Bank's local debut rich in Old World indulgence

Published April 10, 2006

Lydian Bank & Trust's flamboyant entry into the Tampa Bay market called for an equally flamboyant setting.

The private Palm Beach bank for the well-heeled rented out the Tampa Theatre last week for a VIP party to announce its invasion of Florida's west coast.

The 80-year-old movie house's riot of styles - think gargoyles, multicolored Moorish columns and Renaissance tapestries - complemented Lydian's thematic contribution.

Anyone for an armored Greek infantryman in horsehair helmet, robed maidens serving champagne punch and white-faced models standing in for marble statues?

Lydian Bank, named after the ancient Greek city state that invented the use of coins for trade, isn't for the light of wallet. President James Meany said the 4-year-old company deals mostly with clients with bankrolls of more than $10-million.

"There's a lot of wealth in Tampa. It's what I'd call scattered wealth," Meany said amid a crush of guests enjoying the open bar and shrimp and chicken tidbits. "In Miami and Palm Beach, it's concentrated wealth."

Cary Putrino, formerly with another millionaire-oriented bank, Northern Trust, will run Lydian's downtown Tampa branch on Franklin Street. The dress code will not require a tunic.