Troubleshooter Carlos Dávila directs US Century Bank bent on reducing problem assets, adding business lines
Carlos Dávila is a migratory troubleshooter. His career in banking has taken him from Puerto Rico to South Florida to Puerto Rico and now back to South Florida, where he is leading US Century Bank out of trouble: a high level of nonperforming assets, heightened regulatory enforcement and the need to raise capital.
That last goal seems well on the way to being accomplished, as the bank announced this month that C1 Bank and CBM Florida Holding Co. have entered into an agreement to acquire US Century and pump up to $100 million in new capital into the money-losing bank, although the deal still must be concluded.
Mr. Dávila has faced other formidable challenges. Prior to joining US Century last month, he was the president of Florida and Puerto Rico for Citibank from 2003 to 2007, when, as he puts it, he helped the bank establish a "beachhead" in South Florida. Then it was on to Westernbank in Puerto Rico, where, as chief operating officer from 2007 to 2010, he dealt with many of the same issues he faces at US Century, which itself has a short but colorful history.
Founded a decade ago by a largely Hispanic group of businessmen, including those with interests in construction and commercial real estate, the privately-owned community bank was a big hit at first, riding the crest of the real estate wave. When the wave broke, so did the bank's fortunes, as property values fell, construction came to a virtual halt and loans went bad.
But problems went beyond that. A number of those who ran US Century, as one author put it, used the bank as their "personal ATM" through an entanglement of insider lending — loans to the bank's officers and directors.
In 2009, with the economy reeling, US Century gained the dubious distinction of receiving the most money — $50.2 million — of any Florida bank from the federal Trouble Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Last year, with the bank reported on the brink of failure, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in with a sweeping consent order, demanding that US Century get its act together.
That's where Mr. Dávila comes in. One of his duties is to ensure that the bank meets the conditions of the consent order, which are numerous.
That's given him little time to settle into his new job. His wife is still in Puerto Rico, where they were living. And he still has a home in the Coral Gables area from his last stint in South Florida. Such is the life of a troubleshooter.
The day before the C1/CBM deal was announced, Mr. Dávila spoke at his office at US Century headquarters in Doral with Miami Today reporter Scott Blake about the task that lies before him and others at the bank.
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