Florida Banking December 2023




I n the world of finance and banking, leadership and vision are vital to the success of any organization. The Florida Bankers Association (FBA) has been fortunate to have a stalwart leader in Alex Sanchez, who has served as its president and CEO since 1998. Under his guidance, the Trust Division of the FBA has not only thrived but has also played a pivotal role in shaping the financial landscape of the state of Florida. Alex’s extensive experience in both the public and private sectors has given him a unique perspective and understanding of the intricacies of the banking industry including the trust and wealth management business, making him a true asset to Florida’s community of financial professionals. I met Alex in 1996 when I was serving on the trust legislative committee and was immediately inspired by how much he had to overcome as a young child fleeing Cuba in 1962. Rather than letting his circumstances define him, Alex worked hard with his parents and siblings to build a new life and successful career in the United States. Over the last 30 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside him on several legislative matters. I’ve always been struck by his tenacity, his dedication, and his commitment to advocacy on behalf of the FBA. His ability to see the big picture, cut through the red tape and get things done speaks volumes about his character and it’s an honor to call him a colleague and friend. Alex assumed his role as president and CEO of the FBA at a time when the banking industry was undergoing significant changes due to the rapid consolidation in banking, the Great Financial Crisis and a wave of regulatory reforms and technological advancements. In this transformative era, leaders who could adapt and drive progress were crucial, and Alex was more than ready for the challenge. One of the most remarkable aspects of Alex's leadership has been his ability to anticipate industry trends and align the FBA's objectives with them. He recognized early on that trust services were becoming increasingly important

in the financial landscape not just as a revenue stream but as a means of providing comprehensive financial solutions to clients. Under his guidance, the Trust Division of the FBA has evolved to meet these demands and in turn has become a driving force within the association and across the state of Florida. Supporting the Trust Division Alex's ongoing support for the Trust Division has been instrumental in its growth and success. Here are some key areas where his leadership and support have made a significant impact: Advocacy and representation: As the leader of the FBA, Alex understood the importance of advocating for the interests of trust departments within Florida banks. Under his leadership, the Trust Division has been a powerful advocate for its members, working to ensure that their voices were heard in legislative and regulatory matters through meetings with regulators and elected officials and participation in the annual D.C. “fly in” and Capitol Day events. His support has been vital in navigating the complex regulatory landscape and creating a favorable environment for trust services to thrive. Education and training: Trust professionals require specialized knowledge and skills to provide high quality services to their clients. Recognizing this, Alex has supported the Trust and Wealth Management School (formerly known as the Florida Trust and Graduate Trust School) and championed educational initiatives within the Trust Division such as the annual Trust and Wealth Management Conference. These programs help equip trust professionals with the tools they need to excel in their roles. This commitment to education has not only elevated the quality of trust services but has also enhanced the reputation of Florida's trust professionals on a national scale. Networking and collaboration: Building a strong network and fostering collaboration between bankers and trust officers is essential for growth and


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