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Billionaire Jaime Galinski Bacal Sells Florida Bank To Banco Sabadell of Spain For $56 Million


Jaime Galinski Bacal

Jaime Gilinski Bacal

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On Wednesday Columbian born business man Jaime Gilinski Bacal  just sold the Florida bank he owns for US$56 million. However really he sort of sold it to himself, as the buyer is a bank from Spain, Banco Sabadell, in which he recently invested.
Last September, Spanish commercial bank Banco Sabadell announced it was raising US$1.8 billion of new equity capital through a two-phase stock offering. Banco Sabadell is a major financial institution with a US$250 billion asset base.

Jaime Gilinski Bacal purchased shares in the institutional investor phase of the offering, and in the process ended up with a 9% stake in the bank to become the largest single shareholder of the bank.

Unlike with some Spanish banks these days, the purpose was not to bail out its bad loan position, but instead to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet to prepare for Basel III. These are protocols laid down by the Bank for International Settlements that reflect new and more stringent capital requirements for international banks, and which are quite soon coming into force.

On completion of the total offering therefore, in early October the bank ended up with an over 11% core Tier 1 capital ratio, or just about as strong as the best banks anywhere.

This week, on Wednesday we now learned that in a related party transaction Banco Sabadell has signed an agreement to purchase another bank in Florida, the JGB Bank based in Doral, Florida from its own new shareholder Jaime Gilinski Bacal. The deal should close by the middle of next year after satisfying all regulatory requirements.

JGB Bank is a small community bank with about US$540 million of total assets, for which Banco Sabadell is paying US$56 million in cash, according to information from the bank.

Florida Bank logo

As a sign of the vibrancy of Floridian business and economic development, JGB Bank is actually the second oldest bank in south Florida, even though it was started as recently as 1957 when it was founded as the Eagle National Bank.

The bank later changed its name to JGB in 1999, which are the initials of its owner Jaime Gilinski Bacal, who had acquired it several years earlier. Curiously, in a small homage to its history the old web site of the bank is still active, “”, as well as the new one “” – with both leading to the same destination.

So now Mr. Gilinski Bacal has sort of passed the bank on to Banco Sabadell, after a ten-year period holding it directly himself. In its most recent quarterly financial results filed, to June 30th, 2013 JGB made a very small US$344, 000 profit, so he will no doubt be hoping it can do a little better under its new sponsorship.

With US$12 billion of assets in Florida already, Banco Sabadell maintains a strong presence in the Florida banking market, which in recent years has become a favourite destination for business-men, and especially for their money, coming from Latin America.

At the same time, on Wednesday Banco Sabadell also announced it had completed the purchase of the Miami based private banking operations of Lloyds Bank, in a deal that was announced back in May to bolster its private banking business, having earlier closed on Lloyds’ Spanish private banking operations as well.

There is no sign that Jaime Gilinski Bacal is going to sit on the Board of Directors of Banco Sabadell, indeed that does not seem to be his style recently. He does not sit on the board of Directors of JGB Bank either, though a member of his family Gabriel Gilinski does.


About Jaime Gilinski Bacal

Currently Jaime Gilinski Bacal serves as the Chairman for JGB Financial Holding Company, which presently also holds his interest in JGB Bank. From 1994 to 1997, he was the Chairman and the controlling shareholder of Banco de Colombia.

According to Forbes Billionaires List he has a personal net worth of US$2.4 billion at March 2013.

Jaime Gilinski Bacal is originally from Columbia, though today lives in London with his wife Raquel and his family. His father, Isaac Gilinski (Bacal is his mother’s family name), made a large fortune with two successful ventures, snack foods maker Yupi and plastics firm Rimax.

Jaime earned his Bachelors Degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1978, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1980. Immediately afterwards he spent a year as an Associate at Morgan Stanley learning the language of business in real life, so he got a really good all round training.

Then for the next nine years Jaime Gilinski Bacal performed strategic planning functions for a number of companies in the consumer products and snack foods businesses, before gravitating towards the banking business with his first deal as an entrepreneur.

According to his profile in Wikipedia, in which the business elements of his life seem to be quite extensively laid out, during the 1990’s Jaime first got into the banking business when he picked up the Colombian assets of the infamous, and notorious, (yes it is even now well worth employing both epithets) Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), for a nominal sum after its’ global collapse.

He renamed it Banco Andino, turned it around and four years later sold the reconstituted bank for a reported US$70 million.

This deal raised his own business profile considerably, and Jaime Gilinski Bacal later moved to purchase Banco de Colombia for US $365 Million, together with an investment group and the help of part of his family’s fortune, in what was at the time the largest privatization in Colombia’s history.

Billionaire investor George Soros invested US$ 50 Million as a member of a buying syndicate, along with over 100 European and North American institutional investors, and Jaime Gilinski Bacal became Chairman of the bank.

They later sold control of the bank to a local banking conglomerate in a deal valued at US$800 Million – a transaction that is still ranked today as among Colombia’s largest.

Since then he has bought and sold interests in a number of high profile banking transactions, culminating with his recent involvement with Banco Sabadell.

Real estate is also a major interest of Jame Gilinski Bacal, with a major investment in Panama underway today in a huge US$700 million project, Panama Pacifico, in partnership with London & Regional Properties.

Outside the office, Jaime Gilinski Bacal is involved in many philanthropic causes, including still acting as the Chair of capital projects for the Chabad House at Harvard University, for which he obviously has considerable affection.

Through the Jaime and Raquel Gilinski Endowment, he and his wife Raquel support the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. They also fund fellowships for deserving MBA students from Columbia, Panama and other Latin American countries so they can afford to attend the university.

The Gilinski Bacal have also donated several millions of dollars to the Santa Fe Hospital in Bogota Columbia.




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