October 15, 2013 – (Sarasota, Florida) – Shaun P. Merriman, President and CEO of Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, announced today the appointment of Brian D. Hall to the post of Executive Vice President and Director of Wealth Management. In this capacity, Mr. Hall will head up the Gateway Private | Wealth subsidiary and take on other senior management and business development duties at the bank.
Brian Hall joins Gateway Bank after serving eight years as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Sarasota-based Sabal Palm Bank. He organized Sabal Palm Bank in 2005 and opened the bank in 2006. In the first quarter of 2013, he led a successful strategic initiative raising $5.6 million in new capital for Sabal Palm, despite the fact the bank was classified as “well capitalized” according to regulatory standards. Mr. Hall resigned his post at Sabal Palm Bank in August to assess other opportunities.
In making the announcement, Shaun Merriman commented, “Brian Hall and I have a long history of working together dating back to 2001 when he was our Senior Lender at SouthTrust.” Merriman continued, “When Brian shared with me he was leaving Sabal Palm, I jumped at the opportunity to have him join us at Gateway Bank.”
Brian Hall brings over a decade of top level Sarasota banking experience to Gateway Bank. He was recruited by Shaun Merriman to join SouthTrust in Sarasota as Senior Vice President and Senior Lender in 2001 when Merriman held the post of SouthTrust President and Chief Executive Officer. During the time period beginning in 2001, the team effected a notable improvement in the performance of SouthTrust in the Sarasota market. After only eighteen months, performance was so vastly improved the bank received the coveted “Champions of Quality” award as the highest performing bank in the SouthTrust system in 2002.
In 2003, Brian Hall was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer for SouthTrust in Sarasota. The position became available when Shaun Merriman was promoted to a larger market and transferred to Houston, Texas as President and Chief Executive Officer.
Prior to joining SouthTrust in 2001, Brian Hall, held a number of senior management positions in a 22-year career with the Star Bank organization in Indiana and Ohio. He began his banking career with Star Bank in 1979.
In 2005, Hall left Wachovia, the successor bank to SouthTrust to begin organizing Sabal Palm Bank. The bank opened in 2006, and under Brian Hall’s leadership, the bank grew to two locations and nearly $100 million in assets during the difficult economy of the recession. Despite the conditions forcing the close of nine Sarasota based community banks, Sabal Palm Bank maintained “well capitalized” status with banking regulators and was never subject to regulatory order.
On his experience building Sabal Palm Bank, Brian Hall commented, “I take great personal pride in the accomplishments at Sabal Palm Bank, particularly in light of the economic conditions of the time.”
Gateway Bank Chairman Charles J. Bartlett added his comments. “I first worked with both Shaun Merriman and Brian Hall at SouthTrust Bank, and their collective work led to market dominance for SouthTrust.” He continued, “The phrase ‘Dream Team’ is appropriate in describing these two dynamic bankers again working together at Gateway Bank.”
About Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida: Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida is an independent community bank serving business and personal banking customers in Sarasota and Manatee cou