Tag Archives: national bank of arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2011, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

Best of the Best Awards 2011: Finance & Professional

Winner: National Bank of Arizona

National Bank of Arizona, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011Opening its doors on Nov. 26, 1984, National Bank of Arizona was founded on a mission of building local relationships and providing exceptional customer service. More than 25 years later, its approach hasn’t changed. NB|AZ still prides itself on local expertise and delivering award-winning service. It’s grown from a single branch in Tucson to more than 76 branches in 56 communities throughout the state. Part of the Zions Bancorporation family, NB|AZ provides a suite of products and services tailored for its clients’ personal lives, businesses, specialty markets and wealth management. This comprehensive approach to banking enables National Bank of Arizona to be the only bank you need. Member FDIC.
Year Est: 1984
Principal(s): John J. Gisi, Keith D. Maio
Assets: $4.8B
National Bank of Arizona Logo, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 20116001 N. 24th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-235-6000 www.nbarizona.com



Finalist: Arizona State Credit Union

Arizona State Credit Union, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011Since 1951, Arizona State Credit Union has provided financial services and support to communities across Arizona. The $1.3 billion not-for-profit financial cooperative provides a full range of services to more than 130,000 current members online and through 21 branches statewide. Arizona State Credit Union offers competitive auto and home loan rates, high-yield savings accounts, affordable checking accounts, convenient online access and more. Local businesses have a wide variety of loan opportunities, working capital lines of credit and premium business checking accounts without premium fees. Arizona State Credit Union is headquartered in Phoenix.
Year Est: 1951
Principal(s): David E. Doss
Assets: $1.3B
Arizona State Credit Union Logo, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011, Finance & Professional2355 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
800-671-1098
www.azstcu.org



Finalist: Farmers Insurance Co.

Farmers Insurance, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011Farmers Insurance attributes its success to its outstanding agency force and top-notch claims team. With more than 700 agents and 600 employees in the state, Farmers is an organization that believes in the future of Arizona. Farmers agents are available to provide sound personal advice to meet the individual client’s needs for auto, homeowners, life, financial services and business insurance. Farmers agents are leaders in their communities, investing in program development for local teachers and supporting family friendly initiatives. Farmers is the second-largest insurance provider in Arizona, protecting the autos, homes, businesses and lives of over 500,000 Arizona customers.
Year Est: 1928
AZ Agents: 700
Principal(s): Frank Soldano
Farmers Insurance Logo, AZ Business Magazine Mar/Apr 201118444 N. 25th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85023
602-588-3443
www.farmersinsurance.com


Arizona Business Magazine Mar/Apr 2011

The annual Taste of Biltmore - Seasons 52 had just the right treat. A unique twist on traditional desserts, the restaurant was offering little shot glasses filled with sweet treats such as old-fashioned carrot cake and rocky road.

Plenty Of Food And Fun At The Taste Of Biltmore Culinary Event

At the annual Taste of Biltmore held Oct. 7th 2010 on the front lawn of the National Bank of Arizona headquarters in Phoenix, guests gathered to sample cuisine from 14 premier Biltmore-area restaurants.

Created in 2007, the 4th annual block party brought together residents to try local food favorites while enjoying the sounds of jazz vocalist Laura Fial & Friends. There was plenty of food and fun to go around with dishes ranging from some old school favorites: grilled cheese and tomato soup from Frank & Albert’s to refreshing yogurt desserts courtesy of Mojo Yogurt. With such an eclectic mix there was truly something for everyone.

Other notable dishes included the smoked salmon on crispy bruschetta from Houston’s; shrimp ceviche over cucumber panna cotta from the Wrigley Mansion; and the delicious seared black Ahi tuna on a bed of wakame salad and fried wonton with wasabi cream sauce from McCormick & Schmicks. The tasty combinations were endless.

For those with a sweet tooth but trying to curb their calorie intake, Seasons 52 had just the right treat. A unique twist on traditional desserts, the restaurant was offering little shot glasses filled with sweet treats such as old-fashioned carrot cake and rocky road. The catch? It’s all under 475 calories, as is everything that is served in this restaurant. Definitely worth checking out for the health-conscious foodie. All the mini-dishes presented by the restaurant were palate-pleasing and allowed guests to sample just enough to leave them wanting more.

Featured restaurants included Aiello’s, Donovan’s Steakhouse, Hava Java, Houston’s, McCormick & Schmicks, Omaha Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris, Mojo Yogurt, Seasons 52, Frank & Albert’s, The  Wrigley Mansion, Bluewater Grill, The Melting Pot and Adobe Restaurant.

The intimate event also served as the debut for We Are The Valley, a joint-fundraising program benefitting 11 local charities. Attendees had the opportunity to purchase special edition GivingBands, featuring the logo of a participating charity, made from recycled pewter and assembled by Arizona residents with disabilities.

The evening was a great success, promoting the delicious cuisine local restaurants have to offer and supporting a great cause.

Most Admired Companies - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

2010 Most Admired Companies Award Winners

Arizona Business Magazine and BestCompaniesAZ are honored to unveil the winners of our inaugural Arizona’s Most Admired Companies Awards.

With 43 winners, we think you’ll agree the awards selection committee has done an outstanding job in determining some of the most admired companies in our state.  Our primary goal in developing this program was to find those organizations that excel in four key areas: workplace culture, leadership excellence, social responsibility and customer opinion.  This list features the most prestigious companies in our state, providing us the opportunity to learn from the best.

Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Headquarters: Minneapolis
Year Est.: 1991
No. of Employees in AZ: 69
Recent Award: AIA Kemper Goodwin Award – 2009
WEB: www.a-p.com

AlliedBarton Security Services
Headquarters: Conshohocken, Penn.
Year Est.: 1957
No. of Employees in AZ: 1,047
Recent Award: Brandon Hall Research Award for Best Integration of Learning and Talent Management – 2009
WEB: www.alliedbarton.com
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American Express
Headquarters: New York
Year Est.: 1850
No. of Employees in AZ: 7,219
Recent Award: Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies – 2010
WEB: www.americanexpress.com
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Arizona Charter Academy
Headquarters: Surprise
Year Est.: 2001
No. of Employees in AZ: 61
Recent Award: Elks Lodge Community Partner of the Year – 2010
WEB: www.azcharteracademy.com
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Banner Health
Headquarters: Phoenix
Year Est.: 1999
No. of Employees in AZ: 27,528
Recent Award: Gallup Great Workplace Award – 2009
WEB: www.bannerhealth.com
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BeachFleischman PC
Headquarters: Tucson
Year Est.: 1991
No. of Employees in AZ: 104
Recent Award: Accounting Today’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For – 2009
WEB: www.beachfleischman.com

To buy a print version of the 2010 Arizona’s Most Admired Companies
go to MagCloud.com

Arizona's Most Admired Companies November-December 2010

2010 Best of the Best Awards

2010 BOB Awards: Finance & Professional

The following companies won the Gold, Silver and Bronze rankings in the Finance & Professional category of the 2010 BOB Awards.

2010 Best Of The Best Awards: Finance & Professional


2010 Best of the Best AwardsNational Bank of Arizona
Banks: $1B or more in AZ assets

Year Est.: 1984
Branches: 79
Principal(s): John J. Gisi, Keith D. Maio
Assets: $4.8B
nbarizona.com

2010 BOB AwardsWith 25 years of strength, stability and profitability, National Bank of Arizona is one of the state’s premier financial institutions. Since its inception, National Bank of Arizona has been there for its customers, continually searching for new ways to help them meet their financial goals. As a community focused and locally managed bank, we deliver industry-leading product solutions, award-winning service and innovative technology. Through our team of more than 1,100 employees, National Bank of Arizona reaches 55 diverse communities throughout Arizona.


2010 Best of the Best AwardsDeloitte & Touche LLP

Account Firms: 26 CPAs or more

2010 BOB Awards

Year Est.: 1961
CPAs: 88
Managing Partners: Michelle Kerrick
deloitte.com/us

2010 BOB AwardsSnell & Wilmer L.L.P

Law Firms: 65 Attorneys or more

2010 BOB AwardsYear Est.: 1938
AZ Attorneys: 223
Principal(s): John J. Bouma
swlaw.com

2010 Best of the Best Hall of Fame

 

National Bank of Arizona - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Best of the Best Awards 2009: Finance & Professional

Finance & Professional Honoree: Banks: $900M or more in AZ assets

National Bank of Arizona

National Bank of Arizona - Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Photograph by Duane Darling

With 25 years of strength, stability and profitability, National Bank of Arizona is one of the state’s premier financial institutions. Since its inception, National Bank of Arizona has been there for its customers, continually searching for new ways to help Arizonans meet their financial goals. As a community focused and locally managed bank with the resources of a major financial institution, we deliver industry-leading product solutions, award-winning service and innovative technology. Through our team of more than 1,100 employees, National Bank of Arizona reaches 55 diverse communities throughout Arizona. With this staff of experienced local bankers, we are able to respond to the needs of our customers with flexibility and custom solutions.

The effort, commitment and passion put forth by our bankers to deliver the very best customer service adds new honors to a bank that has been achieving firsts and bests since 1984.

6001 N. 24th St., Phoenix
602-235-6000
www.nbarizona.com

Year Est: 1984 Branches: 76
Principal(s): John J. Gisi,
Keith D. Maio
Assets: $4.8B


Finance & Professional Finalist: Accounting Firms: 26 CPAs or more

Deloitte & Touche LLP

Deloitte & Touche LLP’s goal today remains the same as it was since it began serving Arizona businesses more than 45 years ago. Deloitte & Touche is dedicated to helping its clients and people excel. Deloitte’s growing and thriving practice — the largest in the state — is the only company that provides Arizona businesses with a comprehensive range of professional services, including assurance, tax, enterprise risk management, management and information systems consulting, financial advisory services, employee benefits and human capital. Deloitte & Touche strives for the highest levels of integrity and public trust, every day, for every client.

2901 N. Central Ave., #1200, Phoenix
602-234-5100
www.deloitte.com/us


Finance & Professional Finalist: Law Firms: 65 Attorneys or more

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Greenberg Traurig offers an international platform built to meet the legal needs of today’s businesses. With 1,800 attorneys and governmental affairs professionals in 30 offices, our combination of wide-ranging experience and onthe- ground resources enables us to provide local insights and legal services in markets across the U.S. and around the world. Our Phoenix attorneys offer clients decades of local experience, complemented by the global reach of the GT network. GT helps clients take on the legal challenges they face today — and prepare for those they may face tomorrow.

2375 E. Camelback Road, #700, Phoenix
602-445-8000
www.gtlaw.com


Best of the Best Awards 2009 presented by Ranking Arizona

Keith Maio President and CEO National Bank of Arizona

CEO Series: Keith Maio President and CEO National Bank of Arizona

Keith Maio
President and CEO
National Bank of Arizona

Assess the current state of the banking industry in Arizona.
It looks pretty tough. The economic environment is difficult. What we deal with in Arizona is that we have a real estate-dominant economy, so many of the local banks are heavy in real estate lending. And — as we all know and see and live in our homes every day — assessed values and real estate valuations have declined dramatically, and that puts pressure on banks. That’s starting to trickle through to the consumer segment and small business segment. Everybody is feeling impacted. That being said, I would tell you that the banks in Arizona, the vast majority, are highly capitalized. So they’ve got the capital base to weather the storm.

In terms of the storm, are you seeing any light at the end of the tunnel?
I haven’t seen the light yet. I know it’s there, but I haven’t seen it yet.

How has the turmoil at the nation’s largest banks affected Arizona-chartered banks?
I think it’s a little bit anecdotal in nature. Some of the problems that the big banks feel are not felt directly by the more local, Arizona banks. Local banks tend to be a little higher capitalized, which is a good thing, and their exposures are more direct-lending exposures versus securities investments and off-balance sheet vehicles.

At the end of the day it’s all about credit contraction, so it impacts people different ways. But the local banks are more direct lenders, so it’s what happens directly in their market.

Do you think that’s a positive thing?
I think it’s a positive thing, other than the fact that we have been impacted so badly in Arizona relative to the rest of the country. So that makes it tougher. But at least when you have direct exposures, you are able to assess on an individual basis what that exposure is.

We are hearing more about the role off-bank balance sheet structures have had in the sharp decline in capitalization among the larger national banks. What type of exposure to such off-bank balance sheet structures do local banks have?
Local banks don’t have much exposure there, and what it allows those banks to do is to assess their risk on a transaction-by-transaction basis, rather than market valuations on pools of securities. So it’s a little easier to assess their risk. Local banks have a little bit more capital to weather the storm, but their exposures on the lending side tend to be a little bit greater than the large national banks.

What challenges and opportunities does the current financial crisis hold for local banks in general, and National Bank of Arizona in particular?
Having been through this before, I think there is an opportunity — and as a CEO you’ve got to always look at the long run, not just the short run. You need to manage what we’re all in the middle of today, but you need to keep an eye on the long run. In getting through this, these tough times actually make people and good organizations better. You’ll learn, ‘What could I have done better before,’ and people who want to improve will improve.

Organizations that can improve end up much better off in the long run. And generally, anytime you have a market disruption — which this is — there’s turmoil in the market and there’s disruption. However, over the long run it presents market-share opportunities to banks. I think that’s an opportunity a lot of us have in the long run — to resettle what the market shares look like at the end of this. For the survivors, it’s a very good thing.

At the end of the day it’s all about credit contraction, so it impacts people different ways. But the local banks are more direct lenders, so it’s what happens directly in their market.

Do you think that’s a positive thing?
I think it’s a positive thing, other than the fact that we have been impacted so badly in Arizona relative to the rest of the country. So that makes it tougher. But at least when you have direct exposures, you are able to assess on an individual basis what that exposure is.


We are hearing more about the role off-bank balance sheet structures have had in the sharp decline in capitalization among the larger national banks. What type of exposure to such off-bank balance sheet structures do local banks have?

Local banks don’t have much exposure there, and what it allows those banks to do is to assess their risk on a transaction-by-transaction basis, rather than market valuations on pools of securities. So it’s a little easier to assess their risk. Local banks have a little bit more capital to weather the storm, but their exposures on the lending side tend to be a little bit greater than the large national banks.

What challenges and opportunities does the current financial crisis hold for local banks in general, andNational Bank of Arizona in particular?
Having been through this before, I think there is an opportunity — and as a CEO you’ve got to always look at the long run, not just the short run. You need to manage what we’re all in the middle of today, but you need to keep an eye on the long run. In getting through this, these tough times actually make people and good organizations better. You’ll learn, ‘What could I have done better before,’ and people who want to improve will improve.

Organizations that can improve end up much better off in the long run. And generally, anytime you have a market disruption — which this is — there’s turmoil in the market and there’s disruption. However, over the long run it presents market-share opportunities to banks. I think that’s an opportunity a lot of us have in the long run — to resettle what the market shares look like at the end of this. For the survivors, it’s a very good thing.

    Vital Stats





  • Executive vice president, Zions Bancorporation, parent company of National Bank of Arizona
  • Joined National Bank of Arizona in 1992
  • Has served as president since 2001; appointed CEO in 2005
  • Current chairman, Arizona Bankers Association board of directors
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of New Mexico; graduate, Pacific Coast School of Banking
Financial Institutions Receive Bailout

Financial Institutions In Arizona Are Expected To Receive Bailout Money

While most of Arizona’s state-chartered banks were mulling over their options for federal assistance late last year, Uncle Sam was injecting billions of dollars of new capital into national banking companies with Arizona subsidiaries. The question is whether any of that money from the Department of the Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will find its way here.

Although there were a couple of exceptions, nationally chartered banks with Arizona operations didn’t know whether portions of their capital infusions would be earmarked for deployment in Arizona, and they may not know until sometime during the first quarter. The capital comes in the form of federal purchases of senior preferred shares. The Treasury set aside $250 billion for the program.

The Treasury purchased $200 million of shares in Seattle-based Washington Federal Inc., the parent company of Washington Federal Savings. John Pirtle, senior vice president and Phoenix division manager for Washington Federal, estimates the thrift’s Arizona operations will receive about $20 million and use it for mortgage lending.

Western Alliance Bancorporation in Las Vegas, owner of Alliance Bank of Arizona, received $140 million from the Treasury. James Lundy, chief executive officer of the Arizona bank, expects his parent company to share the new capital.

“I would expect we’ll get somewhere between $8 million and $12 million,” Lundy says. “That would be a good estimate. We are well capitalized now, but we do have plans to continue our growth trajectory, which has been pretty strong.”

Alliance Bank would use the capital to “support a bigger balance sheet, so we can gather more deposits to make more loans,” Lundy says. “Banks like ours are the ones making loans to small and mid-size businesses. Despite the economic issues Arizona is facing, we have strong loan demand from borrowers we think are very creditworthy.”

Ten million dollars in new capital can be leveraged to generate $100 million in new loans, Lundy says.

The Treasury purchased $1.715 billion of stock in Milwaukee-based Marshall & Illsley Corporation.

“All the funds are going to be used throughout the franchise,” says Dennis Jones, chairman and president of M&I’s Arizona region. “It’s not a matter of allocating a certain amount of it for Arizona.”

Chicago-based Northern Trust Corporation, parent company of Northern Trust Bank, received a $1.576 billion capital infusion. David Highmark, chairman and chief executive officer of the Arizona subsidiary, says he expects enough of the capital will flow to his bank to allow it to keep growing. Northern Trust Bank’s loan volume is two to three times its normal level.

“If our loan volume continues to grow as it has, we will get a portion of that money allocated to us,” Highmark says.

The parent company is classified as well capitalized, “but we knew, based on our growth, that we would ultimately need more capital. This was a timely opportunity for us,” Highmark notes.

Zions Bancorporation in Salt Lake City, owner of National Bank of Arizona, received $1.4 billion from the Treasury. Keith Maio, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona bank, says he expects his bank will receive some of the capital, but the amount has not been determined. Maio says the funds will be used to bolster the bank’s capital ratios to keep it actively lending, targeting small to medium-size businesses.

Other Treasury stock purchases of nationally chartered banks with Arizona subsidiaries break down as follows:
JPMorgan Chase & Co., New York — $25 billion.
Bank of America, Charlotte, N.C. — $25 billion.
Wells Fargo & Company, San Francisco — $25 billion.
U.S. Bancorp, Minneapolis, owner of U.S. Bank — $6.599 billion.
Comerica Incorporated, Dallas, owner of Comerica Bank — $2.25 billion.
Mutual of Omaha in Omaha, Neb., which acquired First National Bank of Arizona, did not apply for TARP funding.

The Treasury gave publicly traded banks the first opportunity to receive capital infusions, with a Nov. 14 deadline to apply for stock purchases. It issued capital-infusion guidelines later for privately held banks, which had until Dec. 8 to apply. According to the Arizona Bankers Association, most of Arizona’s 33 state-chartered banks are privately held and had not applied to the Treasury while they weighed their options as their deadline neared. Jack Hudock with the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions said eight state-chartered banks or bank holding companies had applied, but he could not identify them and did not know the status of their applications.

Meridian Bank of Arizona, a privately held, nationally chartered bank owned by Marquette Financial Companies in Minneapolis, applied for a federal stock purchase and was awaiting a decision from the Treasury concerning how much capital it might receive. Doug Hile, president and CEO of Meridian, is not happy that publicly traded banks had first shot at a capital infusion. He does not mince his words in his displeasure over how the government treated privately held banks.

“From a public policy perspective, it’s not fair to small banks that have opted not to go public with their stock,” Hile says. “We are up in arms about it. This is harming Main Street banking by not allowing them to participate on an equal basis.”

Money Flow

State-Chartered Banks Are Still Lending Despite The Credit Crunch

The credit crunch is gripping much of the nation, but Arizona banks are still lending money and most are well-capitalized to weather tough economic times. The state’s core capitalization rate of 10.31 percent is well above the national average of 7.89 percent. That means Arizona banks have a good cushion to ride out the mortgage-induced banking crisis.

Arizona has approximately 83 banks, and of those 33 are state chartered. It also has roughly 58 credit unions and 26 are state chartered. Felecia Rotellini, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, which oversees all state-chartered banks and credit unions, says state-chartered banks were not involved in subprime mortgage lending, so the mortgage meltdown is not impacting them. But capital drying up and lack of funds for borrowing, which precipitated the federal government’s $700 billion Wall Street rescue package, do impact state banks and make it more difficult for them to do business. Thus, state regulators across the country are closely monitoring the policies and proposals coming out of the U.S. Department of Treasury to make sure the advantages large national banks acquire from Treasury Chief Henry Paulson’s plan have equal impact on state community banks.

“As a result of subprime mortgages, foreclosures and the drop in property values, banks are seeing a reduction in profits and asset quality,” Rotellini says. “But I believe our state-chartered banks are well-managed and well-capitalized to weather the storm. It’s a matter of good management and reserves.”

In September, National Bank of Arizona’s strong capital position enabled it to acquire the FDIC-insured deposits of Silver State Bank’s Arizona offices in Tolleson, Chandler, Sun City and Scottsdale, after federal regulators took over the Nevada-based bank.

National Bank of Arizona’s plan is to merge all Silver State offices into its own nearby branch locations. National Bank of Arizona President and CEO Keith Maio says the bank is currently lending money to small and mid-sized businesses and for commercial real estate projects. But unlike a few months ago, the bank now has a stronger pre-leasing requirement on commercial real estate and a slightly higher credit quality hurdle for small business transactions. The bank also takes into consideration whether a prolonged economic downturn will significantly affect a business and whether management has the ability to maneuver a company through a protracted economic slump. Assessing management is critical, Maio says, because good managers have a solid business plan, they don’t look for excessive leverage and they can run a business successfully through good times and bad.

“Whether you’re an individual, business or bank, you can weather the storm if you have adequate capital,” Maio says. “Our goal is to work with customers the best we can while preserving our capital for future opportunities. That doesn’t mean we’re not making loans. It means we’re going to be judicious about capital. For the last eight to 10 years, there’s been too much leverage in both the business and consumer sectors and that’s what’s caused this financial crisis in its simplest form. Credit was too easy and too cheap. Now it’s harder to get and more expensive.”

The spiraling economic downturn has been a blessing in disguise for Bankers Trust Phoenix, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the $2.5 billion Midamerica Financial Corporation. The bank opened in January with $15 million in capital and a clean balance sheet, enabling it to build relationships with local real estate professionals and lend against high-quality assets that are strategically well-positioned to ride the economic upturn early in the next cycle.

“The fact that we missed the boom of the last several years has turned out to be an advantage for us,” says Patricia Rourke, president and CEO of Bankers Trust Phoenix. “As a newcomer in the market with no troubled credit and nothing in our portfolio, we were ready and able to lend when developers and real estate professionals were being turned away from other local banks.”

Harry Mateer, president and CEO of Altier Credit Union in Tempe, says credit unions have also been affected by the country’s financial crisis, but to a lesser degree. Credit unions have strict investment policy guidelines that prohibit them from entering into many of the lending areas of banks and other financial institutions. They focus on specific areas of lending, such as auto loans, home equity and credit cards.

“We’re currently seeing some liquidity shortages in the system,” Mateer says. “And I’ve heard this from other credit unions around the state, too. Members don’t have as much to save so there’s not a lot on deposit. Nevertheless, we’re focused on helping members in light of the economy and working with them when they have difficulties. People can still get loans, but we’ve changed our loan to value requirements to be a little more conservative. We’re now doing 80 percent loan to value, not 85 to 90 percent. And I think that’s what’s being done across all banks and credit unions.”

As a result of the mortgage-induced banking crisis, Arizona legislators passed a law during the 2008 legislative session (SB-1028) requiring all loan officers of mortgage companies in the state to be licensed after 2010. The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions is developing the licensing system for the state. Arizona has approximately 8,000 to 14,000 loan originators that will need to be licensed.

“Over the past few years, there’s been a breakdown in education and training of loan originators in Arizona who explain nontraditional loan products to consumers,” Rotellini says. “A lot of borrowers got into a loan product they didn’t understand and couldn’t afford over the lifetime of the loan, and the loan originators didn’t carry out a loan transaction that was suitable for the borrower. Loan originators also made more commission on option ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) products that over time yield higher interest rates, so conventional loans and FHA loans fell out of favor.”

The Department of Financial Institutions recently investigated a case that resulted in a Phoenix man losing his home. The man was put into an option ARM product with a teaser rate he could afford, even though he would have qualified for a VA loan. In time, the loan adjusted to a higher interest rate and the man couldn’t afford to make his house payments. When the man complained, the loan officer threatened to harm him, so the Department of Financial Institutions intervened. Unfortunately, it was too late. The man had no money to refinance, his credit was destroyed and he lost his home.

“Requiring loan originators to be licensed raises the level of accountability,” Rotellini says. “It’s going to improve the whole mortgage-lending experience for consumers and provide assurance that the loans they enter into will not default and are legitimate. Of course interest-only products will still be available, but they will no longer be abused.”