After realizing there was no community bank headquartered in the Temple Terrace area to serve clients, John Puffer, Ann Ross, and Dr. DeWeese secured a charter to establish Terrace Bank which later became Pilot Bank. Founding Director Ann Ross recounts the bank’s humble beginnings, “We were just trying to serve the local community in a way that was missing and that original purpose is grounded in everything we do.”
Now, with over 30 years of service and approaching $300 million in assets, Pilot Bank has successfully grown into a regional bank with five strategically located banking centers. There are presently four locations in Hillsborough County serving South Tampa, New Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Upper Tampa Bay. In 2006 Pilot Bank ventured into Polk County and opened a Lakeland office in the city’s business district.
The holding company for Pilot Bank, Pilot Bankshares, Inc. was established in 1995 and The National Aircraft Finance Company (NAFCO) was acquired the following year. As one of the leading aircraft financing companies in the nation, it added financial strength and diversification to the corporation.
NAFCO was of personal interest to the late John Puffer, as a pilot himself. His love of flight inspired the name of the bank; piloting your future and successfully navigating the financial world. Today, Pilot Bank has positioned itself to be a solid and well-capitalized financial institution guiding small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals to new heights.
Pilot Bank continues to build around great teams, strong partnerships, and the idea that banking is still at its core, about one on one relationships. Two of the bank’s main core values are integrity and client satisfaction. Uniquely hands-on with clients, whether personal or business, Pilot Bank gets to know the people and businesses they serve.
Each market is led by bankers who know the community inside and out, visiting with clients and their businesses for an unparalleled up close and personal approach. While Pilot Bank helps clients and their businesses travel far and wide, it is a great source of pride for the bank and clients alike that their deposits are reinvested back into the Tampa Bay community. Commercial deposits propel small business loans, bringing revenue and jobs to the community. Pilot Bank knows that when small businesses work with a community bank, Tampa Bay wins.
Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2017, the bank plans to continue to inspire and assist entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams. Steady growth will continue to lead Pilot Bank’s own expansion. The Pilot Bank team takes great joy in being good corporate citizens remaining highly active in the local community. They regularly participate in, sponsor, and support several organizations like Making Strides, Big Cat Rescue, American Heart Association, American Stage Theatre, Paint Your Heart Out, Outback Bowl, Ronald McDonald House, the Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Working Women of Tampa Bay, USF WLP and more.