Seeking to make its branches more convenient for international customers, Commercial Bank of New York is opening a loan production and trust representative office in Miami.
While this is a dramatic expansion geographically, officials said, they hope the new office will help them better serve existing customers from Mexico and South America when they visit the United States.
Officials of $1.1 billion-asset Commercial Bank, which is 65%-owned by the Safdie family of Brazil, have considered expanding to Miami for several years, said comptroller Donald J. Linton. Commercial had even considered buying a bank in Florida and had "an active candidate," he said, but nothing came of it.
About half the bank's business is from international customers, primarily from Latin America. In particular, the bank has clients from Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, who regularly visit either New York or Miami.
Commercial Bank has six branches and an "international banking facility" in Manhattan and an office in the Cayman Islands. It also has representative offices in Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico - but not in Brazil, where the Safdie family owns another bank.
"By having a branch or loan production office and being able to service the trust business in Miami," Mr. Linton said, "we pick up more convenience for those customers. We're making it more convenient for them to deal with us."
In addition, he said, Commercial Bank officials expect to pick up some business from the large Latin American population of Miami, particularly among the 200,000 Brazilians in the area.
"We think we'll probably pick up some new relationships by having that convenience in Miami," he said. "It's a local market for us to that extent as well."
Though he declined to disclose what loan production and trust goals the bank has set for the Miami office, Mr. Linton said, "We'll be able to measure whether the office is a success or not."
The office, which is being leased, is expected to open in the fourth quarter.