Amerant Bank CEO: Bank is renewing commitment to Houston

Amerant Bank is expanding its workforce and branch network in the Houston area.

Amerant Bank CEO: Bank is renewing commitment to Houston

Amerant Bank is a subsidiary of Coral Gables-based Amerant Bancorp Inc.

Amerant Bank currently has seven Houston-area branches with about 70 employees. However, the bank is looking to expand its employee base in the area and will take advantage of any opportunities to do so, according to Jerry Plush. The company also recently hired Caroline Verot Moore to be its new Houston Market President and changed the structure of the role.

Plush explained that the position of market president was previously a deeper one within the organization. Plush said that the market president now sits in the executive team, and reports directly into him.

Plush told The Houston Business Journal that he was confident there would be many good things to come.

Plush stated that the bank is recommitting resources to Houston and has a long list of things it would like to achieve in the area. Amerant is looking to expand all of its business lines, but he says the bank will be focusing on its wealth management and private banking capabilities. Plush says Amerant has a strong foundation in retail banking and commercial bank in the region, but that it will stand out from the competition by growing its wealth management and private bank teams.

Plush's philosophy for adding branches is to have fewer, smaller and better-located locations. The location is the most important aspect. He didn't say what parts of Houston his company may be interested in expanding.

Amerant is also interested in sponsoring Houston-based companies. The bank is also the hometown bank of University of Miami Athletics and the NBA's Miami Heat. Plush did not comment on whether or not the bank was looking to partner up with Houston sports teams, but said that news should be coming in the next few weeks.

"I love co-branding." Plush stated that he liked the affinity created by tying together two brands. Plush said, 'That helped launch our brand because we were affiliated with those teams. And that's what we're trying to do in Houston.

The bank, despite being physically separated from its headquarters, located in South Florida has maintained its Houston location while undergoing multiple rebranding initiatives, spinning off its international parent company, going public and surviving the Covid-19 epidemic. It has done this because it sees an opportunity to grow locally, even though the bank may not have given local growth much priority in the past.

Plush stated that the untapped potential is huge. What we haven't done is show the full commitment to executing on it.

Verot Moore told HBJ that the renewed commitment to Houston was what drew her to Amerant Bank. She is the only woman to hold the position of Houston market president. Verot Moore, who is the first woman to hold the position of Houston market president, said that she would focus on diversity, equity and hiring in Houston as well as creating more opportunities for women working in financial services.

Plush Moore and Verot said that the bank is also looking at ways to become more involved with the local community. Amerant Bank is a long-standing partner of Habitat for Humanity South Florida and plans to extend that relationship in Houston. Verot Moore has said that she will host a Habitat For Humanity build as a way to improve teamwork.

Verot Moore, a banker at Amerant in Houston for nearly two decades, said that the bank is starting from a good place.

Verot Moore stated that 'we need to put in a few additional pieces, but the foundation is there and we will grow off of it'.