Q&A with Lynne Herndon

Lynne Herndon, city president for BBVA Compass, will serve as the 2012-2013 chairman of the board of directors for the Arizona Bankers Association (AzBA).  Herndon succeeds James Lundy, president and CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona, as chairman of the association.

“I am excited to step into the chairman role and work with the other board and association members,” said Herndon.  “These last few years have required steadfast legislative attention and advocacy at all levels.  We have also had to respond to heightened regulatory attention and pressures.  Acting with a single voice has made a larger impact.  I look forward to continuing to strengthen the unified voice of the bankers within the state.”
Herndon sat down with Az Business magazine for a far-reaching Q&A.

AB: Why did you choose banking as a career?
Lynne Herndon: I chose banking because it allowed me to utilize both my interpersonal and analytical skills. I enjoy meeting with customers and I enjoy analyzing a business situation and offering a solution. Bankers help companies accomplish their goals of growth and expansion.  It’s a perfect fit.

AB: Tell us one thing about you that would surprise most people?
LH: My two favorite things are college football, namely Alabama football, and rock ’n’ roll music.  My husband and I go to at least 20 concerts a year, both in and out of state.

AB: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the banking industry since you started?
LH: Regulation.  Banks are held to a much higher standard in areas of underwriting, appraisals, and compliance. Our required level of due diligence is therefore deeper.

AB: What has been your biggest challenge in the banking industry?
LH: Winning business in a highly competitive market. Arizona has many, many banks. And many banks are chasing the same deals.

AB: What has been your greatest accomplishment in banking?
LH: Lending when times are good is easy. Lending when economic times are tough is hard. I’m proud of the fact that BBVA Compass was able to lend money during 2009 and 2010, two very difficult years.

AB: The Valley is home to many female banking leaders. Why have so many more women risen to the top of the industry here in Arizona compared with other parts of the country?
LH: There are more women in banking today because more women are seeking and aspiring to senior management positions in this industry. In particular, more women are pursuing positions in commercial banking.

AB: What do you hope to accomplish as chairwoman of the Arizona Bankers Association?
LH: Our marquee issue is amending Arizona’s anti-deficiency statute.

AB: The banking industry has been beaten up a bit over the last few years thanks in part to Wall Street, what does the industry need to do to begin to mend its public perception?
LH: Bankers need to proactively speak to clients about what we are doing.  We are in business to make loans and we are looking for ways to loan money to individuals and businesses.  Our workforce is also very active in our communities giving both time and treasure.  We need to tell our story.