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Focus Stories

Citizens Bank of Florida

by Georgia Fojo

Featured Photo from Citizens Bank of Florida

With a new location in downtown Sanford, Citizens Bank of Florida sits on the corner of First Street and Laurel Avenue ready to serve its customers and become an integral part of the Sanford/Lake Mary community.

Not so new, however, is the company’s rich history. What began in 1946 as a small community bank in Oviedo servicing businessmen in the citrus, celery, and cattle industries, has expanded to include branches in Oviedo, Winter Park, Longwood, and most recently, Sanford. Despite its steady growth in Seminole County over the last seven decades, Citizens Bank of Florida has never lost its touch for genuinely getting to know its customers and putting the word community in community banking.

“Our company motto is ‘independent thinking, independent banking,’ and nothing about that has changed,” says Joe Deitz, branch sales manager. “We remain independently owned, service oriented, and community focused all the way through, and we are continuing that legacy with our newest location. We are bringing our fantastic company culture with us.”

“The Sanford/Lake Mary community is a whole new market for us, and we’re thrilled to be here,” adds Becky Funke, branch manager. “We have such great relationships with customers at other locations, and we hope to take our unique way of banking and build upon the community here.”

Becky is a perfect example of how Citizens Bank of Florida treats its staff and clients like family. She began her career as a teller at the bank’s headquarters in Oviedo more than 38 years ago and has grown with the company. 

“Half of our staff has been with the company for over 10 years,” says Becky. “It’s been such a happy place to work, and that carries over into the way we treat our customers. We know their families, the names of their dogs – we’ve served generations of families, and that’s something special. We also put a lot of emphasis on community service and supporting local causes, which we hope to do here in our new community.”

While many banks seem to deliver a cookie-cutter approach to helping clients, the team at Citizens Bank of Florida takes each client’s situation and strengths into consideration to find the right solution. The bank can help with everything from evaluating capital needs, to providing loan options, to offering guidance in financial management. Citizens Bank of Florida has a vested interest in the community and in the success of the people and companies that energize the local economy.  

If you call into the office with questions, you will get an actual person to help you.

“We still have what I’d call a ‘home number with a human at the other end of the line,’” explains Joe. “It’s important to us to establish a personal connection and be a part of whatever banking decision or process a client is going through.”

When you apply with a big bank for a commercial loan, for example, decisions are often made at a corporate level by someone you may never have met. At Citizens Bank of Florida, however, decisions are made more quickly and with less red tape by a local board. Board members are longtime Seminole County residents who want to see the area continue to develop in the right ways.

Citizens Bank of Florida offers commercial and consumer loans; residential lending; a variety of personal, savings, and business accounts; secure online banking; and much more. An FDIC member and Equal Housing Lender, Citizens Bank of Florida is primed to help its customers with any banking needs. The Sanford location offers drive-through convenience and a team of in-house professionals offering a full-suite of services.

“We have a great mix of old-fashioned, face-to-face interaction along with fast and secure online banking,” says Joe. “Over many years, the bank’s commitment to honest and fair dealing as put forth by the founders has earned the confidence of our customers, and we’re excited to bring that to the Sanford/Lake Mary community.”

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