Snowbirds Find Iowa Banks Down South

BY STEVE DINNEN

Banks, it seems, are snowbirds, too.

If you run low on cash in Phoenix during your wintertime sojourn there, feel free to swing by any of the area branches of Des Moines-based Bankers Trust Co. to talk about replenishment. Eyeing the annual defection of so many clients to Arizona, as well as growth opportunities there, Bankers Trust opened its first branch in Phoenix in 2008. You can do most anything at a Phoenix branch that you can at a branch in Iowa.

On Florida’s Gulf Coast, First American Bank (Fort Dodge-based, with six offices in and around Des Moines), has a sizable presence in the Naples-Fort Myers area. It well could add another branch in Boca Raton, said CEO John A. Fisher, who acknowledged that the high number of Iowa snowbirds in Florida was a big draw. 

“Our bank parking lot is full of Polk County and Dallas County license plates” until mid-April, Fisher said. Some of those clients might be there to arrange video conferences with their bankers back in Iowa, as First American has even rigged up video sets between Iowa and Florida branches.

Also making their sun-and-warmth marks are Dubuque-based Heartland Financial USA Inc., which operates Arizona Bank & Trust in Phoenix, and Iowa City-based MidWestOne Financial Group, with offices in Fort Myers and Naples.

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