Abess is the CEO of City National Bank of Florida (one of the oldest and most profitable banks in the state).
Abess has an almost unbelievable commitment to the local communities. Abess and his wife Jayne are among the largest philanthropists in the state supporting organizations such as Mount Sinai Medical Center, University of Miami and the World Wildlife Fund.
Where other banks have recently failed, Abess has bucked the trend with little to no publicity. Instead of accepting bailouts, he sold part of his business for a substantial profit. That profit ($60 million) was divided among the 471 current and former employees of City National.
President Barack Obama quoted Abess on why he was so generous: “I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn’t feel right getting the money myself.”