“Let’s make it happen,” said Paul Noris, CEO of Bank of Central Florida. Those were words Sonji Coney, CEO of Coney Funeral Homes, did not expect to hear as she shared some of the challenges she and her business were facing. This was the perfect example of what the term “relationship banking” means: sitting down with a Commercial Banker and CEO of a bank, laying everything out on the table and asking about financing options with someone you trust.

Woman standing by a sign

Starting her business at the age of 20, Sonji had worked hard over the years in Lakeland. She was involved in the community and had been in the same Leadership program as Paul through the local Chamber of Commerce. After some time had passed, her business needed an experienced Banker. She thought about who she knew at a bank and someone she could trust. Having already known Paul from serving in the community, she called him up and asked if she could share her story. Having that relationship with a Banker was life-changing.

“So many people depended on us in the community. Our love for the community was transparent, and people saw it. It is why we continued to push forward and do what we do. Knowing how Paul was invested in the community, I felt like I could trust that he would understand and have our best interests at heart.” Sonji highlighted how having someone local and personal was vital in the timing of when they were looking for financial solutions.

Sonji continued to express her gratitude in saying, “That word relationship is immeasurable. Personalization is what got us. Bank of Central Florida has had personalization all the way from the top-down. It’s nice to know that someone on the other end of the line will answer the phone or call us back. Dealing with other banks, we had niceties. Dealings with Bank of Central Florida are that of excellence.”

Coney Funeral Home is currently expanding and will be opening an additional location so they can better serve the community with greater capacity.

“Without the team at Bank of Central Florida, we would not be where we are today,” said Sonji.