heavily in technology and have a very extensive branch network across Polk County. We have enjoyed tremendous growth this year, with assets climbing by approximately $200 million, putting our bank at almost $900 million in total assets.

Our shareholders and board of directors remain committed to the banking business, to the communities that we serve, and making sure Citizens Bank & Trust is strong and viable as we enter into our second century of service.

[alert type=blue ]CITIZENS-BANK.COM • 863-676-6731 • 14 Polk County Locations[/alert]