A $1 billion-asset family-owned bank in Miami is trying to pick up where a number of the area's recently acquired banks left off.

City National Bank of Florida, owned by the Leonard L. Abbess family for 50 years, recently hired two former employees from a competitor that was acquired by NationsBank Corp.

Thomas B. Brady, 46, became a director and executive vice president of City National, and Guillermo Gomez, 36, was named a senior vice president in charge of establishing a corporate lending department.

Both had previously worked at Intercontinental Bank, also of Miami, which was the second-largest publicly traded bank in the state until it was acquired by Charlotte, N.C.-based giant NationsBank last spring.

"The goal here is to be the best community bank in the area, and frankly I think we have the potential to do that," said Mr. Brady, whose first day was Feb. 1.

Mr. Brady said his original plans after leaving Intercontinental, where he was an executive vice president and chief operating officer, were to be a bank consultant in the area. In that capacity, he called on City National several months ago. Leonard L. Abess Jr., chairman and CEO of City National, told him the consulting would be fine, but coming to work there would be better, Mr. Brady said.

"He got me excited about what he's trying to do," said Mr. Brady. "Leonard is a good salesman."

Among other initiatives, City National is expanding its branch network, investing about $4 million in new technology, and exploring acquisition opportunities.

Since the bank is owned by the Abess family, growth by acquisition would have to be done in cash.

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