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Bank OZK eyes Tampa Bay area for more growth, technology

Crystal Owens

Although Bank OZK (NASDAQ: OZK) calls Arkansas home, it’s looking to plant roots in Florida, specifically in the Tampa Bay area.  The bank has of late been aggressively pursuing the area, growing a strong leadership team with the promotion of Ken Ronecker to president of its Tampa Bay and North Florida divisions, and is gearing up to add market president positions to its staff to cover Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.  Bank OZK will also be hiring lending and support staff positions in the areas as well, Ronecker said.  Simply put, the bank “wants to be embedded and entrenched” in the areas it serves, he said.  The bank has 43 offices in Florida, with many throughout the Tampa Bay area, and 240 offices throughout the southeast. Ronecker compares the banking industry’s transformation from traditional operation to technology-aided customer services as what St. Petersburg experienced 10 to 15 years ago.