Tag Archives: banking

Test

Tiffany & Bosco Names Fischbach as Shareholder

The law firm of Tiffany & Bosco P.A. announced that attorney William M. Fischbach III has been named as a Shareholder.  Fischbach concentrates his practice in commercial and civil litigation with an emphasis in real estate, banking, contract disputes, and personal injury. He brings over 13 years of leadership experience at the local, state, federal, and international levels, and in both the private and public sectors.  Will serves as Board Chairman for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Valley Young Professionals and as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Emerging Leaders Group.

Prior to joining Tiffany & Bosco, Fischbach gained invaluable courtroom and leadership experience in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.  He served as the chief prosecutor for the 101st Airborne Division, a criminal defense attorney in the 82nd Airborne Division, and an appeals attorney at U.S. Army Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Fischbach completed tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Republic of Korea, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq. He was honorably discharged in 2008 at the rank of Major.

He received his JD and MBA in 1999 from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA and a BS in Political Science from Arizona State University in 1994.

Test

Tiffany & Bosco Names Fischbach as Shareholder

The law firm of Tiffany & Bosco P.A. announced that attorney William M. Fischbach III has been named as a Shareholder.  Fischbach concentrates his practice in commercial and civil litigation with an emphasis in real estate, banking, contract disputes, and personal injury. He brings over 13 years of leadership experience at the local, state, federal, and international levels, and in both the private and public sectors.  Will serves as Board Chairman for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Valley Young Professionals and as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Emerging Leaders Group.

Prior to joining Tiffany & Bosco, Fischbach gained invaluable courtroom and leadership experience in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.  He served as the chief prosecutor for the 101st Airborne Division, a criminal defense attorney in the 82nd Airborne Division, and an appeals attorney at U.S. Army Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Fischbach completed tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Republic of Korea, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Action Badge for his service in Iraq. He was honorably discharged in 2008 at the rank of Major.

He received his JD and MBA in 1999 from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA and a BS in Political Science from Arizona State University in 1994.

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.

Pamela Overton Risoleo

31 Phoenix Greenberg Traurig attorneys earn honors

The international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP with 50 Arizona-based attorneys, has 22 attorneys on the 2013 Southwest Super Lawyers list, an independent rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas. In addition, the publication also named nine Greenberg Traurig attorneys as Southwest Rising Stars.

“We are extremely proud of this independent recognition by Super Lawyers,” said John E. Cummerford, a co-managing shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office. “The professionals included on this list are exceptional and truly deserving of this honor. I’m proud of the strength and local roots of our Phoenix office which is supported by our firm’s national resources and global reach.”

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters organization, is a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The mission of Super Lawyers is to bring visibility to those attorneys who exhibit excellence in practice.

Six Greenberg Traurig attorneys were also recognized on the “Top 50 Southwest Super Lawyers” list. They are: Brian H. Blaney, Rebecca L. Burnham, Robert S. Kant, Jeffrey H. Verbin, E. Jeffrey Walsh and Quinn P. Williams.

Three Greenberg Traurig attorneys were included in the Super Lawyers “Top 25 Arizona Women” list. They are: Rebecca Lynne Burnham, Stacey F. Gottlieb and Pamela Overton Risoleo.

More than 60 percent of the attorneys in Greenberg Traurig’s Phoenix office are included in the 2013 ranking. The attorneys named Southwest Super Lawyers include: Gil Rudolph, Jeffrey H. Verbin (Banking), David D. Cleary (Bankruptcy), Brian H. Blaney, Robert S. Kant, Bruce E. Macdonough, Quinn Williams (Corporate/Securities), Michelle De Blasi (Environmental), John E. Cummerford, Jerry Fellows, Frank G. Long (Intellectual Property), Laurent R. G. Badoux (Labor and Employment), Nicole M. Goodwin, Stacey F. Gottlieb, Pamela Overton Risoleo, Brian J. Schulman, Peter W. Sorensen, E. Jeffrey Walsh (Litigation), Rebecca Lynne Burnham, Kevin J. Morris, David M. Paltzik and Lesa J. Storey (Real Estate). Southwest Rising Stars include: Greenberg Traurig attorneys Michael L. Aguirre, Logan V. Miller, Katherine A. Swenson and Jeremy D. Zangara (Corporate/Securities), Kimberly A. Warshawsky (Intellectual Property), Dana L. Hooper, Nathan T. Mitchler, Laura Sixkiller and Tracy L. Weiss (Litigation.)

The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. In the United States, Super Lawyers Magazine is published in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., reaching more than 13 million readers.

veterans

USAA CEO Named Executive of the Year

Hiring and helping our veterans is as important today as it’s been at any other time in history. USAA’s chief executive officer will discuss how to assist veterans as they transition to civilian life when he’s honored for his achievements on April 25.

Ret. Maj. Gen. Josue “Joe” Robles served for 28 years in the U.S. Army. He now serves as president and chief executive officer of USAA, a Fortune 500 financial-services provider for members of the military and their families. This month, Robles becomes the 30th annual Executive of the Year chosen by the Dean’s Council of 100, a national group of prominent executives who advise the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“Robles has set a superb example in serving both his country and his customers,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Amy Hillman. “USAA is known for exceptional customer service and for aiding our active-duty military members, veterans and their families. We’re proud to honor these efforts.”

USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.6 million members of the U.S. military and their families. The organization is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. It was founded in 1922 and now employs more than 25,000 people at offices around the world, including one in the Phoenix area.

Robles was a USAA board member from 1990 to 1994, while he was still on active duty in the Army. His stellar armed-forces resume includes command and staff positions in Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Middle East. He has received many honors, including the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He also served as commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division (the oldest division in the U.S. Army, also known as “The Big Red One”) and director of the Army budget prior to joining USAA in 1994 as chief financial officer. He became president and CEO in 2007. This new recognition adds to his full shelf of awards.

“I couldn’t be more honored, especially in a community that’s so important to USAA and our mission,” Robles said. “As a veteran myself, I am looking forward to discussing how we can help members of the military transition into civilian careers.”

Robles was named the “No. 1 Veteran in Business” by The Christian Science Monitor in 2009. Among other honors, he also received the Horatio Alger Award for being a dedicated community leader, committed to excellence. He serves on several boards, including the American Red Cross Board of Governors and the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ San Antonio branch.

The event to honor Robles will be held Thursday, April 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale. The W. P. Carey School of Business Dean’s Council of 100 chose Robles to follow previous high-profile winners, including Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Inc.; Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company; and Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company.

This event is part of the Economic Club of Phoenix speaker series. For more information about the club or to reserve seats, call (480) 727-0596 or visit www.econclubphx.org.

skd258400sdc

2013 Top Lawyers list: Banking

Az Business magazine’s 2013 top lawyer list was created after the editorial department asked Arizona law firms to nominate their two best attorneys from 16 different categories for consideration. Those nominees were put on a ballot and were voted on by their peers in the legal community and the readers of Az Business magazine to determine the exclusive 2013 Az Business Magazine Top Lawyers list.

Mark Barker
Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7828
www.jhc-law.com
Barker has a busy commercial transaction practice representing financial institutions and Arizona small businesses.

Mark S. Bosco
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6006
www.tblaw.com
Bosco has published numerous articles on mortgage banking, default servicing and related topics.

Michael A. Bosco
Tiffany & Bosco, P.A.
602-255-6002
www.tblaw.com
As one of the largest financial services practices in the nation, Bosco represents more than 40 top banks and mortgage lenders including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Tia Cottey
Bryan Cave LLP
602-364-7012
www.bryancave.com
Cottey’s practice emphasizes all aspects of real estate finance and real estate capital markets, including the representation of lenders, commercial mortgage loan servicers, special servicers, participants, and co-lenders.

Erick S. Durlach
Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA
602-256-3008
www.rcdmlaw.com
Durlach  obtained summary judgment and dismissal of an action against a financial institution relating to claims for fraud, misrepresentation and indemnification.

Susan Gilman
Gordon Silver
602-256-0400
www.gordonsilver.com
Gilman is the chair of the firm’s Finance & Banking Practice Group and focuses her practice in areas of finance, banking and financial institutions/loan program development.

Richard H. Herold
Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.
602-382-6223
www.swlaw.com
A substantial portion of Herold’s work focuses on prosecuting claims for financial institutions, including commercial receiverships, trustee’s sales and post-sale deficiency litigation.

Stephen A. Lenn
Sacks Tierney P.A.
480-425-2619
www.sackstierney.com
Lenn’s practice focuses on banking law and regulation and debt and equity finance. He authored the article “Incentive Compensation for Banks in the Dodd-Frank Era” in February 2012.

Matthew Mehr
Quarles & Brady LLP
602-229-5288
www.quarles.com
Mehr focuses in the areas of real estate, commercial and tax-exempt finance. His experience includes negotiation and documentation of loan workout, extension and modification, and forbearance agreements.

Edmund F. Richardson
Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC
480-733-6800
www.davismiles.com
Richardson has more than 38 years experience and expertise in business, real estate and lending transactions and litigation in Arizona law firms and as in-house counsel to a real estate development firm.

Mike Ripp
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
602-440-4823
www.rcalaw.com
Ripp heads up the firm’s banking and finance practice, which was recently recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural “Best Law Firms” rankings as a “Tier 1” (top tier) practice in the Phoenix market.

Peter Terry
Quarles & Brady LLP
602-230-5506
www.quarles.com
Terry focuses in the areas of banking, commercial finance and real estate development and his experience includes representation of financial institutions in asset based and real estate financing.

housing.prices

Bankers: Don’t try to time the market

Timing is everything.

But when it comes to buying a house, Valley banking leaders says it’s best not to rely too much on timing.

“Potential buyers who are still on the sidelines waiting for housing prices to decline further may see themselves priced out of the market if interest rates rise,” says Carl Streicher, regional sales executive at Bank of America. “Timing the market is risky in that we never really know when the bottom has hit until it has passed us by. Also, buyers should be sure they are ready financially and personally to own a home before they purchase, so timing the market shouldn’t be the sole driver of a home purchase.”

According to Streicher, home affordability is at an all-time high, interest rates are at historic lows and home values are increasing. According to a Case-Shiller report released in December, Phoenix home prices have increased nearly 22 percent, leading the nation and indicating that the real estate market is on the rebound.

“Interest rates are starting to rise and home prices are rising due to greater demand, a relatively low supply of homes for sale and foreclosure sales falling,” says Kevin Sellers, executive vice president with First Fidelity Bank in Arizona. “So, if you’re able to take advantage of the lower current market with still affordable homes and historically low mortgage rates, chances are you’ll be making a good investment.”

Valley bankers are warning potential buyers that if they are waiting for home prices to “hit bottom,” they may miss the chance to be a homeowner altogether; prices may rise before we realize they were at their lowest point; or a rise in interest rate could potentially price buyers (particularly first-time buyers) out of the market.

“Trying to time the market when it comes to the purchase of a home is very difficult in any environment considering the complex market dynamics,” says Robert Winter, Arizona manager of mortgage lending for Mutual of Omaha Bank. “For example, if you try to time the market when it comes to home pricing, you risk missing a low interest rate environment. If you try to time the market when it comes to interest rates, you risk purchasing something you don’t necessarily like and possibly paying more than necessary. This doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that not all transactions close successfully, potentially leading to a loss of the time invested.”

While the real estate market and lending are starting to find their new normal, it depends on where you’re positioned as to whether we are currently experiencing a buyer’s market or seller’s market, Winter says.

“The market advantage differs depending on the price point,” Winter says. “In general, the market favors sellers. However, the advantage shifts to buyers when it comes to higher priced homes.”

If you are in a position to take advantage of the favorable climate in the real estate market, Streicher says to ask yourself a few questions before getting started in the home buying process:
• Are you ready to settle in one location for a while?
• What is the total cost of home ownership?
• Is your job stable?

“Buyers should also research their target neighborhood to establish a baseline for local selling prices and the amount of time properties in their target area stay on the market,” he says. “For those considering an upgrade to a larger home, there are still good options available to purchase higher-end properties using jumbo loans. Bank of America continues its jumbo financing, and offers competitive rates, when many other lenders were forced to discontinue these loans due to a lack of a secondary market.”

While bankers say it’s not wise to try to time the market, they agree that working with a mortgage professional and real estate professional to help meet your real estate goals and objectives is a sure-fire formula for success.

Affordability is great,” says Tim Disbrow, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “Rates are incredibly low. It is a great time to buy as long as it meets your financial needs.”

housing.prices

Bankers: Don't try to time the market

Timing is everything.

But when it comes to buying a house, Valley banking leaders says it’s best not to rely too much on timing.

“Potential buyers who are still on the sidelines waiting for housing prices to decline further may see themselves priced out of the market if interest rates rise,” says Carl Streicher, regional sales executive at Bank of America. “Timing the market is risky in that we never really know when the bottom has hit until it has passed us by. Also, buyers should be sure they are ready financially and personally to own a home before they purchase, so timing the market shouldn’t be the sole driver of a home purchase.”

According to Streicher, home affordability is at an all-time high, interest rates are at historic lows and home values are increasing. According to a Case-Shiller report released in December, Phoenix home prices have increased nearly 22 percent, leading the nation and indicating that the real estate market is on the rebound.

“Interest rates are starting to rise and home prices are rising due to greater demand, a relatively low supply of homes for sale and foreclosure sales falling,” says Kevin Sellers, executive vice president with First Fidelity Bank in Arizona. “So, if you’re able to take advantage of the lower current market with still affordable homes and historically low mortgage rates, chances are you’ll be making a good investment.”

Valley bankers are warning potential buyers that if they are waiting for home prices to “hit bottom,” they may miss the chance to be a homeowner altogether; prices may rise before we realize they were at their lowest point; or a rise in interest rate could potentially price buyers (particularly first-time buyers) out of the market.

“Trying to time the market when it comes to the purchase of a home is very difficult in any environment considering the complex market dynamics,” says Robert Winter, Arizona manager of mortgage lending for Mutual of Omaha Bank. “For example, if you try to time the market when it comes to home pricing, you risk missing a low interest rate environment. If you try to time the market when it comes to interest rates, you risk purchasing something you don’t necessarily like and possibly paying more than necessary. This doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that not all transactions close successfully, potentially leading to a loss of the time invested.”

While the real estate market and lending are starting to find their new normal, it depends on where you’re positioned as to whether we are currently experiencing a buyer’s market or seller’s market, Winter says.

“The market advantage differs depending on the price point,” Winter says. “In general, the market favors sellers. However, the advantage shifts to buyers when it comes to higher priced homes.”

If you are in a position to take advantage of the favorable climate in the real estate market, Streicher says to ask yourself a few questions before getting started in the home buying process:
• Are you ready to settle in one location for a while?
• What is the total cost of home ownership?
• Is your job stable?

“Buyers should also research their target neighborhood to establish a baseline for local selling prices and the amount of time properties in their target area stay on the market,” he says. “For those considering an upgrade to a larger home, there are still good options available to purchase higher-end properties using jumbo loans. Bank of America continues its jumbo financing, and offers competitive rates, when many other lenders were forced to discontinue these loans due to a lack of a secondary market.”

While bankers say it’s not wise to try to time the market, they agree that working with a mortgage professional and real estate professional to help meet your real estate goals and objectives is a sure-fire formula for success.

Affordability is great,” says Tim Disbrow, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. “Rates are incredibly low. It is a great time to buy as long as it meets your financial needs.”

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Are Arizona banks lending?

Are they or aren’t they?

Banks can only stay in business by making loans, not turning away customers who want to borrow money. So why does the public believe that banks aren’t lending?

“The truth of the matter is that when things were really bad a few years ago, banks weren’t lending,” said Robert Sarver, CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation. “The banking business, not unlike other businesses, tend to react and overreact and sometime we react too much when times are good and we lend too much money on too liberal terms, and when times are tough, we don’t lend enough money and are too conservative.”

Banks are a business — a unique kind of business — that is under significant pressure to make a profit like any other like any other business. A typical bank, in healthy years, should earn a return on assets (ROA) of 1.1 percent to 1.5 percent. That translates into an return on equity (ROE), because of leverage, of anywhere between 8 percent and 18 percent, similar to most other businesses.

A bank makes its money by investing deposits into either securities or loans, both of which earn a return. Typically, loans earn more than securities and both earn more than what banks pay out to depositors. Although loans earn more, they come with a credit loss rate that a securities portfolio generally does not have. In 2009, in the depths of the economic crisis, a typical bank had a loan loss rate of 1.73 percent on its loan portfolio, which ate into the profitability of the bank. So what does a bank to do when it incurs such high loss rates in its loan portfolio? It invests in fewer loans.

But that is changing. Banks have increased their lending for four of the last five quarters, but Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) acting chairman Martin Gruenberg, is still taking a ”wait and see if the trend toward increased lending can be sustained” approach.

“Banks are lending today, and most banks have excess liquidity that they would prefer to put out in loans,” said Keith Maio, president and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank of Arizona. “Those that feel that banks aren’t lending are likely those who have had their credit compromised in recent years. Loan demand is down from consumers and businesses particularly, since the recession. The recession has caused many personal borrowers to be more conservative in their approach to leverage. Businesses tend to increase borrowing when their revenues are increasing and they need to finance that growth.”

Sarver said that banks do want to lend, “but unfortunately there is a lot of regulation in our industry, which to a certain degree has stifled long-term growth because our capital requirements have almost doubled over the last five years, so that’s been another barrier to banks lending money.”

As an outgrowth of those regulatory changes, lending standards have tightened in certain consumer loan categories like mortgages, experts said. But while mortgage rules have changed, lending standards for business haven’t seen dramatic shifts.

“Commercial lending standards for owner-occupied real estate and commercial and industrial loans have not changed much,” said Kevin Sellers, executive vice president with First Fidelity Bank in Arizona. “For investment property loans, banks are requiring owners to maintain more equity capital in the properties and higher net operating income relative to the property debt service.”

According to Adam White, senior vice president of credit administration at Biltmore Bank of Arizona, bankers have always used the “Five C’s of Credit” to determine if a business is credit worthy.  Those included:
1. Cash flow – history of positive cash flows and probability of recurring
2. Collateral – adequate collateral support
3. Capital – adequate capital to support normal business operations
4. Conditions – what’s affecting the business
5. Character – who are the people behind the business

“In today’s environment, banks emphasize ALL five elements,” White said, “whereas in the past too much reliance may have been placed upon appreciating collateral values under unsustainable market conditions.”

Kevin Halloran, Arizona state president of Mutual of Omaha Bank, said that while there have been shifts in the requirements banks are setting for lending, he sees the industry taking steps toward normalcy.

“I believe lending standards have returned to the original norm,” he said. “In the early to mid-2000s, the banking industry required only limited borrower documentation relating to income and other basic information for residential loans. Now, the industry is requesting proper information to make sound decisions.”

On the business lending side of the equation, “lending standards over the past 10 months have loosened in both pricing and structure for both large and small companies,” Halloran said.

And while some banks have pulled back lending activity, it’s definitely not the case at many Arizona banks.

“Loans at our company have grown 8 percent this year and in discussions with my colleagues at other financial institutions in the Valley, they are experiencing similar results,” said Dave Ralston, chairman and CEO of Bank of Arizona. “Loans are the lifeblood of a bank and at Bank of Arizona. loan growth is our number one priority.  We are seeing increasing demand from credit-worthy consumers and businesses in the Valley.”

Halloran echoed Ralston’s observations.

“Over the past three years, we have completed more than $500 million in new loans in Arizona,” Halloran said. “That includes commercial loans and commercial real estate financing across multiple industries, as well as private banking loans and residential mortgages. Our local commercial banking group has provided local businesses with working capital, revolving lines of credit, equipment loans, owner-occupied loans and merger and acquisition loans. Our commercial real estate group has provided loans in industrial, multi-family, senior and student housing, charter schools and multiple other real estate segments. So we have been – and will continue to be – a very active lender.”

A positive result in the changes in lending banks have been forced to examine in the wake of the Recession is that bank have learned lessons that will create a stronger business model for the industry.

“Banks need to consistently monitor their concentrations in all lending sectors and understand they can only provide so much capital to any one industry,” Halloran said. “Arizona’s population grew so much over the past decade that it resulted in a substantial need for real estate lending. The concentration Arizona banks had in real estate negatively affected all Arizona banks.  In the future, I believe all banks will be better at managing their overall balance sheet risk as a percentage of capital.”

153888767

National Bank of Arizona Hires New Business Banking Manager

National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ) announced the hire of new business banking manager, Ward Hickey. Hickey has more than 25 years of experience in the Arizona banking industry, specializing in entrepreneurship, business development and small business administration (SBA) lending.

“I am thrilled to join the NB|AZ team,” Hickey said. “I’m looking forward to expanding the small business products group and developing mutually beneficial partnerships for the bank and the companies we serve.”

In his new role as business banking manager, Hickey will focus on growing deposit and lending products in the SBA department, reinforcing the strong commitment NB|AZ has to fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of Arizona. He will work directly under Brent Cannon, executive vice president and director of community banking, managing a small team of bankers at the NB|AZ Corporate Headquarters at the Biltmore.

“We are extremely pleased that Ward has joined the team at NB|AZ,” Cannon said. “His specialty in the small business segment, and specifically SBA guaranteed loans, will add considerable value to our organization. Under Ward’s leadership, NB|AZ will continue and improve our products and services to small businesses throughout Arizona.”

Prior to joining NB|AZ, Hickey held several executive positions and shared his expertise with various local and national banks, including Heritage Bank, Wells Fargo and Alerus Bank and Trust, among others. Over the course of his career, Hickey has procured and funded more than $500 million in SBA and commercial loan volume.

Hickey has been recognized with many awards for his exemplary work, including the 2006 SBA Financial Services National Champion of the Year, 2000-2003 SBA Arizona Small Business Banker, and the 2000 Southwestern Business Financing Corporation Banker of the Year.

In addition to his professional success, Hickey dedicates a significant portion of his time to giving back to the community through board positions with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix and the Arizona State University Dean’s Council.

Scottsdale Opening - Branch Picture

UMB opens Scottsdale banking center

UMB Bank Arizona, a subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: UMBF) announced the opening of a new full-service banking center in Scottsdale. Positioned in Kierland Commons, the new UMB Bank is located at 16210 North Scottsdale Road.

In addition to full-service consumer banking, the Scottsdale location will include private banking, investment and wealth management services and commercial banking. Customer amenities will consist of a drive up ATM and night depository.

Given UMB’s commitment to sustainability, the banking center is seeking LEED certification. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building rating system is a national benchmark for environmentally friendly, high-performance buildings.

The building was constructed according to the standards set forth in the LEED certification guidelines. The standards implemented include: daylighting and lighting controls, a highly efficient heating and cooling system, reflective roofing and concrete paving, using recycled and regional materials, recycling on site during and after construction, water-saving plumbing fixtures and the use of low-emitting materials such as paint, carpet and sealants.

“UMB offers an array of banking services with expertise our clients can count on,” said Jim Patterson, chief executive officer, UMB Bank-Arizona.  “Our continued expansion in Scottsdale and Phoenix will allow UMB to be a convenient banking alternative.”

The Kierland Commons banking center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To contact the Kierland Commons UMB Bank, call (480) 315-6800 or visit the UMB website at www.umb.com.

78425243

National Bank of Arizona adds medical banking services

National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ) announces the addition of premium, specialized banking services specifically for physicians, to accommodate the bank’s growing niche of medical banking clients. This specialty and expansion will be led by seasoned NB|AZ banker, Suzy Powell, and recent hire, Paula Wichterman.

The new specialty provides an opportunity for local medical professionals to access banking services and benefits, offered exclusively at NB|AZ. The elite program includes premium pricing on interest-bearing accounts, convenient one-on-one personalized service at home or at the office, expedited responses to all banking and loan requests, and a unique home financing program.

“At National Bank of Arizona, we believe that our specialized loan program for physicians is a great opportunity for doctors to purchase or refinance their primary residence and take advantage of these record low interest rates,” said Paula Wichterman, vice president of National Bank of Arizona’s Medical Private Banking Division. “An added benefit is that NB|AZ provides physicians with concierge style banking by a dedicated relationship manager who can work around their busy schedules to ensure their loan and banking needs are met.”

As a vice president in the private banking sector, Wichterman is responsible for increasing NB|AZ’s focus on the physician banking market, in addition to contributing to NB|AZ’s overall strategy, growth and performance. With the goal of generating awareness of the bank’s new offering, NB|AZ has made an effort to partner with local medical associations and groups in several philanthropic endeavors. Prior to joining NB|AZ, Paula spent nine years in various advisor roles for two national banks.

“The medical professionals in our state are tasked with the important job of keeping our friends and families healthy, and shouldn’t be burdened with the strain of navigating financial services that are not tailored to their individual needs,” said Suzy Powell, vice president of National Bank of Arizona’s Medical Executive Banking Division. “We have specialized the integrated, personal approach to banking at NB|AZ to fit with the unique needs of these clients. We’re proud to support their long-term wealth management goals, guiding financial success from behind the scenes.”

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

justice.scales.and.gavel

Arizona’s Top Lawyers – 2012 Banking & Business/Corporate Law

Arizona Business Magazine used its own research, solicited input from legal experts, and referenced professional ratings and rankings to determine the legal professionals who made the 2012 Top Lawyers list.


[stextbox id="grey"]

Categories

Banking Healthcare
Business/Corporate Law Intellectual Property
Construction Litigation Mergers and Acquisitions
Employment/Labor
Relations
Real Estate
Environmental Law Securities and Corporate Finance
Estate and Trust Litigation Tax

[/stextbox]


BANKING

Michael A. Bosco ◆ Tiffany & Bosco
602-255-6002 ◆ tblaw.com
Bosco represents more than 40 top banks and mortgage lenders — including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae — and private mortgage insurance companies.

Mark S. Bosco ◆ Tiffany & Bosco
602-255-6006 ◆ tblaw.com
Bosco is a lecturer at regional and national mortgage banking and default servicing seminars, and he has published numerous articles on mortgage banking, default servicing and related topics.

Scott DeWald ◆ Lewis and Roca
602-262-5333 ◆ lrlaw.com
DeWald’s practice focuses on the legal needs of high-tech, e-commerce and emerging companies and limited liability companies.

Dean Dinner ◆ Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner, P.C.
480-609-0011 ◆ nussbaumgillis.com
Negotiated and documented DIP financing transactions for both factoring companies and asset based lenders.

Richard Goldsmith ◆ Lewis and Roca
602-262-5341 ◆ lrlaw.com
Goldsmith practices primarily in the areas of lending, equipment leasing and sales, real estate, and general contract drafting.

W. Scott Jenkins ◆ Ryley Carlock and Applewhite
602-440-4890 ◆ rcalaw.com
Jenkins is a member of the fi rm’s Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights, Real Estate, Litigation, and Transportation practice groups.

Thomas E. Littler ◆ Gordon Silver
602-256-0400 ◆ gordonsilver.com
Littler represents debtors and creditors, trustees, official committees, and secured creditors in reorganizations in a wide range of industries.

Jared Parker ◆ DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy, P.C.
602-282-0500 ◆ deconcinimcdonald.com
Parker focuses on business restructuring and bankruptcy, litigation and creditors’ rights.

John Randolph ◆ Sherman & Howard
602-240-3000 ◆ sah.com
Randolph represents lenders in connection with workouts, prejudgment strategy and remedies and trustee’s sales foreclosures.

William G. Ridenour ◆ Ridenour, Hienton & Lewis
602-254-9900 ◆ rhkl-law.com
Ridenour’s practice emphasizes transactional, banking and corporate law.

Gil Rudolph ◆ Greenberg Traurig, LLP
602-445-8206 ◆ gtlaw.com
Rudolph representats finance companies, mortgage lenders, banks, title insurance companies and other consumer financial service providers.


BUSINESS/CORPORATE LAW

Mark Barker ◆ Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
602-234-7828 ◆ jhc-law.com
Barker has a busy commercial transaction practice representing financial institutions and Arizona small businesses, commercial litigation practice with an emphasis on surety law, construction law and business dispute resolution.

Edwin D. Fleming ◆ Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.
602-234-9921 ◆ bcattorneys.com
Fleming has successfully prosecuted and defended professionals, including lawyers and accountants, in cases involving high-stakes financial fraud and securities issues.

Dan Garrison ◆ Andante Law Group
480-421-9449 ◆ andantelaw.com
In 2007, Garrison received the “Turnaround of the Year” Award from the Arizona Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association.

Larry A. Hammond ◆ Osborn Maledon
602-640-9361 ◆ omlaw.com
Hammond served as an Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor in 1973- 1974. One of his specialities is commercial litigation.

John L. Hay ◆ Gust Rosenfeld PLC
602-257-7468 ◆ gustlaw.com
Hay practices general corporate and commercial law, with emphasis on representing small- and medium-sized businesses.

John A. Klecan ◆ Renaud Cook Drury Mesaros, PA
602-307-9900 ◆ rcdmlaw.com
Klecan has been involved in precedent-setting products liability litigation, in Arizona and other jurisdictions.

P. Robert Moya ◆ Quarles & Brady
602-230-5580 ◆ quarles.com
Moya’s practice focuses on middle-market and emerging entrepreneurial and growth companies.

Brett Johnson ◆ Snell & Wilmer
602-382-6312 ◆ swlaw.com
Johnson’s practice includes representation in business, export, government contracting, and health care matters.

Michael Manning ◆ Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
602-212-8503 ◆ stinson.com
Manning’s practice focuses on antitrust, business litigation, class actions, business litigation, governance, risk and compliance.

Kevin Olson ◆ Steptoe & Johnson
602-257-5275 ◆ steptoe.com
Olson’s focus is general corporate advice, mergers and acquisitions, securities and corporate finance, and other commercial transactions.

Brian Spector ◆ Jennings Strouss
602-262-5977 ◆ jsslaw.com
Spector is a business lawyer and litigator whose practice focuses on debt resolution, bankruptcy litigation and collection matters.

Arizona Business Magazine has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but does not warrant that the information contained herein is a complete or exhaustive list of the top lawyers in Arizona, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

banking program

National Bank Of Arizona Introduces New Medical Banking Program

National Bank of Arizona’s Wealth Strategies division is pleased to announce the launch of the new Medical Banking Program at National Bank of Arizona.

The banking program introduces a new opportunity to service affluent medical professionals in Arizona with the launch of a new loan program providing a 95% loan-to-value option on a new home purchase or the refinancing of an existing home. This banking program is exclusive to clients who qualify for Executive Banking or Private Banking with National Bank of Arizona. Both divisions within the organization will be dedicating resources to develop and grow this niche segment of business.

Suzy Powell will move to the position of Medical Banking Relationship Manger for the organization’s Executive Banking division. With more than 30 years of experience, Powell brings a broad range of banking knowledge to the position, including information in trust services, estates and private banking. In her new role, Powell will be responsible for acquiring new physician relationships for National Bank of Arizona.

Paula O’Neal Wichterman recently joined National Bank of Arizona as Vice President for Private Banking at the Gainey Ranch location. In this role, she is responsible for increasing NB|AZ’s focus on the physician banking market, in addition to contributing to the Private Bank’s overall strategy, growth and performance. Before joining NBAZ, Wichterman spent the last nine years in various advisor roles for MidFirst and Compass Bank in both private banking and credit administration.

With continued development of this arm of business for National Bank of Arizona, medical professionals will have the opportunity to work closely with a financial planner to assess their current financial plans and future goals; providing an important growth strategy for the organization. Similarly, National Bank of Arizona’s Mortgage Department also will offer a Physician 30-year loan for medical professionals.

For more information on National Bank Of Arizona and their new medical banking program, visit National Bank Of Arizona’s website at nbarizona.com.

Arizona Business Financing

Arizona Business Financing on the Rise

Arizona Business Financing: Even as the economic recovery seems stuck in neutral, Arizona business financing is increasing for both large and small firms.

“At Arizona Business Bank, we have noticed a resurgent, but cautious, interest from commercial clients in fortifying their working capital lines of credit and discussing owner-occupied real estate plans,” said Toby Day, president of Arizona Business Bank, which is part of CoBiz Financial, a $2.4 billion financial holding company based in Denver.

Of the bankers asked, all pointed to the bargains available in the commercial real estate industry, particularly the office market, as an impetus for businesses requesting financing.

“This year, the primary requests for financing are coming from businesses that have decided to take advantage of the market to buy buildings or, given their equity position, to refinance their building to take advantage of the low interest rate environment, including some who are taking advantage of the (Small Business Administration’s) new refinance program,” says Dee Burton, senior vice president, regional manager for Alliance Bank of Arizona.

According to a Phoenix Metro report from the brokerage firm of Cassidy Turley BRE, the vacancy rate for the office market stood at 28.3 percent during the first quarter of this year, up from 28 percent at the end of 2010. With vacancy rates still rising in the office market, business owners are finding prices that were unseen during the building boom.

“Current low rates seem to favor leasing, however, decreases in real estate values suggest opportunities to purchase the building at less than historic replacement costs,” Day says. “These factors, coupled with a low fixed-rate environment and increased bank willingness to lend have created a favorable financing arena.”

Depreciation changes included in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act, and the Small Business Jobs Act also are spurring businesses to pursue loans. According to Deloitte, under the two laws all qualified property acquired between Jan. 1, 2008 and Sept. 8, 2010 has 50 percent bonus depreciation; the bonus depreciation for qualified property acquired and placed in service between Sept. 9, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011 is 100 percent; and for qualified property acquired and in service between Jan. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012, the bonus depreciation is 50 percent.

“With the bonus depreciation incentives coming from the Small Business Jobs Act, we’re starting to see more requests for equipment financing particularly in health care, such as MRIs, and dental and optical equipment,” Burton says.

Depreciation laws notwithstanding, a number of companies are seeking financing to replace equipment — purchases that have been deferred in some cases since 2008.

“Demand for equipment financing is also increasing in many sectors due to economic conditions moderating and slightly improving and companies being unable to defer capital expenditures for improved efficiencies, replacement needs and near-term projected growth,” says Scott Schaefer, president of Meridian Bank.

Fattening up lean inventories is proving to be another incentive for companies to seek new sources of financing.

“During the downturn, (businesses) were able to generate cash by shrinking inventories and collecting accounts receivable,” says Dean Rennell, Wells Fargo regional president, Arizona Business Banking. “That cycle is reversing now, creating a need for financing.”

Despite signs of improvement, Brent Cannon, executive vice president and director of Metro Banking at National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ), says loan demand remains tepid due to economic uncertainty and the “weakened state or quality of loan applicants.” He added that the bank forecasts loan demand will “remain somewhat soft in 2011” until the economy shows more significant recovery and unemployment numbers drop.

While the slow economic recovery is causing many businesses to shy away from asking for loans, Day at Arizona Business Bank says banks also have some soul-searching to do.

“Industry wide, banks have been somewhat introspective and the calling efforts (planned sales calls) on clients diminished,” he says. “According to industry trade groups, the number of calls to clients over the past three years has been the lowest since the late 1980s. Increased calling efforts by Arizona banks will be mirrored by decreasing loan problems for the banks — both of which will drive renewed growth in our market. We are optimistic for the mid- and long-term future for our state.”

For more information on Arizona Business Financing, please visit: www.sba.gov

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Emily Amparan, Alternative Finance Research - AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Women In Banking: Emily Amparan, Alternative Finance Research

Emily Amparan is an alternative lending broker at her own firm, Alternative Finance Research.

Amparan is using her many years of experience in the banking and finance industry to help lead the Women in Banking group. She is the committee chair representing Women in Banking on the Risk Management Association’s board of directors, and leads a team of seven businesswomen to organize goals and objectives for Women in Banking luncheons and events. Here, Amparan talks about what motivated her to join the Women and Banking group and its future goals.

What was the main reason for starting Women in Banking?
Women in Banking (WIB) started out as a way for women in the banking/finance industry to connect, and was initially more social than business. Over the last three years, the group has become the networking arm of the Risk Management Association, attracting both women and men in and outside of banking/finance. WIB has garnered the attention of the banking/finance/business community and is recognized as the premier networking group to meet business professionals.

How did the group start?
The group began with a few RMA board members organizing a small group of women in 2006 for lunch at a local restaurant. For the next couple of years attendance grew slowly with quarterly meetings held in various bank conference rooms. When I joined the leadership team in early 2008, we shifted gears by organizing our networking component, we began raising funds for our community outreach efforts, and we sharpened our presentation topics.

How has the group evolved?
Last year, Women in Banking drew 100-plus luncheon attendees and doubled its fundraising capacity for consistent donated dollars to Fresh Start. The group does not exclude men and male attendance is growing. Smart men recognize the businesswomen in attendance are the powerhouses of their industry and experts in building business relationships.

How would you describe  the state of women in the banking world today?
Women have professional opportunities today like never before. Women look, walk, talk and conduct business differently than they did just 50 years ago. … Women are masters at building trust and relationships; two qualities that give them a “leg up” in carving out a path for themselves in banking/finance/business and muscle to continually chip away at the remnants of a glass ceiling.

What programs has the group initiated to help women in the banking industry?
The Women in Banking committee draws interest by addressing three key areas of working professional need: networking, community outreach and information. Through organized networking, luncheon attendees are encouraged to meet new people to exchange ideas and contact information. The energy at a WIB luncheon is electric and charged with introductions and connections to business and business resources.

With tight schedules in mind, opportunities to support our chosen charity Fresh Start through money, volunteering and clothes donations provide professionals an opportunity to be a part their community. Finally, luncheon presentations deliver timely and relevant information regarding banking, finance and business topics.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Advance And Retain Women’s Role In The Financial Field - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Two Valley Groups Are Working To Advance And Retain Women’s Role In The Financial Field

It wasn’t so long ago that a typical business meeting at a banking or financial institution was dominated by the good ol’ boys network. Well, not anymore. Today, you are likely to see more women among the dark suits at the table.

“I have watched women evolve,” says Deborah Bateman, executive vice president of specialty banking and marketing at National Bank of Arizona, and a founder of the Women’s Financial Group. Bateman boasts a professional background spanning more than 40 years in the banking industry.

“Early in my career, I think we tried to mirror men,” she says. “Over time, women have recognized the skill sets they can bring to business, such as collaboration, connecting, coaching (and) creating value inside Corporate America.”

Women’s roles in the banking and finance sectors are widening, and the proof is in the numbers. In 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 54 percent of American women were employed in fields related to financial activities. This includes finance and insurance, banking and related activities, securities, commodities, funds, trusts and other financial investments. In Arizona, the percentage of women working in the finance and insurance industry also is significant. U.S. Census data shows there are actually more women than men working in these industries.

Although women have come a long way from their beginnings in these formerly male-dominated sectors, it is an ongoing struggle. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the disparity in salaries for men and women is significant.

In the Phoenix Metro area, during the third quarter of 2009, women made up 14.4 percent of the 35-44 age work force in finance and insurance (private sector) versus 10.4 percent for men. However, women in these fields average a monthly salary of $4,350, compared to men’s $6,643. For women aged 45 to 54, the salary gap grows even wider. In this age group, men on average earn 64 percent more.

“Women need to be more assertive about asking for money and tooting their own horn,” says Donna Davis, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) and a member of the Women’s Financial Group. “It’s OK to promote your organization, it’s OK to ask for money and to ask for more.”

However, Emily Amparan, vice president of development at Factors Southwest, says she thinks the numbers don’t reflect the real gains women are making.

“I always hold those figures suspect, as I rarely encounter hindrances to make money and achieve success in the financial field,” she says. “I think if you believe it to be so, it probably is … however, the most successful women in the finance industry don’t pay any mind to talk of obstacles, as they forge ahead to make their own path.”

Helping women make their own paths in the financial sector is the mission of a number of organizations emerging all over the Valley. For example, Bateman founded an internal mentorship program at National Bank of Arizona in 2009, that quickly expanded to outside industries and individuals. Later renamed the Women’s Financial Group, the organization’s focus is to bring together women of all professional backgrounds to promote financial planning, mentoring, business services and networking.

Bateman says she hopes the Women’s Financial Group can serve as a catalyst for women to succeed and attain higher positions in banking and finance without compromising their identities.

“For years and years, we would dress in tailored blue suits and wear ties,” Bateman recalls. “Women can be women in the business world. It brings enormous value to business, to their organizations and to the community.”

In addition, Davis says the group can help “women become more savvy financial business people.”

At a recent Women’s Financial Group event, women of diverse backgrounds, both personal and professional, filled the room. Some women were just beginning their careers and some were veterans with decades of experience. But all were there with a mission: to pave the way for future success in their respective financial careers.

Another group aimed at women in the financial sector is Women in Banking, the local chapter of the national Risk Management Association. Founded in 2006, its first meeting took place at a Chevy’s restaurant with 14 business women in attendance. Today, the group includes 50 to 80 bankers, consultants, marketers and business owners from around the Valley. And despite its name, the committee encourages men to join and attend its events.

“There is definitely a need for a professional organization that brings business and banking together for positive networking,” says Amparan, who is a member of the organization’s leadership team.

Along with helping women plot their careers in financing, Women in Banking is a strong supporter of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women in areas such as career change, personal growth, family relationships and more. The group collects clothes for donation and works to raise money to sponsor Fresh Start’s annual golf tournament and fashion show.

That type of commitment to all women in the community is just one example of the impact women professionals in finance are making.

“Women in business are tremendous bridge builders and relationship makers,” Amparan says. “Banking and finance has become more of a warm, open environment to the credit of professional women across the state and country. People are starting to take notice of the successful way women are starting to do business and build relationships.”

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Reduce Carbon Emissions - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Data Centers Are Doing Their Part To Reduce Carbon Emissions

Anytime a business owner goes online to bank, shop for equipment or place a classified ad for a new employee, chances are they are navigating what’s become known as the cloud — a metaphor for the Internet where business transactions are more and more commonplace and economically sensible.

And Phoenix, interestingly, has its own slice of this cloud with large data centers operating in the desert, free from natural disasters and other forces that could impact the vital necessity of data being available and uninterrupted in a 24/7/365 environment.

While data centers use a significant amount of energy — think of the thousands of computer servers housing banking operations, business software and more — data centers are being recognized for their positive impact on the environment.

The reason is simple: Data centers move business into the digital age. Processes that are digitized produce less carbon emissions than their analog counterparts, and data centers provide the infrastructure enabling this digitization to occur. Both serve as the foundation for an energy-efficient enterprise.

The transition from physical, “offline” processes to digital, online processes is referred to as digitization or dematerialization. Research has shown that by digitizing or “dematerializing” processes there is a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Large, modern, commercial-grade data centers utilize the latest technologies and provide energy savings through economies of scale.

With the advent of the commercial Internet in the 1990s, companies have improved how they interact with their customers, partners and employees. Prior to the World Wide Web and e-mail, businesses and government transacted in mostly inefficient and unconnected ways. For example, in order to pay a bill, the customer would send a paper-based check by mail, which would be delivered to the recipient by way of a network of carbon-emitting postal vehicles.

Today, bills can be paid online in a matter of minutes. By digitizing this offline process, the need for material (i.e. paper) to be created and transported has been eliminated. This in turn has resulted in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

Over the past 20 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of offline processes that have been digitized — everything from software distribution to financial transactions to medical record keeping. The combined effect of all of these digital processes is a macro-scale reduction in the overall use of materials and a more efficient distribution of the materials.

The impact of dematerialization has been quantified by a number of prominent corporations and research institutions, including Microsoft, Intel, Lawrence Berkley Labs and Stanford University.

A recent paper by Dr. Jonathan Koomey, senior researcher for Lawrence Berkley Labs, studied the impact on CO2 emissions resulting from the purchase of music online as compared to the purchase of a compact disc at a music store. Their research shows that the process of purchasing music online can reduce CO2 emissions, on a conservative basis, between 40 percent and 80 percent.

A comparative carbon footprint study of Microsoft’s Office 2007 product suite found that the digital delivery of their product to customers reduced carbon emissions by 88 percent.

According to NPG Group, Apple leads the U.S. with 25 percent of all music sold, surpassing both Wal-Mart and Amazon.com. Apple’s iTunes music service has materially changed the way music is purchased and in so doing has eliminated a substantial portion of the carbon footprint related to the offline distribution of music.

iTunes, software distribution, online bill payment and many other digital services are delivered by a complex array of IT systems, including servers and telecommunications networks. These servers and networks are located in data centers. Data centers provide the infrastructure (i.e. power, cooling, network access) required by these digital services to function.

Most corporate data centers are built to accommodate the IT needs of a single business unit or department. Large, commercial-grade data centers leverage the economies of scale to reduce energy consumption. Instead of operating 10 smaller data centers, an organization could consolidate its IT infrastructure into one or two large data centers and reduce the costs and energy associated with operating separate cooling, UPS, backup power and network access systems.

Modern data centers use the latest technologies and engineering best practices including variable frequency drives, light-emitting diodes (LED) fixtures, thermal energy storage, photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays, ultrasonic humidification and sealed cabinets. Collectively, these systems contribute to a significant reduction in energy consumption — especially during peak load periods.

By combining digitized processes with the economies of scale recognized at large, modern, commercial-grade data centers, today’s enterprise can materially reduce the energy it consumes and greatly improve its efficiency. As consumers, businesses and government look for more efficient ways to communicate and transact, dematerialization and data centers will provide the foundation for a more energy efficient enterprise.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

money, cash, hundred dollar bills

This Isn’t the First Crisis The Valley’s Banking Industry Has Faced

The Valley has come a long way over the past 25 years, and the banking and financial sector is no exception. Challenges, crises and legislation brought about dramatic change that has created a new era in banking and finance. In the mid-80s local banks dominated the sector, while regional and national banks were nonexistent. The Valley was home to the “big three” — Valley National, First Interstate Bank of Arizona and The Arizona Bank.

The financial sector was real estate driven, with a considerable concentration in housing and commercial real estate development. Second to real estate were the “Five C’s” of Arizona’s economy: climate, cotton, citrus, cattle and copper.

The savings and loan and real estate crises of the late-80s were the turning point in the Valley’s banking sector. At a time when Arizona’s “big three” were suffering, large banking corporations invaded. Bank of America’s first “real” presence in the Valley was assimilating five different savings and loans in the state.

In summary, there have been many milestones over the past 25 years that have shaped the banking sector. Such milestones include sustaining itself through the S&L crisis and the severe commercial real estate downturn of the late-80s; recovering from the infamous Lincoln Savings and American Continental debacle; weathering the “dot-com” implosion of 2000; and passing the Interstate Banking Act that led to dramatic industry consolidation of local banks into regional, national and global banking organizations. More recently, the securitization boom in both the residential and commercial real estate market revolutionized real estate lending.

Today’s “big three” — Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America — control the vast majority of deposits statewide and a much more dramatic concentration of banking resources overall. But more importantly, small and mid-size banks have reemerged. 
There is also now more proactive leadership in the business community.

Arizona and the Valley have a more diverse economic base due to the dramatic progress of our investment in education, as well as the high-tech, defense, life sciences, health care, biotech, telecom, optics, hospitality, entertainment and transportation industries. We now have an “alignment” of stakeholders, including the public, business, academic and philanthropic sectors, and therefore stronger initiatives for more diverse economic development, such as sustainable systems, solar and renewable energy and land management.

That said, in 2009 we are again faced with many economic challenges that will no doubt continue to shape our industry and affect how we operate. Banks need to grow wiser and smarter in serving their communities and Arizona’s businesses. We are resource constrained from a state revenue standpoint and by expenditures driven by our phenomenal population growth and federal-mandated programs. Arizona is a high-growth state and we need to strike the right balance between infrastructure “catch-up” and smart and balanced growth. The banking industry has and will continue to support a more knowledge-based and service-oriented economy.

What does the future hold for the banking and financial sector? Banks will need to play a transformational leadership role in public issues, specifically economic diversification and development, as well as public finance. The industry must become a recognized leader for innovative approaches to capital formation and connecting intellectual capital with financial capital.

We must also promote a diverse array of financial institutions from small local community banks and mid-size niche banks to larger regional and global institutions that promote cross-border trade finance and strategic alliances.

There is no doubt that the next 25 years will bring as many challenges and reforms as we have overcome in the past, but our state’s banks will regain their strength; the strong will survive, consolidate the weak and prosper with our state’s growth. And as Arizona’s banking industry continues to grow stronger and smarter, we foster confidence as we reaffirm the leadership role in Arizona’s economic foundation.

merger

The Wave Of Bank Mergers Has Changed The State’s Financial-Services Landscape

The banking industry has plenty of troubles, but in Arizona, the least of its problems is the aftermath of recent mergers. Bankers and industry observers say the state’s financial-services landscape hasn’t significantly changed because of the consolidations. Other than the usual branch closings and potential employee layoffs, they don’t see a big shakeup looming. One expert, however, wonders if continuing mergers nationally will lead to a banking system dominated by giant institutions that no one can afford to have fail.

There have been five bank mergers in Arizona since last summer. JPMorgan Chase & Co. acquired Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo & Company acquired Wachovia Bank and National Bank of Arizona absorbed Silver State Bank branches in Arizona. Mutual of Omaha entered the local market with its acquisition of First National Bank of Arizona, and US Bank acquired Downey Savings & Loan branches in Arizona.

“If you take a look at Phoenix and compare it to other communities, we have a large number of financial institutions,” says Lynne Herndon, Phoenix city president of BBVA Compass, formerly Compass Bank. “If you paint it with a broad brush, while there have been a significant number of mergers, this does not necessarily have the impact one might think.”

The impact would have been much greater in a smaller market, where the number of financial institutions dropped precipitously, Herndon says. But the mergers have generated a few ripples.

Herndon and Doug Hile, chairman and CEO of Meridian Bank, note that the elimination of a handful of players perpetuates the return to more traditional lending standards recently prompted by Arizona’s real estate meltdown and the ensuing recession. Hile also sees a higher concentration of retail deposits flowing into larger banks and shrinking market share for smaller banks.

“Most of the smaller banks are not in a position, or even have an opportunity, to acquire those deposits,” Hile says.

Dwindling market share is somewhat detrimental to community banks because it means Arizona’s large banks are just getting bigger, he notes.

While large banks rule the retail banking realm, community banks are the backbone of commercial banking and likely will remain so, Hile says.

“Business customers often want to have contact with the decision makers at their bank and that’s how small banks operate,” Hile says. “In that regard, the (small) banks that are healthy will have an opportunity to acquire new commercial customers.”

Alex Wilson, senior lecturer at the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, has a different point of view. “Your number of choices in commercial banking is disappearing,” Wilson says. “And creativity is lost as it becomes more corporatized.”

Wilson laments two potential outcomes of bank mergers — the weakening of a sense of community and the loss of institutional knowledge when middle and senior management are laid off. “

Well-run big banks know enough to try to reinstate that as quickly as they can,” Wilson says. “Badly run big banks lose that.”

Customers more concerned about fees, interest rates and having a variety of banking products to choose from are assured that competition is alive and well despite the mergers.

“There are still plenty of banks in Arizona and there is still plenty of competition,” says Marshall Vest, an economist at the Eller College of Management. “I don’t think we’re at the point where we have just one or two major players that will dictate fees and rates.”

Felecia Rotellini, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, agrees: “We have a lot of competition. We always have. This is a very popular place for banking.”

Mergers probably have strengthened Arizona’s banking industry, Rotellini adds. “The banks that remain are healthy because of the merger-and-consolidation process and are a testament to our federally insured banking system,” Rotellini says. “Banks that were not healthy were acquired by healthier banks and that was done without any disruption in business.”

But as Wilson watches mergers roll out coast-to-coast, he wonders about the ultimate outcome. “

We’re probably heading for a world of three super national banks and probably a handful of little community niche banks,” Wilson says. “The good-sized regional banks are disappearing from the spectrum very quickly. As a result, (Bank of America) will be there, Wells (Fargo) apparently will be there and there will be Citi (Citigroup). I don’t know who will be left standing. The only ones left may be those little community banks.”

Citigroup, a global behemoth with multiple lines of business in financial services, is struggling and Wilson points to it as an example of the kind of risk that comes with an ever-expanding corporate waistline.

“In normal times, I would say (getting bigger) deepens the balance sheet and creates more international presence,” Wilson says. “But in the face of what is happening … I’m not sure you can make that statement. If one of these biggies falls, the ground is going to shake severely. Bigger is more efficient, but it is not necessarily better.”

| www.azdfi.gov | www.compassbank.com | www.ebr.eller.arizona.edu | www.meridianbank.com |

money line

Stabilizing Asset Prices Is Key To An Economic Recovery

The declines in asset prices are sweeping around the globe like a giant tsunami tumbling everything in its wake. Equity prices are down 47 percent from their highs, commodities 53 percent and, of course, residential real estate 25 percent. Industrial production, retail sales and personal consumption expenditures are all showing losses year-over-year and do not appear to be decelerating in any meaningful way.

In the first quarter of 2009, the negative feedback loop — the lower prices go the lower they will go — is being exacerbated by the erosion of confidence and the availability of credit. If this weren’t enough, the lack of accountability and transparency in the system is further eroding investor confidence, thereby curtailing capital spending and stifling employment.

As the monetarists and fiscal policy makers rush to shore up the banking system, they have, for the most part, missed the mark. Long ago, the highly levered global economy transitioned from a banking-dominated regime to one that hides behind securitized lending. The off-bank balance sheet structures such as SIVs (structured investment vehicles), hedge funds, CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and the like fueled the explosion in asset prices as they levered up the system exponentially. As we are finding out the hard way, no real underlying economic value was being created, other than prices would surely be higher tomorrow, which reinforced speculative non-productive behaviors.

The false promise that rising prices alone create wealth is being unmasked as the de-levering of credit and speculative excesses unwind. The plea from Congress that banks need to start lending fails to recognize that the highly leveraged off-balance sheet bank, the Shadow Bank, is dead. The credit creation in the Shadow Bank was 30- or 40-to-1, versus 10-to-1 for the banking system most of us are familiar with. It is not that the 10-to-1 folks don’t have problems; it is that they simply do not have the capital to restructure all the 30-to-1 junk that is choking the system.

It’s about the capital
Nouriel Roubini, a highly respected economist and chairman of RGE Monitor’s newsletter, has estimated that the charge-offs and write-downs may reach $3.6 trillion before this cycle bottoms out. Bloomberg Financial, which has been tracking these charge-offs, recently reported that the number has reached $1 trillion, or about one third of Roubini’s best-guess number. In October 2008, the Federal Reserve reported that the U.S. banking system had about $1.4 trillion of capital, hardly enough to deal with the massive write-downs Roubini, Goldman Sachs Group and others see on the horizon.

The obvious simple solution is to figure out how to stop asset prices from declining further. Although this has been attempted over the past many months, the seemingly uncoordinated efforts have failed. The TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program), which explicitly gave the U.S. Treasury the authority and money to purchase assets with the intent of stabilizing prices, instead saw those monies going into the checking accounts of banks. However well-intentioned the program was, it did little to stem the tide in the deflationary spiral, leaving us deeper in debt and virtually in the same position as when the legislation was enacted.

Price stability
In order to encourage investment and spending, we must first have price stability. Asset prices do not need to rise to get the economy moving, nor should we expect that they must. The value of the enterprise over time will be clear and will be priced accordingly. The benefits of price stability encourage investors to take on risk and give lenders the confidence to lend. Rapidly rising or falling prices merely confound and confuse even the biggest risk takers among us and that, in large measure, is why we see return of principal trumping return on principal.

All is not lost, however, as interest rates are down, mortgage re-financings are up and the stock market has attempted to battle back from some very bad economic news. The first half of 2009 is proving tough going. But we are guardedly optimistic that the second half will show signs of stabilizing, laying an important foundation for recovery in 2010. The stock market has its own twisted personality, but if it can move above the October lows the more optimistic we are that better times are ahead.

wood beam

As Commercial Real Estate Sector Prepares To Be Hit By Recession, Leaders Should Become Proactive

The headlines today have focused on the bailout of the banking industry and the housing market’s severe contraction. Not a lot of attention has been paid to the commercial real estate sector. As with all business cycles, there is a flow-through to the various sectors. The fact that we have lost more than 1 million jobs this year, and have had a severe reduction in housing values and record foreclosures, can only bode ill for retail and other commercial areas.

Since retail traditionally follows housing, how can it not be negatively impacted when fewer homes are being built and more and more people can barely afford their current homes? In recent months Mervyn’s, Linen ’n’ Things, The Shoe Pavilion and Circuit City have all announced either closing of some or all of their stores. The larger tenants oftentimes are the anchors of some of the smaller centers. There is usually a cascading effect on other tenants who feed off the traffic generated by the anchors. We have many clients who talk about tenants leaving in the middle of the night.

At this time, most of the bankers we have talked to have stated that they have few commercial projects on their radar, but most admit this is the next big area to hit them and the economy in general. Are they prepared and how can the lenders minimize the fallout from this?

We would like to outline some of the steps that lenders and others can take to be proactive in the process. Some lenders we have talked to take the position that they will sell the returning assets “as is,” so they do not incur anymore costs on a bad loan. This shortsighted approach will end up costing these lenders and their shareholders money.

We advise lenders to do a thorough analysis of the project in such areas as:

  • What is the current situation with the permits, utilities and other entitlements? This may unfortunately turn up information that the bank should have known about before it made the loan or kept funding it. There is a good case to not have the same people who approved the loans involved in this process. Some of these items may involve minor fixes that could make the project more marketable. For example, assume the contractor had not ordered some of the utilities, which usually involves a long lead time. By the bank being proactive (after they take the project back) and ordering some of the utilities, the project would have more appeal for a potential tenant versus sitting on the asset and waiting for things to happen. A new potential owner may have a tenant, but he needs to get him into the space within a set period of time. If the bank has done nothing but sit on the asset, the buyer may go to a project where he can get his tenant in immediately.
  • What is the status of payments to the contractors versus how much work has actually been performed? Is the project really 50 percent complete but you have paid out 60 percent, for example? Where are materials stored if ordered and paid for?
  • Another problem is when banks have the same people or departments evaluate the project. They are the ones who may have missed some of these issues to begin with. You want a fresh look at what you have. It is difficult to want to spend more money on an asset that will be a loss — but if you can do a proper evaluation of what you have, you may recoup quite a bit of additional money.

Why do Realtors for homes recommend cosmetic fixes to make them more saleable? Because they work. But the real estate owned (REO) departments of many banks do not want to incur additional costs in these areas. We like to assist the lenders by also giving some ideas on how to reposition the property. When clients come to us for an initial project, we frequently work with them on site plans. Even on a project that is partly or fully built, you can analyze how it can be revitalized and repositioned. It may have been poorly designed to begin with. Smart buyers are going to be looking at these ideas before they make an offer. If the lender hires someone to give them some of these ideas it can be very helpful information real estate brokers can use in marketing the asset.

We know of certain retailers developing new concepts to fit into smaller spaces to take advantage of a good location. If you have prepared some estimates of what would be involved to reconfigure the space, that makes it easier on the potential new owner and his tenant.

In summary, retail should be the next area to seriously impact the balance sheets of lenders. Most lenders have not had departments devoted to this problem because the market has been good for so many years. It is important to hire experts who can give an unbiased view of the asset and what can or cannot be done with the project. When a lender uses the same people or moves some of its people over they may not have the expertise to properly analyze the project to obtain the best possible value from it upon a sale.