America’s Most Convenient Bank
Val Perez Guides TD Bank’s South Florida Region
Val Perez is a strong supporter of economic development, education and non-profit organizations throughout South Florida. “We believe it’s important for us to focus on the communities we serve,” says Perez, who is retail market president for TD Bank, known as “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” As a board member of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County and chair of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, Perez provides his ideas and suggestions on key issues facing the region.
“We also strive to build lasting partnerships with the professionals in our community,” adds Perez. “Our bank has extensive knowledge and experience in meeting the banking needs of South Florida’s law firms, attorneys, CPAs and other professionals. For example, our bank recently hosted two half-day continuing education seminars for CPAs.”
TD Bank has a robust private banking arm serving professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and other high-net-worth individuals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. “Along with highly personalized service, we can offer jumbo mortgage loans to our clients,” Perez says. “That’s helped us grow at a time when many other banks have pulled back from residential lending.”
For attorneys, accountants and their firms, TD Bank takes a full-service approach. “We bring the whole bank to our customers,” Perez says. That includes credit and transactional services for the firm, mortgages and personal loans for young associates, and private banking and wealth management services for senior partners. As Perez says, “We are one bank — not only a retail, private or commercial institution — with a coordinated team approach to making sure we meet our customer’s financial needs.”
A Diverse Banking Background
Perez brings more than 26 years of banking experience to his role as market president for TD Bank’s operations in 85 offices from Homestead to Vero Beach. In addition to extensive retail experience, his career includes marketing, bank integrations, international private banking, domestic private banking and mortgage lending.
Perez grew up in Kingston, New York, before moving to South Florida with his family. “We had friends who were involved in banking, and it seemed like a natural career choice for me,” he says. Perez started his career in 1985 as a teller in the Boca Raton office of AmeriFirst Savings & Loan. He soon joined the management training program, learning how to analyze corporate balance sheets. “I became a credit analyst and then a commercial relationship manager,” he says.
Next, Perez moved into retail banking, managing a branch in Palm Beach County for C&S, which was acquired by NCNB which became NationsBank. Perez became a regional branch manager for NationsBank’s western Broward offices. Then came an unusual step in a banking career. “I was asked to move to Charlotte [headquarters of NationsBank] to be part of a strategic think-tank for the company,” he says. “We shared our thoughts on sales and service strategies, developing some best practices for the bank, while looking ahead to future trends.”
After that role, Perez returned to Florida, and played an active role in NationsBank’s 1997 acquisition of Jacksonville-based Barnett Bank, the largest bank merger in U.S. history at that time. In 1998 NationsBank acquired Bank of America and kept the name. Perez then became statewide marketing manager for Bank of America in Jacksonville.
In the early 2000s, Perez came back to South Florida, taking on several management roles for UnionPlanters Bank. After the bank’s merger with Regions Bank, Perez became regional market president in Palm Beach County. He was then recruited by Citibank to re-engineer its small business lending program in a seven-state area.
In 2012, TD Bank hired Perez as regional vice president of commercial banking for Palm Beach County, and he assumed his current role last fall.
On the personal side, Perez and his wife Denise Groo enjoy golf, tennis, travel and spending time with family and friends. He adds, “I am passionate about my role as a banker, and it is exciting to work with professionals and business leaders who are also passionate about their careers.”
A Canadian Banking Company
Perez’ diverse banking experience — including working closely with mergers and acquisitions — has provided a solid foundation for his leadership role at TD Bank, which has deep roots in U.S. and Canadian history. The company first opened its doors in Maine in 1852 as Portland Savings Bank.
In 2007, TD Bank Group of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America, acquired the company’s successor, Banknorth, followed by New Jersey-based Commerce Bank, and rebranded its U.S. affiliate as TD Bank.
In 2010, TD Bank entered the Florida market with the acquisition of Riverside National Bank of Florida, First Federal Bank of North Florida, and AmericanFirst Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Today, TD Bank is one of the ten largest banks in the U.S. with 1,300 offices from Maine to Florida. Based in New Jersey, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth.
“Many of our retail branches are open seven days a week,” Perez says. “We have also added family- friendly interactive features like our Penny Arcade, where kids can bring in their coins and get a receipt for their savings account.”
Serving Professionals and Communities
Along with helping young savers put their pennies to work, Perez enjoys meeting the financial needs of attorneys, accountants and other professionals. “With the growth of technology, attorneys have a tremendous amount of information they need to digest each day,” he says. “They are also juggling multiple priorities, from their clients to the firms to their personal lives. Our role as bankers is to take the time to understand their goals, operations and challenges so we can provide sound financial advice. Everyone talks about providing full services, but with our non-silo model, we can deliver on that promise.”
For example a South Florida law firm with international clients may receive significant payments from overseas sources. “Anti-money laundering and bank security regulations are a big part of our world these days, and it’s very important for a law firm to understand those types of transactions,” Perez says. “We can explain these security issues to attorneys and their clients, and guide them through a complex transaction.”
Perez also believes attorneys and accountants should pay close attention to the region’s economic development activity — a feeling shared by his colleague Ernie Diaz, TD Bank regional president for Metro Florida and incoming chair of Miami-Dade’s Beacon Council. “Being involved gives you a good perspective on what may be happening two or three years down the road,” he says.
In addition, Perez is an advocate for volunteer service. He serves as chair for Homesafe, which supports victims of child and domestic abuse, and leads the bank’s “Bring Change” program, which provides financial support for the region’s smaller non-profits. He says, “As lawyers, accountants and bankers, we should all give something back to our communities.”
South Florida Legal Guide 2015 Edition