Tag Archives: bank

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High-Net-Worth Arizonans Upbeat about Economy

A study released today by BMO Private Bank has revealed that affluent Arizonans are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy.  The study is the second in a series by BMO Private Bank examining trends among high-net worth individuals (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) in Arizona and across the country.

According to the study, 65 percent of Arizona’s affluent expect the U.S. economy to improve over the next year. Additionally, almost half (48 percent) say they are financially better off now than they were before the 2008 recession.

Other key highlights of the study include:

* Affluent Arizonans consider stocks (65 percent) and real estate (58 percent) as the investments most likely to deliver solid returns in the next five years.
* They see the health sector (83 percent) as the most promising in which to invest, followed by the energy and technology sectors (73 percent each). They are least optimistic about the mining (40 percent) and agricultural (28 percent) sectors.
* Arizona’s affluent are spending more or the same since before the recession on entertainment/leisure activities (88 percent) and vacations (85 percent).

“Confidence in the economy has given Arizona’s wealthy greater peace of mind,” said Mike Sullivan, CFA, Regional Director – Investments, Western US, BMO Private Bank. “They are relaxing more, spending more, and making more thoughtful decisions about their investment strategies – all of which will continue to help stimulate economic growth within the state.”

On a national level, the study found:

* Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of high-net worth Americans say they are better off today than they were before the recession.
* Sixty percent of the nation’s affluent are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy.
* They are most bullish about the technology (80 percent), health (78 percent) and energy (77 percent) sectors and least optimistic about the prospects for the manufacturing (50 percent), agricultural (46 percent) and mining (43 percent) sectors.
* They are spending more money or the same amount as before September 2008 in a number of areas, including:

* Entertainment and leisure activities (86 percent)
* Travel and vacations (83 percent)
* Club memberships (81 percent)
* Collections and hobbies (80 percent)
* Clothing and accessories (77 percent)

Todd Hatch

Washington Federal hires local talent

Washington Federal has announced that Todd Hatch has joined the bank as assistant vice president/regional sales manager. With over 14 years in corporate banking, he brings extensive experience to his new position, including a strong background specializing in the financing of transportation and construction equipment.

In his new role, Hatch will oversee equipment finance business development in a variety of markets, including healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and heavy commercial equipment.

Hatch received his bachelor’s degree in Spanish with minor in Latin American literature from Brigham Young University.

He is a Gilbert resident.

Kyrsten Sinema

AzBA Brings Regulatory Burden to Sinema

Seldom will you find a Member of Congress spending his or her few days out of session at a community bank.  That’s just where freshman U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema spent Wednesday afternoon. “It’s our job in Congress to strike the appropriate balance between a secure banking industry and adequate access to capital for families and small businesses,” said Sinema.  “In order to fortify the banking community –a core component of Arizona’s economy – we must strengthen access to capital for middle class families as well as review the impacts of regulatory burdens.”

The Arizona Bankers Association brought Representative Sinema to Arizona Bank & Trust in Phoenix on Wednesday.  Bank President and CEO, Jerry Schwallier, said “[t]his was a great opportunity to demonstrate to Arizona’s only banking committee Member how the decisions made  in Congress impact the people we serve in Arizona.  I wish more public officials would take the time to do what Ms. Sinema did today.”

Community bank presidents Gail Grace, Sunrise Bank; Mike Thorell, Pinnacle Bank; and Ed Zito, Alliance Bank, all attended the briefing along with Paul Hickman, CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association.  Hickman commented, “[t]he community banking industry in Arizona today is facing increased pressure on all fronts.  Our association’s highest priority is to help both banks and entire communities by acting as their liaison to the government.”

The industry is working to grow the economy in the wake of the 2008 recession while also responding to the most comprehensive banking reform law of modern times.  The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is 2,319 pages long.  By comparison, the last major banking industry reform law – Gramm Leach Bliley – was 144 pages.  The Dodd Frank Act directs 398 separate rulemakings, of which 148 have been finalized, 121 are in some form of promulgation and 129 have yet to be even proposed.

Biltmore Bank - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2012

Father-Son Bank On Arizona Business

Family-built Biltmore Bank of Arizona has assets totaling more than $260 million

The Lehmann family has a lot of baggage.

“When I finished grad school back in 1969, I got two job offers,” says Richard J. Lehmann. “One was with Ford Motor Company; the other with Citibank.”

The banking gig, however, meant moving to Europe, which actually sealed the deal.

“I was lucky enough to study abroad — and bum around Europe — while still in school, and both my wife and I are always up for adventure,” Lehmann says.

Over the next seven years, Lehmann’s rapidly growing career took him from Hamburg to Düsseldorf to Frankfurt to Kronberg, where his youngest son, Greg, was born. With two young children and extended family a continent away, the Lehmann family moved back to the U.S. in 1977, with Lehmann still focusing on international banking.

“Talk about a commute,” Lehmann says.

But the move wouldn’t take, just yet, and the family was back on the move in 1985 when Lehmann packed their bags for London to take a position overseeing all Middle East, European and African clients for Citibank.

Arizona, however, would eventually come calling.

The family finally unpacked its bags in Arizona in 1988, when Lehmann became chairman and CEO of Valley National Bank.

But just as the elder Lehmann was unpacking his bags in the Valley, youngest son Greg was picking up and moving to Vermont to study anthology in college.

While there, just as his father did, Greg spent a semester studying overseas (Asia), where he would return after graduation to volunteer with the building of schoolhouses in the developing nation of Nepal. Motivated, but lonely living alone in a small Nepalese village, Greg moved to New York City in the 1990s and took a job in advertising with such brands as Mercedes Benz and MLB, and then one with an Internet company. He even helped re-brand the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James was drafted.

By the early 2000s, with dad retired (and unretired) most recently from Bank One, where he worked as the bank’s president and COO, Greg was busy, too — getting married and starting a family in New York.

And then everything changed.

When Richard hosted his son’s family for Christmas in the early 2000s, he made a singular comment: “So, I am thinking of starting a bank.”

“Floored, my initial reaction was ‘Yeah sure, Dad.’ But as Christmas gave way to the New Year, I saw he was serious — and serious about recruiting me.”

By 2003, Richard and long-time colleague Jeffrey Gaia, with others, began planting the seeds for the Biltmore Bank of Arizona. After a lifetime of servicing some of the biggest businesses across the globe, Lehmann wanted to get personal.

“Truly understanding the needs of Arizona businesses and working with them face-to-face to ensure exceptional client service is our singular focus,” Richard says. “We wanted to be a part of each of our client’s growth — and the growth of the Arizona economy.”

Inspired, Greg packed his family’s bags and moved to the Valley for good in 2004, helping to launch the Biltmore Bank of Arizona with his father.

The father-son team proved a perfect fit. The Biltmore Bank now has two locations, 50 employees and assets totaling more than $260 million. They service hundreds of businesses in Arizona each day through customized loan solutions, SBA lending, treasury management, business checking, and online and mobile banking.

While other banks have closed in recent years due to the sagging economy, Biltmore has flourished, most recently receiving a cash infusion from Grandpoint Financial that will allow them to grow and invest with its current and prospective clients and consider possible acquisitions in the future.

“In order for us to support the continued growth, we need to have a strong balance sheet and a formidable capital position,” Richard says. “Arizona businesses will bounce back, and now we have the capital to help them.”

For more information on Biltmore Bank, visit Biltmore Bank’s website at biltmorebankaz.com.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012