Vystar CEO, Terry West, said he feels the North Florida economy is the most promising he has seen in nearly 30 years in a keynote speech to the Economic Development and Enhancement of North Jacksonville Group. The Business Journal caught up with West after his address to ask him a few questions about the banking industry.
With the possible rolling back of parts of the Dodd-Frank Act in the news lately, what is your opinion on the regulation?
There are changes that need to be made in it (Dodd-Frank Act). It is a cumbersome law, it’s got great intent for the consumer but sometimes the consumers complain about it because it’s so restrictive in some areas. Each of us in the financial world have spent millions of dollars complying with it. It will be costly to change anything, but long term it needs some adjustment. It has become so restrictive you spend so much on compliance that it’s hard to know where you can make money. We all have to make money to run our businesses.
What are your thoughts on the First Coast’s economic future?
I think it’s very strong right now. I think it’s a good healthy economy. It’s one of those that you can see is going to grow, and grow, and grow. You can see the signs. You can see the jobs moving here, we’ve got logistics, we’ve got health systems, we’ve got financial systems. There is a lot of positive movement in this area. It is a great environment. In the last 28 years it is the most positive I have ever seen.
With customers moving more toward online banking, how important is it for Vystar to balance online banking with the in-person branch experience?
You have got to do both. In our newer branches we are redesigning them. There is more technology in our new branches and the structure is designed to help encourage people to embrace technology. We spend a lot for cyber protection and any financial institution does.