Bank of America Jacksonville market president: ‘The overall economic optimism is high’

Mark K. Bennett was named to his position in March.

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Mark K. Bennett, Bank of America’s Jacksonville market president, predicts a bright future for Northeast Florida’s economic growth, based on the housing, investment and corporate relocation markets.

“The overall economic optimism is high all over but here in Jacksonville especially,” Bennett said.

“Following the monetary stimulus, consumer relief and completing the PPP program, consumers and business are in great shape to navigate the coming cycle with a strong financial sector to support their growth and digital need,” he said.

“Despite the notion that the stimulus has been spent, consumers still have significant savings and money to sustain this spending.”

PPP is the Paycheck Protection Program of small business loans administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration as part of the federal coronavirus rescue plan.

Bank of America named Bennett, 41, in March as president of Bank of America Jacksonville. He succeeds Greg Smith, who retired.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has the strongest market share of North Florida deposits at almost 51.7% with its 30 offices among Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties. That is based on Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data as of June 30, 2021.

Bennett continues to serve as the Southeast region executive for Business Banking, in addition to leading the Black and African American business owner initiative for the bank nationally. 

He oversees the bank’s local corporate and social responsibility activities including philanthropic giving, community development lending and investing, environmental initiatives, diversity efforts, arts and culture projects and employee volunteerism.

“Jacksonville will continue to see growth in our local ecosystem of banking and financial operations and fintech space,” he said.

“Our local chamber, colleges and universities play a pivotal role in partnering and working closely with our business community and leaders to prepare our workforce to help drive automation, investment and close hiring gaps through re-skilling and up-skilling programs.”

A certified treasury professional, Bennett graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance and management information systems. 

He received a graduate degree from Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, where he is a leadership instructor and student adviser.

Since joining Bank of America in 2003 as an associate client manager, Bennett was Central and North Florida market executive, North Carolina market executive and senior treasury solutions officer, where he managed a portfolio of global commercial banking clients with balances greater than $900 million.

Before he began his banking career, Bennett was an assistant to the late FSU head football coach Bobby Bowden for nearly five years. He worked in coaching, database management, film study, game operations, memorabilia and marketing opportunities, recruiting and speaking engagements.

“He helped me build on a foundation of being consistent and treating everyone the same. I learned how to be the example and inspire others while leading through change with a process-oriented plan,” Bennett said.

“Coach Bowden started with building trust by making sure you do what you say you would do, which continues to be critical in the banking industry.”

In his community service role, Bennett leads the bank’s national African American business owner initiative and is involved with Bank of America’s Black Professional Group, JAX Chamber board of directors, Communities In Schools Advisory Council, PACE Center for Girls, Black Executive Leadership Council, Leadership Jacksonville’s board and the North Florida Association of Financial Professionals board director.

He is on the board for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and a member of the Jacksonville Civic Council.