Tag Archives: bmo harris bank

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Big crowd honors Arizona’s Most Influential Women

A crowd of nearly 500 people packed Chateau Luxe in Phoenix Thursday night to honor Az Business and AZRE magazines’ Most Influential Women in Arizona Business.

“The Most Influential Women issue of both magazines is easily our most popular issue of the year,”said AZ Big Media  Publisher Cheryl Green. “This year, we had more than 2,000 women under consideration and chose 50 influential women, five Generation Next women to watch and 12 groundbreakers in commercial real estate.”

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Green said all the women featured have earned influence in their respective fields through demonstrated track records of profitability, leadership and innovation.   

The women selected to the 2015 list for 2015 and honored Thursday were:

Amy Abdo, director, Fennemore Craig

Jennifer Anderson, senior vice president and regional manager, Wells Fargo

Karen Anderson, researcher, ASU’s Biodesign Institute

Lauren Bailey, founder, Upward Projects

Glynis Bryan, CFO, Insight Enterprises

Rita Cheng, president, NAU

Judith S. Gordon, associate professor and associate head for research at the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine

Alisa Gray, shareholder, Tiffany & Bosco

Sue Hasenstein, BMO Harris Bank

Melissa Ho, Polsinelli

Bo Hughes, CFO and COO, Pinnacle Bank

Veronique James, CEO, The James Agency

Isabelle Jazo, senior vice president of strategy, LaneTerralever

Carolyn J. Johnsen, Dickinson Wright

Eileen Klein, Arizona Board of Regents

Rosey Koberlein, CEO, Long Companies

Becky Kuhn, executive vice president, Banner Health

Betsy Kuzas, chief operating officer, Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Michelle Lawrie, economic development director, Goodyear

Nona Lee, SVP and general counsel, Arizona Diamondbacks

Hope Leibsohn, member, Sherman & Howard

Stacey L. Lihn, Gallagher & Kennedy

Tina Machado, president, CodeRed-I

Carol May, president, Wisdom Natural Brands DBA SweetLeaf

Sara McCoy, first female to manage a power plant for SRP

Erica McGinnis, president and CEO, AIG Advisor Group

Tammy McLeod, vice president, APS

Rose Megian, president and CEO, Health Net of Arizona

Dion Messer, general counsel – intellectual property, Limelight Networks

MaryAnn Miller, senior vice president, Avnet

Ioanna Morfessis, president, IO.Inc.

Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh,VP and General Counsel, Honeywell

Annette G. Musa, Arizona market president, Comerica Bank

Christine Nowaczyk, senior vice president, Bank of Arizona

Deborah Pearson, Arizona State Credit Union

Susan Pepin, president and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Suzanne Pfister, president and CEO, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives

Christina Roderick, principal, REDW

Patricia Rourke, market president, Bankers Trust

Lisa Sanchez, COO, The CORE Institute

Adelaida V. Severson, president and CEO, Bushtex

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ 9th District

Sherri Slayton, Alliance Bank of Arizona

Wendi A. Sorensen, Burch & Cracchiolo

Molly Stockley, vice president of hospital growth, CTCA

Cathy Valenzuela, president, Arizona Business Bank

Kimberly Van Amburg, CEO, Casino Del Sol Resort

Cheryl Vogt, managing director, Marsh

Cynthia Walter, president, BAGNALL

Lori L. Winkelman, Quarles & Brady LLP

The groundbreakers selected from the commercial real estate world were:

Kathy Bollinger, executive vice president of University Medicine, Banner Health

Danielle Casey, economic development director, City of Scottsdale

Cindy Cooke, senior executive vice president, Colliers International

Karen Halpert, senior vice president, Head of Property Management, VEREIT, Inc.

Diane Jacobs, principal, Holly Street Studio Architects

Alison Melnychenko, vice president of marketing , DTZ

Jody Pokorski, partner, Snell & Wilmer

Barbi Reuter, COO, Cushman & Wakefield

Maria Salenger, senior associate, Jones Studio

Cathy Thuringer, principal, Trammell Crow

Alisa Timm, director of management services, Lincoln Property Company

Vicki Williams, senior vice president, commercial real estate, Alliance Bank of Arizona

In addition to the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business, Az Business also selects five “Generation Next” women who are making an impact on Arizona, even though they are less than 40 years old. Those women selected for 2014 are:

Denyse Airheart, interim director of economic development, City of Maricopa

Jessica Benford, shareholder, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite

Dr. Ivana Dzeletovic, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

Stephanie Parra, executive director, T.W. Lewis Foundation

Teresa M. Pilatowicz, of counsel, Garman Turner Gordon

Women.Format

Sue Hasenstein: Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

Sue Hasenstein, senior vice president, BMO Harris Bank

Hasenstein oversees all sales functions within the Premier Services Banking for Arizona. She is accountable for revenue and balance sheet growth for a team that provides personalized financial services to individuals with investable assets from $250,000-$1 million.

Childhood aspiration: “I wanted to be a doctor to make a difference in people’s lives. Though not in the medical field today, I  have continued to make helping and mentoring others a focus in all that I do.”

Reception: The 2015 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business will be recognized at the Most Influential Women in Arizona Cocktail Party on August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Chateau Luxe. Click here to purchase tickets.

123rf.com: Tetiana Vitsenko

BMO Harris Bank adds new features to mobile app

BMO Harris Bank announced the latest enhancements to its mobile banking app with the introduction of Touch ID and Passcode – technologies which give customers fast access to the must-have mobile banking features in the app on their iPhone or Android smartphone.

Touch ID is a seamless way for customers on iPhone to use their fingerprint as a passcode, allowing mobile banking customers on iPhones with iOS8 (5S and higher) to sign onto the BMO Harris Mobile Banking App quickly and securely.

Android users will be able to use Passcode, a numerical password, to access the app quickly. After signing in, customers will be able to view their balance and recent transactions and use BMO Harris Bank’s Mobile Cash technology. Touch ID and Passcode enhance Mobile Cash, allowing customers quick access to America’s largest-cardless ATM network.

“BMO Harris Bank is dedicated to investing in technology that makes the digital banking experience quicker, easier and more secure for our customers,” said Cesar Rainusso, Vice President, Digital Channels, North American Channel Strategy & Solutions, BMO Financial Group. “Recognizing that our customers already have many passwords to remember, the integration of Touch ID and Passcode simplifies the user experience and securely enhances our mobile banking app.”

Credit Unions Big Boose to Small Business - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

BMO Harris Bank boosts credit to AZ business owners

BMO Harris Bank is making an additional $2 billion in credit available to businesses in Arizona over the next three years.

“We’re here to help, making more of our balance sheet available to businesses to support growth opportunities and help create new jobs,’ said Tim Bruckner, Arizona Commercial Banking Manager, BMO Harris Bank.

“We have heard from our customers who say they are upbeat on the economy. A BMO Harris report shows that more than 60 percent of Arizona business owners and CEOs plan to make at least one investment in their business this year,” added Mr. Bruckner.

“The Arizona economy is poised to accelerate in 2015, supported by an improved labor market and a recovery in the housing market,” said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. “Real GDP is expected to grow 3.4 percent, slightly higher than the national average and improved from the 2.5 percent expected in 2014. 

Mr. Gregory noted that improved business confidence should maintain solid growth in investment and hiring. Gains are expected in job growth, coming from the service sector – led by professional and business services, education and health and tourism. “The state is on track to add about 55,000 new jobs in 2015.”

Roosevelt Pointe

De Rito Partners reports recent transactions

Barbershop opens first Valley location
Park Avenue Barbershop completed a lease to open its first location at the northeast corner of 91st Avenue and Union Hills Drive in Peoria. Steve Bonnell represented the landlord in completing the deal for 1,045 square feet.

Auto dealer leases former Hummer dealership
Mr. Jim’s Deals on Wheels finalized a deal for a 3,059-square-foot building on Scottsdale Road just south of McDowell Road. Martin Leon and Marty De Rito represented the owner in completing the transaction.

Tax service opens location in Central Phoenix
Tax Wizards signed a lease to add a location near the intersection of 16th Street and McDowell Road in Central Phoenix. Lizette Borbon-Iskhakova represented the landlord in the transaction.

Siempre Tax adds location in West Phoenix
Siempre Tax services opened a new location at the northwest corner of 75th Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix. The tenant took 1,400 square feet at Westridge Park Center. Lizette Borbon-Iskhakova and Carl Jones, Jr. represented the landlord in the deal.

Former BMO Bank building sold in Tucson
De Rito Opportunity Fund sold a former BMO Harris Bank building at the northeast corner of Cortaro Road and Silverbell Road in Tucson. Paul Serafin and Carl Jones, Jr. represented De Rito in completing the sale of the 4,722-square-foot building to Hughes Federal Credit Union.

West Camelback Road restaurant leased
Ring Side Pub & Grub completed the lease of a 1,850-square-foot former restaurant space along Camelback Road near 21st Avenue in Phoenix. Stan Sanchez represented the owner in securing the tenant.

Animal hospital takes additional space at Red Mountain Promenade
Las Sendas Animal Hospital added 980 square feet to its existing facility at Red Mountain Promenade located at the southwest corner of McDowell Road and Power Road in Mesa. Steve Bonnell represented the landlord in the transaction.

CenturyLink opens new location in Peoria
Telecommunications provider CenturyLink leased a 1,300-square-foot space for a new retail location near 79th Avenue and Bell Road at Arrowhead Crossing. Paul Serafin represented the tenant in completing the deal.

Starbucks adds two new Valley locations
Starbucks Coffee Company finalized leases to add a new location at the northeast corner of 24th Avenue and Northern Avenue, as well as the northwest corner of 27th Avenue and Loop 101. The tenant will complete demolition on the existing buildings in order to construct the new Starbucks shops. Matt Morrell, Paul Serafin, Mike Kumelski, Gordon Heckaman, and Carl Jones, Jr. represented the owner (De Rito Opportunity Fund) in completing the transactions.

Athletic apparel shop joins North Canyon Village
Sole Trainer, an athletic shoe and apparel shop, completed a deal to open a new shop at North Canyon Village, located at 27th Avenue and Carefree Highway in Phoenix. Steve Bonnell represented the center’s owner in completing the lease for a 1,807-square-foot space.

New hair salon joins Roosevelt Row
Public Image Hair Salon signed a lease to take 2,877 square feet at Roosevelt Pointe, located at 4th Street and Roosevelt Street in Downtown Phoenix. Michael McWilliams represented the owner in completing the deal.

Peoria Shopping Center adds new pizza restaurant
A new pizza restaurant finalized a transaction to join Peoria Shopping Center at the southwest corner of 75th Avenue and Peoria Avenue in Peoria. The tenant will take a 1,925-square-foot space at the center. Michael McWilliams represented the landlord in completing the lease.

capital

How can companies increase chances of securing capital?

Silicon Valley Bank committed to lend or invest at least $100 million to technology and life science companies based in Arizona over the next five years, yet many experts say lack of money is preventing the state’s tech sector from exploding.

“One area we still need to improve is in the area of capital availability,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Arizona lags behind our competitors in terms of access to capital.”

So what are banks looking for in up-and-coming companies in order to decide if they are worth the risk?

“There is a misconception about business lending, particularly with start-ups, that the application — all of the factual data surrounding the request, the projections, financial statement of the owner and business plans — are the most important things,” said Tim Bruckner, managing director and regional manager of commercial banking for BMO Harris Bank. “Though these items are important in underwriting, we are really looking for entrepreneurs that also show the ability to adapt to a changing environment, demonstrate knowledge and passion for their business and show solid understanding of where their business fits in its competitive environment. Too often, business owners overlook a banker’s interest and understanding in these areas.”

With that said, it is very difficult for a traditional bank to finance a start-up or new business, according to Mike Brown, Arizona regional president at Washington Federal.

“However, the ones that make sense have a well-developed and thought-out business plan, coupled with a strong guarantor,” Brown said.

Ed Zito, president of Alliance Bank of Arizona, the largest locally headquartered bank in Arizona, said Alliance looks at a start-up’s firm capitalization, cash position, “cash burn” rate and cash flow margins.

“Start-up company financing is a risk to be borne by the equity investors,” Zito said. “That said, accounts receivable, support by the ownership or equity investors can mitigate start-up risk.”

So when can a start-up do to increase its chances of getting financed in today’s heavily regulated and competitive economic climate?

Before you get started, Bruckner said to seek counsel from someone who has done it successfully.

“It is always good to hear the success stories, but these individuals will also have great insight into the stumbling blocks and things they would have done differently if they knew then what they know now,” Bruckner said.

Bruckner said first-time borrowers should also demonstrate that they have planned for contingencies, such as a cash shortfall or potential loss of a key customer.

“A start-up’s best chances at securing a loan is having an experienced management team or ownership, knowledge of the industry, proprietary product, service, technology, a demonstrated marketplace acceptance of the product or service and the ability to sustain the start-up until the company is cash-flow positive are crucial factors to consider,” Zito said.

Brown said that it’s imperative for new companies to have well-crafted business plans with reasonable targets to achieve.

“Make sure all financing sources are covered, because everybody has their particular niche or focus and your plan might fit that focus,” Brown said. “Look at traditional sources like banks, but engage all non-traditional sources like independent finance companies.”

iphone

BMO allows you to get cash at ATMs with smartphone

BMO Harris Bank announced the introduction of Mobile Cash, a new technology that allows consumers to withdraw money from an ATM using their smartphone.  With the launch, BMO Harris now has the largest network of card-less enabled ATMs in the country.

“Smartphones are quickly becoming the singular device that people use to help manage their life,” said Connie Stefankiewicz, Head of North American Channel Strategy and Solutions, BMO Financial Group.  “BMO Harris is continuing to invest significantly in technology that is designed to address consumers’ evolving preferences.  

“Expectations are increasing among consumers in terms of the digital tools and services industries are offering. With personal finances, we know our customers want the ability to take care of multiple financial needs from their smartphone,” added Ms. Stefankiewicz.

The QR-based mobile technology allows customers to withdraw cash safely without having to remove their debit card from their wallets, greatly speeding up the time a customer spends at an ATM.  Additionally, customer card information is not stored on the phone, enhancing security.  Customers can easily locate any of the 750 Mobile Cash ATMs using their BMO Harris Bank Mobile Banking App.  An additional 150 ATMs will feature the service June 2015.

A report issued today by BMO Harris Bank revealed that the use of digital personal finance tools and services is having a positive effect on the financial standing of Americans.

The report, conducted by Pollara, revealed:

• Nearly nine in ten (87 percent) agree that they know exactly what is going on with their finances at all times

• The vast majority (82 percent) say they are managing their finances more effectively as a result of using digital personal finance tools

• Three quarters (78 percent) agree they make better purchase decisions when on the go, while 77 percent have better control over their spending.

• Bills are paid on time more often by 75 percent of consumers, and 70 percent say they are overdrawn on their account less often.

For more information on BMO Harris Mobile Cash, click here.

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

BMO: Arizona economy will accelerate in 2015

Arizona’s economy should pick up in 2015, with expected GDP growth of 3.5 percent, just ahead of the national average and an improvement from the expected 2.5 percent in 2014, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report from BMO Economics. Steady population growth and job growth in the high-tech market will also help lead the state’s economic acceleration.

Arizona is again outperforming when it comes to job-growth. Nonfarm payrolls rose 2.5 percent year over year in the fourth quarter. The service sector, led by professional and business services, education, health and tourism, has been responsible for the gains.

Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets, noted that better momentum could be on the horizon for manufacturing and construction employment. The unemployment rate continues its negative trend, 6.7 percent in December compared to 7.6 percent a year earlier. On the flip side, there is an underlying softness in the labor market as evidenced by average weekly earnings which were down 2.8 percent year over year in the fourth quarter.

”We continue to see increased activity in several sectors, including healthcare, trade and distribution,” said Tim Bruckner, Managing Director, Commercial Banking, Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “We also know that the majority of Arizona businesses are planning to invest. We’re here to help support business owners as they lead Arizona’s economic recovery.”

The housing headwinds experienced in 2014 appear to be fading slightly with a decrease in rates and mortgage lending conditions somewhat softening. The S&P Case-Schiller Index reported that Phoenix prices are up year-over-year by 2 percent, but that is still a giant downward shift from the 20 percent-plus growth experienced early in the recovery. On the positive side, the vacancy rate is now back down to match the fifty-state average.

Stronger population growth is helping to drive an improved economy, which is steady at a 1.3 percent year-over-year clip. Overall interstate migration remains depressed, somewhat due to the impact the housing market’s decline has had on mobility.

“Population inflows for Arizona, while still positive, would be stronger were it not for the decline in the housing market,” said Mr. Kavcic.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

holiday.shopping

Arizonans’ holiday spending tops national average

Arizona residents plan to open their wallet wider than much of the rest of the country by spending an average of $1,248 over the holidays; that’s more than 10 percent higher than the national average of $1,129, both figures according to the BMO Harris Bank Holiday Spending Report. Slightly more than one-third (36 percent) report they will regret how much they spend.

The commissioned report is the final in a series of surveys by BMO that examined the holiday shopping behaviors of consumers between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Most Arizonans (81 percent) said they generally stick to their holiday budget, and one-in-ten (11 percent) set aside spending money specifically for the holidays. However, the survey also revealed:
·         More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they make impulse purchases, above the U.S. average of 64 percent
·         More than one-third (36 percent) say that in January they often regret how much they’ve spent
·         Half (52 percent) stress about spending the ‘right’ amount on a gift, regardless of how great the gift might be

Sixty percent say they will spend about the same amount on gifts that they did last year.
The survey also showed that 16 percent of those living in the Grand Canyon State say they will go into debt because of holiday spending, five percent higher than the national average.

“Holidays are a joyful yet sometimes stressful time of the year. Before the season arrives, set a realistic plan of how much you want, and can afford, to spend,” said Steve Zandpour, Arizona Retail Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. “If you can stick to your budget and avoid going into debt you will be in a better financial position as you begin the New Year.”

Deloitte Report Reveals Mid-Market Companies Expect U.S. Economic Growth

Arizona business owners optimistic for 2015

BMO Harris Bank released a study that found that business owners and executives in Arizona were optimistic about the prospects for the state’s economy in the coming year.

Eighty-six percent of respondents feel Arizona’s economy will grow or stay at the same level in 2015 (39 percent say it will improve, 47 percent think it will remain the same). That outpaces their optimism in the national economy, where only 63 percent feel the U.S. economy will improve or stay the same next year. More than one-third (37 percent) of the respondents believe the U.S. economy will worsen in 2015. Arizona business owners’ local confidence is reflected in their positive attitude regarding growth in their own business, with more than half believing their business will grow next year.

“While there are some causes for concern, both internationally and domestically, business owners and executives continue to exude confidence in their ability to grow their business in today’s economic environment“, said Tim Bruckner, Arizona Head, Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank. “That continued confidence is vital to the business-led economic recovery that has taken place over the past five years.”

The survey asked Arizona business owners/executives if they believe the U.S. economy will improve, stay at the same level or worsen in 2015.
·         41 percent expect the economy to improve
·         22 percent expect the economy to remain at the same level
·         37 percent expect the economy to worsen

The survey also asked the same respondents if they believe their business will grow, stay at the same level, or shrink in 2015.
·         51 percent predicted growth in 2015 for their business
·         32 percent expect their business to remain at the same level
·         17 percent believe their business will shrink in 2015, an 11 percent increase from last year’s results

BMO Harris Bank conducted the same survey one year earlier, and the Arizona results this year were similar compared to 12 months ago with a few exceptions: In 2014, one-fourth of business owners expected the U.S. economy to worsen. That number this year increased to 37 percent. A year ago, 38 percent felt the state’s economy would stay the same. In the most recent survey, 47 percent of respondents expect Arizona’s to remain the same..

“The coming year is being heralded by positive momentum in consumer spending, which is music to businesses’ ears,” said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. “Spending is finding support from strong job growth, lower energy costs and an appreciating U.S. dollar. In reaction to continued sturdy consumer spending, we look for more businesses to expand their production, lifting both capital expenditures and hiring. This job-led, domestic demand should propel economic growth 3% in 2015, the best result in a decade.”

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 781 American business owners between September 8 and 18, 2014. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 3.5 percent, 19 times out of 20.

holiday.shopping

Arizonans spend more on Cyber Monday than Black Friday

Arizonans plan to spend more money shopping electronically on Cyber Monday ($556) than hitting the malls and super-stores on Black Friday, where they plan to spend $433, according to the BMO Harris Bank Holiday Report.

The survey examined the buying intentions of consumers ahead of Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving; and Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. It marks the first in a series of reports from BMO Harris that will be released for holiday spending.

Fifty-five percent of Arizonans say they will shop on Black Friday, half plan to shop on Cyber Monday and 36 percent will do both. The results of the poll show 23 percent of Black Friday shoppers say they will spend more this year, and one-third percent of Cyber Monday shoppers say they expect their spending to go up. Two-thirds say they will spend about the same amount that they did last year during both shopping days.

“The U.S. holiday shopping season is expected to be moderately better this year due to stronger job growth, lower unemployment, improved confidence, record-high equity markets, and lower gasoline prices,” said Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets. “The only thing holding back sales is sluggish wage gains, though that is expected to change next year.  Price competition should remain fierce this season as a result.”

The commissioned survey, also found:

• Three quarters (77 percent) of shoppers are buying for themselves on Black Friday. On Cyber Monday, it will be slightly less (68 percent)
• Just over half (54 percent) plan to buy for parents and children on Black Friday, and 44 percent will shop for a partner or spouse
• Gifts for a pet will be bought by 21 percent on Black Friday and by 13 percent on Cyber Monday

Sixty-five percent say they have a budget, but may not stick to it. Only 12 percent say they will stay within their strict budget.

Debit cards are the payment method of choice for 71 percent of Black Friday shoppers, compared to 45 percent who will pay with credit card and one-third who will use cash.

stk150362rke

84% of Phoenix buyers settle for ‘less than perfect’ home

According to a survey released by BMO Harris Bank, Arizona house hunters visit an average of 11 homes before they buy, with the majority (84 percent) of buyers spending up to six months searching the market.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also revealed:
• Slightly less than half (48 percent) of home buyers currently on the market believe they will find their dream home in their price range, while 52 percent say it’s impossible
• 77 percent are willing to settle for a less than perfect home. In Metro Phoenix, that numbers rises to 84 percent
• Most (79 percent) of home buyers say they’ll know immediately when they’ve found their ideal house

“Typically the purchase of a home is one of the most important financial commitments we make,” said Tony Cesarano, Arizona Mortgage Manager, BMO Harris Bank. “For many people it is also a long-term commitment and is therefore, worth taking your time to find a home that both ‘feels right’ and fits within your budget.”

While overall stress levels about the home buying process are moderate, Arizonans still have some concerns.  Their biggest worry is that they will find something wrong with the house once they move in (73 percent). In addition, 69 percent fear that housing prices will drop after they move in, and 57 percent fear the possibility of not being able to afford their mortgage.

“The housing market lost some of its forward momentum earlier this year, in the wake of higher mortgage rates and as the availability of credit was constrained by uncertainty over new regulations. The latter, as anticipated, proved to be temporary,” said Michael Gregory, Head U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets.

“In the third quarter of this year, mortgage lending standards were being relaxed more prolifically than at any other point since the Federal Reserve’s new survey began in 2007,” added Mr. Gregory. “Meanwhile, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have dipped back below the 4 percent level in recent weeks, for the first time since the spring of 2013. Both of these developments point to a pickup in housing market activity, in terms of turnover and homes — yes, even ‘dream homes’— available for sale.”

At the national level, the survey found:
• 77 percent of home buyers thought they will know their dream home as soon as they see it
• First time home buyers are more likely to feel stressed, but they are also more likely to be excited (47 percent), hopeful (43 percent) and happy (37 percent)
• 42 percent of homeowners spend 4 or more months actively looking at homes before buying
• 33 percent of homeowners visited 10 or more homes before buying

“Working with a qualified mortgage professional can help alleviate some of the stress connected with buying a home. I’d recommend getting pre-qualified so you will know exactly how much you can afford when you find the perfect home,” Cesarano added.

For more trends, tips and tools to help you plan for your financial future, including buying a home, click here.

phoenix

Arizona economy rising, report shows

Phoenix and the broader Arizona economy are expanding again after an extremely difficult recession, although growth will be more modest than the boom times of a decade ago, according to a report released today by BMO Economics.

The labor market is a bright spot, with the city remaining consistent in its job growth performance.  “The city has been a consistent job growth outperformer so far during the recovery and, after a soft patch earlier in the year, growth has accelerated again,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.  “If the recent growth clip persists – and we believe that it should – the Phoenix economy should be able to add roughly 85,000 new jobs by the end of 2016.”

“It’s encouraging that the economic health of Arizona, and Phoenix in particular, continues to improve,” said Steve Zandpour, newly-appointed Arizona Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. “It’s nice to see construction activity again. Projects that had been on hold for quite a while have broken ground, adding another positive stimulus to the community.”

The Valley’s economic diversity will help it continue to recover at a solid pace.  “Phoenix boasts a diverse economy with exposure to a wide range of industries in high-tech manufacturing, construction, finance and professional services,” stated Kavcic. “Of the 250,000 jobs lost during the recession, nearly three-quarters of them have recovered.”

The finance and insurance sector employs more than 125,000 people – a record high, in the city.  The fast-growing biotechnology sector also has a strong presence in the region, with two new structures recently approved at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, including a $136 million investment by the University of Arizona.

On the housing side, the foreclosure rate across Arizona has tumbled to below 1 percent – now among the lowest in America – while higher home prices have reduced the share of mortgages in a negative equity position.  “Fundamentals support a continued, albeit more modest, housing market recovery in the city,” said Mr. Kavcic.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

Steve-Zandpour-AZ-Reg-Pres

BMO Harris Bank Names New Arizona President

BMO Harris Bank today announced the appointment of Steven Zandpour as Regional President for Arizona.  Zandpour will be responsible for overseeing a network of 50 BMO Harris locations, and driving growth to deliver the breadth of BMO Harris’ retail banking, small business banking and premier services across the state.

Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Head of U.S. Retail Banking for BMO Harris, said, “Steve’s energy is contagious. Arizona is an important market for the bank; he knows what customers expect and has the skills and determination to grow our business in the region.”

“The economic health of Arizona is definitely improving and the long term outlook is positive,” said Zandpour. “This positive outlook, combined with our solid business plan, provides us a great opportunity for growth and I look forward to help lead the charge,” he added.

Hired by BMO Harris in 2013 as President for the North Shore Market of the Chicago region, Zandpour led his team to become a top five producer for the bank in the U.S.

Zandpour brings more than 15 years of industry experience to the position, including; Commercial Credit, Commercial Relationship Officer, and Financial Center Manager.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa and completed the Consumer Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Retail Bank Management at Furman University.

Zandpour replaces Steve Johnson who was recently named Regional President, North Central States, for BMO Private Bank.

smartphone

Arizona Executives Don’t Vacation Without Smartphone

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that most business owners and executives in Arizona do not truly “get away from it all” when it comes to vacationing. Seventy-three percent of the respondents admit to checking their work emails during their time off; albeit 11 percent lower than the national average.

“Gadgets such as smartphones have been instrumental in making it easier to stay in touch, contributing to increased business productivity,” said Tim Bruckner, Managing Director, Commercial Banking – Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “The flip side is that same instant access fuels our need to stay connected at all times.”

Nearly half (42 percent) of those surveyed regularly work more than 40 hours each week. That “always on the clock” mentality translates into long hours focused on work. While 61 percent of the Arizona respondents describe themselves as workaholics, only a small percentage of them (six percent) cite their workaholic tendencies as the primary reason for their success.

Economic concepts

Arizona Poised to See Above-Average Growth

Thanks to strong improvement in housing prices and improved population in-flow, Arizona should expect above-average growth through the year, according to the bi-annual U.S. State Monitor Report from BMO Economics. Expected real GDP growth in the state is 3.2 percent, up from a 1.8 percent rate currently expected for 2013.

Nonfarm payrolls in Arizona were up 2 percent in 2013 – above the national average. The unemployment rate edged up through much of 2013, but moved lower late in the year to finish at 7.6 percent, the lowest since late 2008 and a significant improvement from the recession high of 10.8 percent.

“Although unemployment in Arizona is still higher than it should be, there has been solid progress made in generating good paying jobs that will bolster our overall economy,” said Steve Johnson, Regional President, Arizona, BMO Harris Bank. “In particular we’ve seen a boost in professional services and the tourism industry, which is great news for business owners in those sectors.”

Population growth has picked up to a 1.3 percent year-over-year pace driven by the improving economy. While that is still below the 3.3 percent rate experienced during the housing boom, positive momentum is expected to continue through the coming years.

Reduced home inventories are allowing for improved construction activity, which was at a near stand-still during the recession.

“Arizona’s housing market is experiencing a strong recovery, despite a recent soft patch. According to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, Phoenix prices have surged more than 40 percent from their lows,” said Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

“While the increase in mortgage rates through the summer softened sales and home building activity, that should prove to be temporary. The foreclosure rate fell to 1.3 percent in the third quarter of last year, from its high of 6.3 percent. Additionally, surging home prices have reduced the number of home mortgages under water to less than 25 percent,” Mr. Kavcic added.

To view a full copy of the report, visit www.bmocm.com/economics.

Bevers cropped hi res 2

BMO Harris Bank Promotes Bevers

BMO Harris Bank announced that Jerry Bevers has been promoted to Director of Sales, Mortgage Banking. Bevers has been with BMO Harris Bank since 2012, and most recently managed the mortgage sales team for Arizona. In this new position, Bevers will oversee mortgage sales for Arizona, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, and Indiana.

“Jerry’s extensive knowledge in the mortgage industry will help us escalate sales in many of the markets we have identified as having strong growth potential,” commented Kevin Christopher, Head of U.S. Mortgage Sales, BMO Harris Bank. “In the relatively brief time Jerry has worked at BMO, he has proven himself to be a strong leader and manager. I have no doubt he will achieve the high goals and expectations we have for him.”

Bevers has 30 years of financial industry experience, and has held positions in retail bank management, marketing, branch operations, business banking and de novo acquisitions. He has held senior regional leadership positions with Chase Bank. At one point in his career, he had management responsibility for more than 2,300 employees.
He received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The University of Texas, Arlington. A scratch golfer, he lives in Scottsdale with his wife.

Yarnell Hill Fire

BMO Harris Bank donates $20K to help fire victims

BMO Harris Bank today announced a $20,000 donation to support those affected by the wildfire in Yarnell, Arizona and surrounding areas. The funds will be split between the 100 Club of Arizona and the Yavapai County Community Foundation, two leading organizations whose work is critical during a tragedy like this.

“Words cannot express the sadness we feel for everyone impacted by this terrible loss of life and I’m certain our community will come together to do whatever it can to help those in need,” said BMO Harris Bank Arizona President, Steve Johnson. “We have a long history of supporting first responders because they’re the ones who often make the greatest sacrifices in protecting countless others.  Their acts of bravery will never be forgotten.”

The 100 Club of Arizona, whose mission is to provide immediate financial assistance to families of first responders and public safety officers who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, has established  a memorial fund specifically for the families of those killed in the Yarnell fire.

The Yavapai County Community Foundation has established a fund to aid in the long-term recovery efforts, including relief for displaced families and individuals, animal welfare, environmental needs, community clean-up, rebuilding and more.

BMO Harris Bank encourages other businesses and individuals to provide assistance with relief efforts. To donate, contact The 100 Club of Arizona at www.100club.org, or Yavapai County Community Foundation at azfoundation.org/yarnellfire.

 

BMO Harris Regional President Steve Johnson (left): “This year in particular, we understand the pressing need in our local communities to put roofs over peoples’ heads."

BMO Harris Bank Prepares Homes For Chronically Homeless

During the month of January, more than 100 local volunteers with BMO Harris Bank readied 54 new apartment homes for individuals to move into – a key step in ending their long-term, or chronic, experience with homelessness.

As a permanent supportive housing facility, Encanto Pointe in Phoenix will provide residents with the support they need to overcome complex issues related to long-term homelessness. BMO Harris Bank employees volunteered three weekends, in addition to their $50,000 gift in support of Valley of the Sun United Way’s efforts to end homelessness.

The Encanto Pointe facility is operated and developed by Native American Connections and is the latest permanent supportive housing facility that is a part of United Way’s commitment to end homelessness in Maricopa County.

“Since we opened our doors to become part of the Arizona community more than 45 years ago, our employees and our company have supported the important work provided by the Valley of the Sun United Way,” said regional president Steve Johnson, who helped with the effort.

“This year in particular, we understand the pressing need in our local communities to put roofs over peoples’ heads. There are thousands of people in our community who are without a place to call home and we recognize there is a pressing need to provide housing. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Valley of the Sun United Way and Native American Connections to help put roofs over peoples’ heads, in such a cost-effective manner.”

Taking a step toward providing a safe home to individuals who have suffered chronic homelessness helps the community and economy in tangible ways:

>> Opens up emergency services to support individuals who may be suffering in this economy and facing homelessness.

>> Cost-effective in providing stable services as opposed to routine and costly emergency services to individuals who are living in unsafe conditions

“The more than 100 employees who gave up their Saturday to prepare homes for residents who have not had a safe place to sleep in years, are not only impacting those individual lives, but are truly improving our entire community,” said Amy Schwabenlender, vice president of community impact for Valley of the Sun United Way.

“BMO Harris Bank and its employees are advancing our work to end homelessness in Maricopa County.”

 

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor's Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.

roosevelt row arts district

Nominations announced for Governor’s Arts Awards

Sixty-two nominations from 18 Arizona communities were submitted in six categories for the 32nd annual Governor’s Arts Awards for individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture statewide.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 6, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe.  The Governor’s Arts Awards are presented by Arizona Citizens Action for the Arts in partnership with the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Office of the Governor.

Since 1981, 152 artists, individuals, arts and cultural organizations, educators and businesses have received Governor’s Arts Awards

Nominees, by category, and their hometowns are:

Artist: Lee Berger, Phoenix; Charles Bruffy, Phoenix; Daniel Buckely, Tucson; Michael Christie, Phoenix; Bobb Cooper, Phoenix; Barbara Dahlstedt, Glendale;  Maria Isabel Delgado, Chandler; Shawn Franks, Phoenix; Deb Gessner, Mayer; Kristine Kollasch, Phoenix; Bruce Marion, Chandler; Fredric Myers, Apache Junction; Monica Saldana, Goodyear; Mike Vax, Dewey; Jim Waid, Tucson.

Arts in Education – Individual: Annica Benning, Scottsdale; Kathryn Blake, Phoenix; Dennis Bourret, Tucson; Simon Donovan, Tucson; Patti Hannon, Phoenix; Marion Kirk Jones, Phoenix; Sherry Koopot, Paradise Valley; Barbara Nueske Perez, Gilbert; Charles St. Clair, Glendale; Joshua Thye, Phoenix.

Arts In Education – Organization: Arizona Dance Education Organization, Phoenix; Copperstar Repertory Company, Chandler; The Glendale Arts Council, Glendale; Lovena Ohl Foundation, Scottsdale; Marshall Magnet Elementary School, Flagstaff; OpendanceAZ, Phoenix; Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix; The Phoenix Symphony, Phoenix; Sonoran Glass School, Tucson; UAPresents, Tucson; West Valley Conservatory of Ballet, Surprise.

Business: BMO Harris Bank, Phoenix; LDVinci Art Studio, Chandler; Southwest Ambulance, Mesa.

Community: Alwun House Foundation, Phoenix; Contemporary Forum, Phoenix; Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts, Wickenburg; Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Flagstaff;
James E. Garcia, Phoenix; KXCI Community Radio, Tucson; Mesa Arts Center, Mesa; Release the Fear, Phoenix; Scottsdale International Film Festival, Scottsdale; Virginia G. Piper Charitable Foundation, Phoenix; Warehouse Arts Management Organization, Tucson; Young Arts Arizona Ltd., Phoenix.

Individual: Marco Albaran, Tempe; James K. Ballinger, Phoenix; Richard A. Bowers, Phoenix; Ted G. Decker, Phoenix; Faith Hibbs-Clark, Phoenix; Kaitlyn Mackay, Glendale;
Constance W. McMillin, Sun City; Nichole Newman-Colter, Litchfield; Hope Ozer, Paradise Valley; Rebecca Taylor, Yuma.

Honorees will be selected by an independent panel of judges.

The eighth annual Shelley Award also will be presented to an Arizona individual who has advanced the arts through strategic and innovative work in creating or supporting public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.  The award is named for Shelley Cohn, who spent more than 25 years as executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Ticket prices are $135 for members of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and $150 for nonmembers.  Sponsorships are available.
For information and to make reservations go to www.governorsartsawards.org.