Tag Archives: Wells Fargo

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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

Photo by Mike Mertes, Az Big Media

Vicki Williams – Most Influential Women In Commercial Real Estate

Vicki Williams
Senior vice president, commercial real estate, Alliance Bank of Arizona
Years in the industry: 25+ 

Since 2004, Vicki Williams has been her company’s go-to person for commercial real estate at the largest bank headquartered in Arizona. Williams’ banking career began in New York for the Chase Manhattan Bank. She then joined a community bank in Phoenix, which ultimately, through mergers and acquisitions, became Wells Fargo. For the last two decades, she has specialized in commercial lending. Alliance Bank of Arizona has financed Building 3 at SkySong and the acquisition of MetroCenter by the Carlyle Development Group. Past president, Williams sits on the board of AZCREW, is a member of ULI and the Arizona Commercial Mortgage Bankers Association.

What is the hardest professional or personal challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
Being a manager and a single mother. I overcame it with the support of my team and my employer at the time, Norwest Bank.

What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishment?
Helping to build and grow Alliance Bank’s Phoenix commercial real estate lending team to become a dominant lender in the market and an important part of the bank’s success.

What is your most memorable deal or project?
Doing work on a portfolio of loans to companies in Mexico after the less-developed-country (LDC) debt crisis and peso devaluation in the 1980s.

What is your favorite part of your job?
Working for a bank whose management understands real estate and is growth oriented and values my input.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and how did that aspiration affect your career?
I had no idea what I wanted to be – or maybe I have just forgotten.

What is one little-known fact about you?
I enjoy trout fishing in the White Mountains, specifically stream fishing.

123rf.com: Kittitee Pangwang

Wells Fargo donates $27,000 to 10 nonprofits

Wells Fargo will contribute $27,000 to 10 nonprofits to recognize the valuable contributions the company’s Arizona team members have made to the groups.  The contributions are made through Wells Fargo’s Volunteer Service Award program which recognizes Wells Fargo team members who make an exceptional impact through volunteerism. The nonprofit where each winner volunteers receives a grant from Wells Fargo.

One Arizona nonprofit organization will receive a $10,000 contribution, two will receive $5,000, and seven will receive $1,000 to honor the extraordinary volunteer contributions of our Arizona team members who were recognized.  The top three Volunteer Service Award winners in Arizona and their associated nonprofit organizations are:

  • Bikers Against Child Abuse – $10,000 on behalf of volunteer Shirley Kruger, Corporate Risk information security engineer.  Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) Maricopa County chapter focuses on creating an environment for abused children in which they can feel safe and not afraid.  Kruger of Tempe has volunteered for Bikers Against Child Abuse for more three years in a variety of ways that impact the children being protected and supported. If there is a specific threat against a child, she and other volunteers will stand outside the home of the child 24 hours a day until the threat is resolved or the child feels safe. Children are assigned two members that they can call any time, day or night, 365 days a year. The two primaries check in regularly by phone and by visiting for months afterwards. If there is a court case, volunteers escort families from home to court, into the courtroom and then home again so they are safe.
  • Boxer Luv Rescue – $5,000 on behalf of Karol Como, Technology & Operations senior HR business partner.  Boxer Luv Rescue’s mission is to give new life to homeless Boxers and Boxer mixes from shelters and Humane Societies, strays wandering the streets, and owner turn-ins from people who no longer are able to care for their dogs due to financial hardship, medical issues, or those who simply do not want their pets any longer.  In addition to applying her skills and passion to a role on the organizations board of directors, Como of  Scottsdale was instrumental in the start-up, remodeling, recruitment of volunteers, mentoring of volunteers and creating the processes necessary to begin a new thrift ship which now serves as an important component to Boxer Luv Rescue’s ongoing fundraising needs.
  • Southwest Lending Closet – $5,000 on behalf of Ann Van Kerkwyk, Technology & Operations tech relationship manager.  The mission of the Southwest Lending Closet is to lend home health equipment to all in need.  The Closet provides the only service of its kind, although there are other organizations that lend medical equipment for a fee (rent/lease).  Van Kerkwyk of Avondale began volunteering at Southwest Lending Closet two years ago. She helps people of all ages just leaving the hospital, doctor’s office or care facility who have nowhere else to turn to get the equipment they need to maintain their mobility and independence. In addition to volunteering at the Closet, Ann serves on the board of directors and has been the treasurer since January 2014.

“Our Arizona Volunteer Service Award winners have shown an extraordinary commitment to serving their communities,” said Pam Conboy, Arizona lead regional president. “Our team members recognize the importance of supporting the health and vitality of our local communities and they are sharing their time and talents to help neighborhoods and the entire community.  Their giving spirits not only help communities but also help us better determine how the company can support and enhance communities.”

The 10 team members in Arizona are among 224 U.S. and international Wells Fargo team members to receive a Volunteer Service Award in 2015. Team members are encouraged to nominate their co-workers or themselves and a committee of fellow employees chooses the winners based on the nominee’s dedication to the nonprofit, time volunteered, effectiveness of their work, and the potential impact of the award on the community the nonprofit serves. The nonprofits receive grants from Wells Fargo ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. This year, nonprofits received $528,000 through the Wells Fargo Volunteer Service Award program. This is the program’s 37th year.

 

Volunteerism is a strong component of Wells Fargo’s culture. More than 38,000 team members belong to one of 115 Wells Fargo Volunteer Chapters. These community-based chapters organize local volunteer activities for Wells Fargo team members. In 2014, 64,350 team members volunteered 1.74 million hours with nonprofits and Wells Fargo donated $281.2 million to 17,100 nonprofits.

Women.Format

Jennifer Anderson: Most Influential Women in Arizona Business

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

Greatest accomplishment: “Working my way up to lead Wells Fargo’s 200-person business banking group in Arizona. I began my career with Wells Fargo in 1997 as a credit analyst, so it was a proud accomplishment for me.”

Childhood aspiration: “I wanted to be an equine/large animal veterinarian.  I encouraged my dad to start an Arabian horse farm and he encouraged me to consider a business degree at ASU.”

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.

richard

UMB hires Richard Ziegner as director of healthcare banking

UMB Bank, n.a., a subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF), announced that it has hired Richard Ziegner as executive vice president and director of healthcare banking. Ziegner is responsible for leading the bank’s efforts in the healthcare sector and providing capital and financial solutions to healthcare providers.

Ziegner has more than 20 years of financial and healthcare banking and consulting experience. Prior to his new role at UMB, he was senior vice president and regional manager in the healthcare financial services and commercial banking segments at Wells Fargo.

“Richard brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to UMB with more than two decades of experience in the financial services, consulting and healthcare lending areas,” said Pat Thelen executive vice president of treasury management, capital markets and international banking at UMB Bank. “We are excited to have him join our team and provide strategic leadership in healthcare banking.”

Ziegner graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from Northern Arizona University. Ziegner is active in the community having served on several nonprofit boards, including First Choice Community Healthcare, Inc., and Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation.

kids.money

How can you raise financially savvy children?

With school out for the summer, there’s no better time to teach children about money and finances, experts say.

“By teaching children the importance of opportunity costs at a young age, we can better prepare them to become confident and successful members of our community once they enter the real world,” says Jim Lundy, CEO of Alliance Bank of Arizona.

No matter a child’s age, it’s never too early to prepare him or her for a successful future by building financial literacy skills today. Teachable money moments can happen with kids as young as 3 years old and the sooner parents begin to influence positive financial behaviors, the better the chance kids have to succeed in managing money.

“Kids learn a lot by watching what you do,” says Kelly Kaminskas, senior vice president at FirstBank. “I think a lot of parents make the mistake of sheltering kids from money conversations. It’s important to take them to the bank with you, show them how you save for long-term goals, or explain the difference between funding needs versus wants.  These learning opportunities can be extremely valuable as they get older.”

“With almost everything else, we teach our children by talking as we go about our day,” says Christina Burroughs, managing partner at Miller Russell Associates, “but or some reason, that’s not the case with money or financial issues.”

Burroughs says many people grew up in families where it was taboo to talk about money, others worry that children who know that come from well-off families will lose their motivation, while some parents are reticent talk about finances because they don’t want to burden their children with adult concerns.

“But there is a nice middle ground where parents can talk about concepts without burdening children,” Burroughs says. “It’s really helpful for families to talk about the idea behind economy — that people make things or provide services that other people want or need. Then, expand on the idea that when people buy things, it becomes economy and everyone has opportunity to grow and get better because of that. Parents will be thrilled to see how quickly kids become excited by these ideas.”

Burroughs says it’s safe for parents to start talking to children as early as 3 or 4, as long as the conversation is age appropriate.

“The best thing parents can do is simply talk to their kids about the importance of budgeting, saving, and managing credit,” says Joe Bleyle, senior vice president and director of commercial real estate for Enterprise Bank & Trust. “Specifically, kids can participate in developing the family’s budget and open a savings account with encouragement to save for larger purchases.”

With high-school age kids, experts say the conversations can expand into how to get a job, how to dress to impress in the professional world, how to build a business network and the basic principles of business and entrepreneurial thinking.

“The lessons children learn while they are young will shape how financially successful they will be as adults,” says Michael Lefever, senior vice president and business banking area manager for Wells Fargo. “Just as regular exercise and a good diet are essential for physical fitness, knowing the basics of saving, budgeting and planning are essential for financial fitness.”

In order to prepare children for financial success, Deborah Bateman, vice chairman of National Bank of Arizona, says it’s imperative to show them that money is just paper without a purpose or a goal.

“As parents, the most important lesson we can teach our kids is the value of money, and we can teach that lesson and help our kids create a healthy relationship with money by teaching them to give money ‘purpose,’” Bateman says. “We teach our kids to give money purpose  by teaching them to set goals. As soon as a child can articulate their goals, we should help them to monetize those goals. It is the purpose we give our money that makes it valuable and guides our kids to make confident money decisions.”

Summer school lessons for finances

Here are five money lessons that parents can teach their children at home this summer, according to financial experts at Alliance Bank of Arizona:

How to build a balanced budget: Vacation planning is the perfect time to teach kids about budgeting. Questions like, “Where will we go?”, “What will we do?” and “How much will we spend?” can guide children through the decision-making and conscious-spending process. First, start allocating funds to basics like hotel, food and gasoline. Then, discuss that fun activities and souvenirs can only be purchased if you budget the right amount of money.

How to make important buying decisions (wants vs. needs): Review your household budget or a sample budget with your kids. Help them understand what a balanced budget is and that the goal is to save more money than you spend. Explain that there are items we need like shelter and food. But, there are also things that we want, like new shoes, a cell phone and toys, which can wait until we have saved enough to purchase them.

The importance of interest: Say you’re in a store and your child points to a toy and says, “Can you buy that for me?” Instead of handing over the toy, offer to loan your child a small amount of money, provided that they pay you back the same amount within 30 days. Remind them often that if they can’t pay on time, you’ll add more money to what they owe until they pay the money back. One day past the deadline, add to the amount and explain why they owe more.

The correlation between learning and earning: Set up a sample budget based on what your kids want. Then, determine the average monthly income of a high school graduate, someone with post-secondary training, someone with a Bachelor’s degree, and someone with a Master’s degree. This shows how much money they need to earn to have the things they want and how that correlates with their level of education.

The importance of being a contributing member of their community: Chores that are tied to earning money are a great way to help kids learn about their role in a family unit and gives them a glimpse at what is required of community members. An effective tool is myjobchart.com which helps parents set up and track chores for their children, along with prompting discussions about saving, giving and spending.

Food-Drive_2-2015

Wells Fargo supports food banks in annual drive

Wells Fargo will be conducting its annual summer statewide food drive June 9-23.  The event collects donations for food banks that span the entire state with collection bins in all 260 Wells Fargo Community Banking stores throughout Arizona.

Donations will benefit members of the Association of Arizona Food Banks.  In 2014, Arizona food banks collectively distributed 127 million pounds of food – equivalent to 105.8 million meals, reaching Arizonans in need at 1,200 sites statewide.  People who wish to donate cash can send checks to their local food banks or to the Association of Arizona Food Banks whose mission is to deliver food and quality services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of their commitment to eliminate hunger.  Donations may be made online at http://www.azfoodbanks.org or sent to 2100 N. Central Ave., Ste. 230, Phoenix, Ariz. 85004.

“This the eighth year we have held our annual Statewide Summer Food Drive to benefit Arizona food banks and it’s something our team members look forward to,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “Last summer we collected 39,328 pounds of food, equivalent to providing 66,124 meals, and we hope to collect even more this year.”

The needs of families and individuals around the state continue to be strong, according to the Association of Arizona Food Banks:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 Arizonans (1.16 million people) live in poverty
  • More than 1 in 4 of Arizona children (28% – an estimated 454,460 children) suffer from food insecurity
  • Arizona ranked 8th highest in the nation for individuals living in poverty, and 11th highest for children in 2013.

“We’re so proud to once again partner with Wells Fargo for this food drive,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. “They have been a tremendous supporter and community partner for a long time, and this food drive comes at a critical time for food banks throughout Arizona experiencing strong demand for services over the summer months.”

 

An Aerial Shot of Downtown Tucson, Arizona

Wells Fargo grants $500,000 to help revitalize Tucson

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), one of America’s leading community banks and the nation’s largest home mortgage lender, today announced donations totaling $500,000 to seven local nonprofits to help strengthen and revitalize Tucson neighborhoods through the Wells Fargo NeighborhoodLIFT® program.

The local grant recipients were identified in close collaboration with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to support five key areas: Support services for the homeless, neighborhood beautification and improvement, education and workforce programs, food access, and economic growth.

Wells Fargo has presented $500,000 in grants to the following Tucson nonprofits:

  • Community Food Bank of Southern AZ — $25,000 to support nutritional health and help Tucson residents overcome hunger and poverty.
  • Pima Council on Aging — $50,000 to support senior housing assistance to help at-risk seniors remain in their own homes for as long as possible.
  • Tucson Clean and Beautiful-Trees for Tucson — $50,000 to support neighborhood beautification and build environmental stewardship to make neighborhoods safer and more livable.
  • Tucson Urban League — $75,000 to support the Career Yes workforce development and education program.
  • Old Pueblo Community Services — $100,000 to support permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans.
  • Our Family Services — $100,000 to support transitional housing for homeless adults who come from backgrounds of severe abuse and neglect.
  • Pima Community College Foundation — $100,000 to support workforce development and education.

The grants are funded through Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program that was launched in 2012. The program is an innovative effort created to help revitalize neighborhoods and help people buy homes by making properties more affordable with down payment assistance available for eligible prospective buyers. Since 2012 LIFT programs have helped create more than 9,300 new homeowners in 34 communities with down payment assistance and homebuyer education.

“Wells Fargo is the leading mortgage lender in Arizona and we are proud to support our communities to help ensure a thriving and healthy community base,” said John Gibson, Greater Southern Arizona area president for Wells Fargo. “The nonprofits are actively leading efforts to help strengthen neighborhoods, address homelessness, and promote jobs and education programs, and we are excited to help support their tremendous efforts with the NeighborhoodLIFT program local initiatives funds.”

“Wells Fargo’s NeighborhoodLIFT program has already helped to boost homeownership and reduce the inventory of vacant houses,” said Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson. “These grants will further help to improve our community by supporting services that build our city up, creating a more promising future for Tucsonans.”

In addition to the local grants, the NeighborhoodLIFT program helped further the housing recovery in Tucson and South Tucson by providing $4.5 million in down payment assistance grants and program support to help more families achieve successful, sustainable homeownership. The NeighborhoodLIFT event held in Tucson on September 5-6, 2014 helped to create 207 new homeowners in Tucson and South Tucson.

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How will Obama plan impact financial planners, consumers?

President Obama recently announced a “new” ruling requiring financial advisors to put their clients’ interests above their own. Sounds like a good thing, right?

Not so fast.

“We have ongoing concerns that the Department of Labor and the White House have completely ignored the existence of the robust regulatory regime under the SEC and (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority),” said Kenneth Bentsen, president and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. “This re-proposal could make it harder to save for retirement by cutting access to affordable advice and limiting options for savers.”

Obama’s “new” initiative is actually not so new. It’s a rewrite of a 2010 rewrite of the 40-year-old fiduciary rule that was eventually withdrawn in 2011 amidst industry furor. Despite the retread, something needed to be done to address the “backdoor payments” and “hidden fees” that cost Americans up to $17 billion a year in lost retirement savings, according to The Effects of Conflicted Investment Advice on Retirement Savings.

The new Department of Labor rules would require brokers to be held to a fiduciary standard, meaning that they must put their clients’ interests first. For example, given the choice between two similar funds, the broker would have to recommend the one with the lowest fees and commissions.

“Many consumers are not aware that the advisors they have hired to manage their investments are not required to act as a fiduciary,” said Mark Feldman, CEO and managing partner of Miller Russell Associates. “In other words, the advisor may not be required by law to recommend products or solutions that are in the best interest of the consumer. Many of these professionals receive commissions or fees for recommending certain products over others. The standard differs between different types of advisors (registered investment advisors vs. non-registered advisors or brokers). A suitability standard is not the same as a fiduciary standard.”

Feldman said SEC or state-registered investment advisors will see little impact even if Obama’s initiative is implements.

“These advisors have always been held to the fiduciary standard,” he said. “However, advisors of retirement accounts only, not currently registered with the SEC or state as an investment advisor, will be significantly impacted. It is not yet clear how that will look from a regulatory and accountability standpoint. We will likely see significant changes with FINRA, state departments of insurance and other organizations that provide oversight of advisors who are not currently required to act in a fiduciary capacity.”

Phil Kim, divisional vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest, said by raising the fiduciary standards by which advisors must be held accountable, Obama’s initiative will improve the profession and weed out the individuals that lack the knowledge and skills and do not place the consumers’ best interests first.

“With the implementation of this new initiative, I hope that a more open dialogue between consumers and financial advisors will be fostered,” Kim said. “Over time, I think people will start to regard professionals in our industry with the same respect as they do with their personal physicians.”

Until then, Sean McCarthy, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, said advisors should be prepared for the possibility of more stringent oversight with increased need for disclosure and heightened regulatory requirements.

“Beyond that, advisors should anticipate greater demand from clients that they clearly articulate their value,” McCarthy said. “Clients will want to understand what it is they are paying for and what they should expect from the relationship with their professional.”

While the potential impact on financial planners and financial advisors remains uncertain, the potential impact of the initiative is clear for consumers.

“Consumers should expect to see more benefits — free advice if the rule change is implemented, as well as potentially lower investment fees inside retirement accounts,” said Paul Rutkowski, managing partner, investment strategy for Nelson Financial Services.

While the impact on consumers is positive, McCarthy  said the industry must be prepared for the potential effect on profitability. He said Obama’s initiative could negatively impact income statements in two ways:

• Slower revenue growth is possible if fee transparency creates fee compression

• Expenses — in time and dollars — would be greater to comply with increased regulation

“Depending upon the severity of these implications, some participants may need to exit the industry, leaving consumers with an unfortunate and unintended consequence of less selection,” McCarthy said.

Despite the possible impact on the bottom line, most financial experts see the initiative’s silver lining.

“A uniform fiduciary standard for advisors who manage retirement accounts clearly favors the consumer,” Feldman said. “This is good.”

CHOOSING A FINANCIAL PLANNER

Here is what Valley financial experts advise consumers to think about before hiring a financial planner:

Mark Feldman, CEO and managing partner, Miller Russell Associates: “Consumers should understand the fee structure, and be aware of ‘hidden” fees.’ Ask the advisor if he/she receives fees in addition to any management fee paid by the consumer. Professionals who also receive commissions or other fees for recommending certain products have an inherent conflict of interest and the White House report released in February states that conflicted advice leads to lower investment returns.”

Phil Kim, divisional vice president, AXA Advisors Southwest: “This business is about building trustworthy relationships. Consumers can begin their due diligence by looking for a clean (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) record, as well as the backing of a financially healthy firm. Referrals and recommendations from other trusted advisors, along with attainment of industry designations and appropriate licenses and registrations are other items to look for in a financial professional.”

Jason R. Miller, CFP, market manager, regional director, financial planning, BMO Private Bank: “While formal training is certainly not the only factor in choosing a financial provider, it is a very important one. Look for professionals who have demonstrated the appropriate level of formal training as well as a commitment to continuing education. Research and understand the requirements for the different designations and/or certifications these professionals may have. Financial matters are often complex and it is invaluable to have a knowledgeable partner on your side.”

Paul Rutkowski, managing partner, investment strategy, Nelson Financial Services: “Ask your CPA, attorney, neighbor or family member who they work with and what level of satisfaction they have with that person. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions about costs, the amount of risk for each strategy recommended and how advisor gets paid. Advisors should provide 100 percent full disclosure on how much they get compensated for their service.”

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Phoenix Chamber honors winners of 2015 IMPACT Awards

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) recognized eight outstanding Valley businesses at the 28th annual IMPACT Awards today, with Pinnacle Transplant Technologies and Goodwill of Central Arizona earning accolades as the 2015 IMPACT Businesses of the Year. The luncheon celebrated the remarkable contributions these companies and their employees make to the Greater Phoenix community.

“Congratulations to our 2015 IMPACT Businesses of the Year, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies and Goodwill of Central Arizona,” stated Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “Their work is so impressive across the full spectrum that they are truly deserving of special recognition. Both organizations enhance our community and demonstrate the true spirit of entrepreneurialism in everything they do. We are proud to recognize their outstanding achievements.”

2015 IMPACT Business of the Year (Small to Medium Business Sector – 250 employees or fewer): Pinnacle Transplant Technologies Russ Yelton, CEO

Founded in 2010, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies (PTT) recognized the need to establish a processing and distribution facility that would enable medical professionals to acquire quality tissue for transplant. Located in Phoenix, Ariz., PTT’s newly constructed 24,000-square-foot processing facility was designed by tissue banking experts to meet the specific demands of the industry.

PTT specializes in processing musculoskeletal tissue for use in orthopedic, dental, spine, trauma and other medical procedures and reconstruction surgeries. A multi-service tissue bank dedicated to the ethical participation in the Donate Life ™ process, PTT only works with federally chartered organ procurement organizations accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks. One of two 2015 IMPACT Award recipients in Entrepreneurial Excellence, PTT is dedicated to providing superior tissue for transplantation, assuring transplant patient safety and provide reverence to our donor families.

“It is such an honor to receive the 2015 IMPACT Business of the Year Award,” said Noah Stromer, chief operating officer of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies. “It’s a testament to the hard work of our associates and to the generosity of donor families. The underlying force of what we’re doing and the positive impact that we’re having on people keeps us going. Every day, our goal is help people and make their lives better. It’s a great honor to be in such company with all of this year’s IMPACT recipients.”

Website: www.pinnacletransplant.com  | Phone: 623.277.5400

2015 IMPACT Business of the Year Award (Large Business Sector – More than 250 employees): Goodwill of Central Arizona Tim O’Neal, President and CEO

Founded in Phoenix in 1947, Goodwill of Central Arizona is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides job training and other services for Arizonans who want to find a job, pursue a credential or degree or strengthen their finances. Its vision is, “Through the work of Goodwill, all people will have the opportunity to learn, work and achieve their greatest potential.” Goodwill’s mission: “We Put People to Work.”

Goodwill fulfills this mission by providing job training, education and employment placement services to job seekers in Arizona. Its services are offered at no cost to the community, and funded in large part by its retail stores, where donations of gently used clothing and household goods are sold. Goodwill of Central Arizona currently operates 63 stores, 14 donation centers and 22 career centers in Maricopa County, Yuma and Prescott. Serving as a link to employment for job seekers of all skill levels and backgrounds, Goodwill’s clients include senior citizens, veterans, individuals with language barriers and people with disabilities or other specialized needs.

“It’s great to work for an organization that helps people and puts them on their feet,” said Tim O’Neal, president and CEO of Goodwill of Central Arizona. “It’s very special to be a part of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s IMPACT Awards, but the best thing about receiving this award is that it brings greater awareness of our workforce development efforts that we focus on each and every day. Winning this award would not even be possible if it weren’t for our partners, the people who generously donate and our valued associates.”

Website: www.goodwillaz.org  | Phone: 602.535.4000

IMPACT Award Recipients in the Small to Medium Business Sector (250 employees or fewer):

Community Champion: Arizona School Choice Trust

Economic Driver: HDR, Inc.

Entrepreneurial Excellence: Pinnacle Transplant Technologies

Response to Adversity: Anderson Security Agency, Ltd.

 

IMPACT Award Recipients in the Large Business Sector (More than 250 employees)

Community Champion:  Wells Fargo

Economic Driver: Goodwill of Central Arizona

Entrepreneurial Excellence:  EXOS

Response to Adversity:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Sentinel Award Recipients

For their willingness to champion efforts that ensure Arizona’s business climate is healthy and competitive, the Chamber recognized Arizona State Representative Kate Brophy McGee, Arizona State Representative Bob Robson and Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio with Sentinel Awards.

Concluded Sanders, “All of the companies and Sentinel Award recipients honored today continue to set new standards that positively impact the greater Phoenix business community and we are proud to recognize their outstanding achievements.”

For more information on all the 2015 IMPACT recipients,  visit www.phoenixchamber.com/impact2015.

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Ryan Backlund to lead Wells Fargo Private Bank in Arizona

Wells Fargo Private Bank announced today Ryan Backlund as regional managing director for Arizona.  Backlund, based in Scottsdale, will oversee all wealth management functions for the area, including private banking, credit, investment management, insurance, and trust and estate services through Wells Fargo Bank, NA, as well as brokerage services through Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC.

Previously Backlund served as regional director for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Seattle, Washington.  Prior to joining Wells Fargo, he worked as a managing director for the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank.

“Ryan is a skilled professional who has a keen understanding of the strategic and financial needs of Wells Fargo’s Private Bank clientele,” said John Duchala, senior managing director for Wells Fargo Private Bank.  “His extensive financial services background will be a great asset in helping our clients to manage  assets during any economic cycle.”

Backlund received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Washington State University and holds a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation.  

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Wells Fargo names Pam Green business banking manager

Pam Green, a financial services veteran with more than 14 years of experience, has been named Business Banking manager for Wells Fargo Business Banking in the North Valley.  John Bush, Business Banking manager for the Northwest Markets, announced the appointment.

Green joined Wells Fargo in 2001 as a business sales associate. She also has served as a credit analyst and, most recently was a principal business relationship manager where she was responsible for business credit and deposit needs, cash management solutions and risk management for Wells Fargo business customers.  She currently serves on the board of directors for Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services.

Green earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arizona.  Her office will be located at 2123 W. Happy Valley Road, Phoenix.

“As the nation’s leading business lender, Wells Fargo is committed to satisfying all of the financial services needs of business customers and helping them succeed financially,” Bush said.  “During her career, Pam has excelled at providing outstanding service to our customers.  Her strong skills, years of experience, and commitment to helping our business customers reach their goals under all economic conditions, make her tremendous asset for our North Valley Business Banking and our customers.”

Wells Fargo Business Banking delivers customized solutions and tailored business packages to help our business customers grow and prosper.  These include loans and lines of credit, treasury management, payroll, merchant card services, foreign exchange, employee benefit plans, real estate lending, online banking and bill payment, business and personal insurance, investments, trusts, wealth management, business valuation and retirement planning.

The Home Furnishing & Design Show will debut March 28-29, 2015, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

Healthy Housing Challenge kicks off in Phoenix

Rebuilding Together and a team of Wells Fargo volunteers will formally kick off the Healthy Housing Challenge  on April 25, 2015 by completing critical repairs to make a home in North Central Phoenix dramatically healthier and safer. Repairs will include: painting and landscaping the home’s exterior, new windows, siding and fascia and will be funded, in part, by a $15,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation along with a commitment of 60 team member volunteer hours.
 
Rebuilding Together is one of 32 local organizations across the country that is leading the Healthy Housing Challenge, which is a joint project of the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) and Rebuilding Together.  The Healthy Housing Challenge provides tools, training and additional funds to help Rebuilding Together affiliates make free critical repairs to correct health and safety hazards in the homes of low-income families, seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities.
 
Nationwide, an estimated 30 million homes pose potential health threats, which contribute to asthma and other respiratory diseases, carbon monoxide poisoning, lung cancer, falls, and burns, which add billions to national health care costs.  Many such hazards can be corrected through relatively simple, low-cost repairs, such as repairing roofs and gutters, removing old carpeting, clearing clogged clothes dryer vents, adding ventilation, installing grab bars and handrails, and sealing gaps and cracks to keep out pests.
 
Making Homes Healthier and Safer
 
“Wells Fargo is proud to support Rebuilding Together and help to kick off the National Housing Challenge,” said Pam Conboy, lead region president for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Our team members are passionate about giving back and we know that these small measures, together, will make a huge difference to housing in Phoenix and to the well-being of those who live here.”
 
Since 2013, Wells Fargo has committed $959,000 to the Healthy Housing Challenge, helping to build the capacity of 40 Rebuilding Together affiliates in communities across the country.
 
Rebuilding Together affiliates in 11 other communities are making expanded health and safety repairs through Healthy Housing Challenge projects this spring: Austin, TX; Bergen County, NJ; Houston, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Montgomery County, MD; Portland, OR; Rohnert Park/Cotati, CA; Saratoga County, NY; Santa Rosa, CA; Silicon Valley, CA; and Tri-Cities, VA.
 
“We hope that by participating in the Healthy Housing Challenge, Rebuilding Together affiliates will have a ripple effect in their communities. The public deserves to know about dangers in the home and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves,” said Dennis Flynn, Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun. “When we work together in applying the principles of healthy homes, simple repairs can make every home safer and healthier.” 
 
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Wells Fargo awards paid volunteer leave

Hamp, Ian 2014Wells Fargo Community Affairs Representative Iain Hamp of Mesa has been awarded a Volunteer Leave Award from Wells Fargo, and will receive his full pay while volunteering at Phoenix Community ToolBank.  Volunteer Leave Awards are presented to selected Wells Fargo team members, enabling them to take up to three months of paid leave to focus on a community-based volunteer project of their choice.  Hamp is one of 11 Wells Fargo team members across the country to receive an award so far in 2015.  He will begin his five week long project at Phoenix Community ToolBank on March 2.

The Phoenix Community ToolBank stewards an inventory of tools for lending to charitable organizations to increase the impact of their mission-related efforts in the community. The organization also provides the staging area for all of the equipment and coordinates efforts with the nonprofits. Hamp witnessed first-hand the power of a local market ToolBank while in Charlotte, N.C. in June 2011. When he returned to Phoenix, he called ToolBank USA to begin the process of bringing a ToolBank to the Phoenix area.

“Every day, Wells Fargo team members like Iain are out in our communities making a difference in the lives of others,” said Pamela Conboy, Lead Region President for Wells Fargo in Arizona.  “Each year thousands of our team members volunteer their time and talent in communities across the country, helping thousands of individuals, families, and nonprofit groups. Our Volunteer Leave Program is one way that we honor this community involvement, and recognize our most exceptional team member volunteers.”

Wells Fargo’s Volunteer Leave Program was established in 1976 and is open to team members who have been with the company for five years among other criteria. Winners are chosen annually based on their personal commitment to the organization, their proposed project, and the potential impact that their project goals will have on addressing a specific social issue. In addition to being paid their full salary during the volunteer leave, recipients also receive full benefits as well.

Wells Fargo encourages team members to get involved in the communities where they live and work. More than 50,000 team members volunteer annually on projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds, restoring parks and public land, helping to collect and sort food to be provided to the homeless or those with low incomes, and delivering financial education to individuals and families using Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo No. 1 SBA lender for Arizona

Wells Fargo & Company announced it is the No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7 (a) lender in Arizona in amount of dollars and number of loans  approved for fiscal year 2014.  Wells Fargo approved $89,034,400 and 197 loans to Arizona businesses from Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

“Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do and is a key focus for our company,” said Greg DeJesus, SBA regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Every SBA dollar we lend helps an Arizona business owner start, expand or invest in a business and helps keep the Arizona economy strong.  We believe that the flow of new loan dollars into our communities represents a very powerful statement for job creation and economic development.”

Nationally, Wells Fargo approved a record $1.6 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014).  The company increased its dollar volume of SBA 7(a) loans by 10 percent from a year ago. An SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, Wells Fargo also is the second largest SBA lender by units, extending 4,036 SBA 7(a) loans in federal fiscal year 2014, a 16 percent increase in units from the prior year.

Wells Fargo is the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender in dollars in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas  – and the No.1 SBA 7(a) lender in number of loans (units) in 8 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia.

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Wells Fargo gives $200K to Chicanos Por La Causa

Wells Fargo & Company announced it has donated $200,000 to Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) through its 2014 Leading the Way Home® program Priority Markets Initiative to  help stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods impacted by the economy.   The Leading The Way Home® program Priority Markets Initiative provides grant support for neighborhood stabilization projects that are located in areas designated for revitalization to stimulate growth, stability and investment in distressed areas.  This grant was part of a $6 million grant initiative awarded to 54 nonprofits across the country.

“Wells Fargo is proud to provide support to enable Chicanos Por La Causa to continue its work to stabilize and revitalize our local communities,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo Arizona. “Community support and neighborhood revitalization is a key focus for our company and we believe the work of the nonprofit community is a critical conduit to revitalize neighborhoods in cities that have been deeply affected by the challenging economy.”

CPLC is actively involved and experienced in community revitalization efforts and was identified by Wells Fargo as being in need of extra help with large-scale neighborhood revitalization projects. Priority Markets Initiative program grants can be used for any costs associated with the development or redevelopment of the project. Recipients must be an IRS 501c3 organizations with successful histories of building or renovating housing for low-to moderate-income homebuyers.

“We appreciate and thank Wells Fargo for their visionary work and investment in community revitalization,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, CPLC President and CEO. “We look forward to distributing the funding to ensure that quality affordable homes are available in our community; continue to help stabilize housing values and preserve neighborhoods; and empower potential homebuyers to make educated decisions when purchasing a home.”

CPLC will use the grant funds to rehabilitate 10 properties in three distressed Phoenix zip codes and provide down payment assistance to 10 homebuyers at or below 80 percent of the area median income.  The organization has a long-standing history of providing the tools necessary to empower individuals, families, and communities to achieve their aspirations and become self-sufficient. In fact, CPLC successfully led a national consortium to revitalize markets in eight states through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2. CPLC understands that having a safe and comfortable place to live is fundamental for families to live healthy and prosperous lives.

Since 2009, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation Priority Markets Program has provided more than $30 million across 100 communities.

Since 1993, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation has stewarded nearly $300 million to nonprofits in support of affordable housing and community revitalization programs. Wells Fargo Housing Foundation programs have also delivered 4.7 million volunteer hours to build or rehabilitate more than 5,000 homes during the past two decades.

A Guide to Applying for a Bank Loan

Wells Fargo hiring to fill teller, banker positions

Wells Fargo announced it is currently accepting applications for 192 positions for tellers and personal bankers throughout the state, especially for Spanish-speaking tellers.

Wells Fargo team members are a diverse group of individuals who enjoy helping our customers succeed financially.  Tellers and personal bankers spend nearly 100 percent of their time providing outstanding service to Wells Fargo banking customers while helping to identify products and services solutions that will benefit the customer, and responding to customer questions.

Wells Fargo was recently named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune Magazine.  In Arizona, Wells Fargo employs approximately 15,000 team members and has 259 banking stores.

“Wells Fargo offers a great working environment for our team members along with many opportunities for advancement,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo Arizona.  “Our team members are essential to achieving our vision of satisfying our customer’s financial needs and helping them succeed financially and we welcome to the opportunity to strengthen our workforce as we help put Arizonans back to work.”

Opportunities are available for full time and part time positions which include a comprehensive benefits package including medical, vision, and dental plans; 401(k) plan; paid time off (PTO); disability plans; life insurance options; tuition reimbursement; and many more benefits. The positions are for shifts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., Monday – Saturday.  Candidates must be 18 years of age or older. Compensation is based on experience– and candidates are eligible to earn quarterly incentive pay based on performance.
Applications, including complete job requirements, are available by going online to www.wellsfargo.com/careers.

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Wells Fargo Arizona team members donate $3.4M to nonprofits

Wells Fargo & Company announced that its Arizona team members donated more than $3.4 million to nonprofit organizations and schools in Arizona as part of the company’s annual Community Support and United Way Campaign.  All donations were funded personally by team members. In addition to a 14 percent year-over-year increase in donations, the one-month campaign also resulted in 7,349 volunteer hours contributed by team members to 638 nonprofits and other causes in local communities across the country.

“Each year, our Arizona team members dig deeper to give more to their community.” said Pam Conboy, Arizona lead regional president and state campaign co-chair. “This annual campaign highlights the compassion of our great team members and reinforces that Wells Fargo truly is Arizona’s Community Bank.  Our team members’ deep commitment to our community explains why Wells Fargo has been United Way’s No. 1 largest corporate campaign over the past five years nationally.”

The annual Community Support and United Way Campaign encourages team members to give in ways that mean the most to them, whether by going out into the community to volunteer for their favorite nonprofit, or through financial contributions to any nonprofit, school, or religious institution of their choice. One hundred percent of team member donations go to the organizations they choose. Wells Fargo pays all processing costs and matches gifts, up to $5,000 per team member, to qualifying schools.

This year’s campaign theme, Small is Huge. It all adds up to make a difference, was all about how small efforts that help to lift up communities can add up to huge results.  In addition to the funds that Wells Fargo Arizona team members personally contributed, they also coordinated activities to raise money for their favorite nonprofits, including Valley of the Sun United way, Homes for our Troops, Back to School Clothing Drive, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Soldier’s Best Friend, and many more.  Fundraising activities included a basketball tournament, a car wash, a Walking Tacos luncheon, craft sales, yard sales, a bake-off, a salsa challenge, and raffles.

Nationally, team members pledged a record $70.5 million to community nonprofits and schools during the campaign. Wells Fargo team members invest in nonprofits throughout the year.  To date, including the Campaign, team members have donated $97.7 million of their own dollars to nonprofits, a nearly 10 percent increase over 2013, and the twelfth straight year of year-over-year double-digit increases in pledge totals.

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5 Things To Remember When Asking for a Raise

A Wells Fargo employee emailed the company’s CEO asking for a $10,000 raise and cc’d 200,000 other employees. Then there’s Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who said that women who don’t ask for raises will receive good karma.  So what is the correct way to ask for a raise?

Jacqueline Whitmore is an internationally recognized etiquette expert and author of “Poised for Success: Mastering The Four Qualities that Distinguish Outstanding Professionals,” and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.

Her tips:

• Timing is everything. The best time to ask for a raise is three to four months before your annual review. That’s when the budgets are being decided. You may also request a raise when you have been asked to take on additional responsibilities that do not fall under your job description.

• Be organized. Have all of your facts and figures in order and be prepared to explain why you deserve a raise. Come prepared with a list of your yearly accomplishments, such as big projects you have completed, statistics and results of those projects (i.e. sales increased 15% as a result of X, Y, Z), how you saved the company money or increased the company’s bottom line.

• Do your research. Find out how much others in your industry or job position are making. Use this data to request a certain sum or a percentage.

• Consider your alternatives. If your employer cannot meet the dollar amount requested, be prepared to negotiate for benefits (example: additional personal days per year or the ability to work from home and telecommute one day per week). If you don’t get the amount you want, reply with, “What would it take for me to earn a better raise in the future?” That way you’ll know exactly what your boss expects of you.

• Be polite and diplomatic. If you do not get the raise, don’t get angry and threaten to leave the company, even if you think you might do so. It’s best not to burn any bridges just in case you do get a better offer or need a letter of recommendation.

“It’s a fact that if you don’t ask, you may never get. If you’re not earning a fair salary or not being given the raise you think you deserve, it’s time to focus on asking for what you think you’re worth,” Whitmore says.  “Asking for a raise is not only good business sense, it shows that you’re committed to your well-being and that of your family.”

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Wells Fargo Offers Free Credit Scores to Customers

In an effort to help customers succeed financially, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) is offering its customers their free consumer credit score and complimentary credit report through Nov. 16, 2014. For more information about this limited time promotion, visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/freecreditscore.

“A recent Wells Fargo survey  said 27 percent of Americans are more worried about their financial health than their physical health,” Pam Conboy, lead region president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “In much the same way an annual check-up helps us stay physically healthy, consumers can take control of their financial health by regularly checking their credit and taking steps to improve it.”

About the Free Consumer Credit Score Program

From Oct. 1 – Nov. 16, 2014, all Wells Fargo customers can access their free consumer credit score and complimentary credit report by visiting a Wells Fargo banking store and obtaining a unique personal access code from a Wells Fargo banker.

Since its inception in 2012, more than 800,000 customers and team members have taken advantage of the promotion and obtained their free consumer credit score and complimentary credit report. In its third year, the Wells Fargo’s Free Credit Score promotion coincides with the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart about Credit day, a national campaign of volunteer bankers who work with young people to raise awareness about the importance of using credit responsibly.

As part of the Get Smart about Credit program, Wells Fargo set a goal of reaching at least 60,000 people through volunteering in classrooms and community centers across the country to teach credit lessons.

Tips for Credit Health and Wellness
A strong credit profile can help consumers qualify for lower interest rates. Yet, many people wait until they need a loan to think about their credit situation. Wells Fargo offers these tips to responsibly manage their credit:

• Check your credit report annually. Make sure your credit report contains current and accurate information. Errors could negatively impact your credit score and even be a sign of possible identity theft. Request a free copy of your credit report at least once a year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com  or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228.

• Pay your bills on time. Your payment history is one of the biggest factors in your credit score – including things that may surprise you like on-time payment of your rent and cell phone bill. Using free online tools, often available through your financial institution’s online banking, can help you develop a budget and create an automatic bill payment schedule.

• Keep debt at no more than 35 percent of your gross monthly income. Lenders look at the amount of debt a consumer has compared to their monthly income when making credit decisions.

• Understand how strong credit impacts your bottom line. Your credit score influences the interest rate you qualify for. The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll pay in interest over time. Many sites, including Wells Fargo, offer calculators that help consumers understand how interest rates impact their payment and the total cost of the loan.

• Establish and maintain healthy credit – even if you don’t need a loan. Lenders aren’t the only people who use credit scores to make decisions – many insurance companies, cell phone providers and landlords do, too.

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Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator Helps Tech Innovators

Wells Fargo began accepting applications through October 1 from young companies interested in joining the new Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for innovators whose technology ideas in payments, deposits, fraud, operations and other fields could shape future customer experiences in financial services.

Wells Fargo will make a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000 in each selected start-up. The Startup Accelerator also will provide business planning expertise to firms in the six-month program, which is designed to continuously attract innovative ideas and stoke innovation across the Wells Fargo enterprise. Company subject matter experts and purchasing managers will offer workshops and individual coaching to the firms. Successful companies may become vendors to the bank.

“For Wells Fargo to work on big ideas and spark innovators inside our organization, we need to expand our access to new ideas at the edges of our industry,” said Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of Wholesale Services at Wells Fargo, who noted that in 1995, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services company in the U.S. to give customers free Internet access to account balances. Wells Fargo also was first to offer a mobile service for businesses in 2007, he added.

“The Startup Accelerator adds a new cylinder to our corporate innovation engine,” said Ellis. “We’re taking a proven business model from the venture capital community and repurposing it as a strategy for connecting with start-ups whose ideas and growth prospects could add value to our business and our customers.”

Three innovative companies already have been selected and funded to pilot the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator. They are:

• Zumigo, San Jose, California: A developer of mobile services using a unique combination of location and mobile identity technologies to secure commerce and enable mobile marketing.
• EyeVerify, Kansas City, Kansas: The creator of EyePrint ID™ that transforms a picture of your eye into a key that protects your digital life.
• Kasisto, New York: The builder of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology that improves the consumer experience on mobile devices through intelligent conversation.

In addition to these three firms, the Startup Accelerator will give 10 to 20 young companies each year the opportunity to develop and refine products in a collaborative environment. Applications will be accepted twice per year, with a deadline of October 1 for this fall’s program. A Wells Fargo investment committee comprised of senior technology, venture banking, and innovation leaders will evaluate candidates and select participants. Prospects can learn more and apply online at https://accelerator.wellsfargo.com.

“We’re interested in any technology that could be used by an institution like Wells Fargo to better serve our customers or operate our business,” Ellis said. “Analytics, big data, mobile, security, and infrastructure are all important to us. We’re looking to engage with innovators beyond the edge of our own creative enterprise.”

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Wells Fargo Arizona collects more than 19 tons of food

Wells Fargo Arizona’s team members collected 39,328 pounds of food during the company’s statewide food drive that took place June 10-24. The amount of food collected was equivalent to providing 66,124 meals and benefitted Association of Arizona Food Banks members throughout the state at a time when the need is so great.

Food collection bins were placed in all Wells Fargo Community Banking stores, Mortgage and Finance stores and the company’s processing and operations facilities located throughout the state.

Arizona food banks collectively distributed 139.4 million pounds of food in 2013 – equivalent to 72,625 meals per 1,600 sites, or 199 meals each day. People who wish to donate cash can send checks to their local food banks or to the Association of Arizona Food Banks whose mission is to deliver food and quality services to food banks and to foster relationships in support of their commitment to eliminate hunger.

“As America’s – and Arizona’s — Community Bank, we are proud of our 15,000 Arizona team members who continue to be so dedicated to supporting our communities throughout the state,” said Pam Conboy, lead regional president for Wells Fargo in Arizona. “Team members collected food, volunteered and truly gave their all for this food drive and it has become an event that all look forward participating in each year.”

Needs of families and individuals around the state continue to be strong, according to the Association of Arizona Food Banks:
· Nearly 1 in 5 Arizonans (17.8%), including more than 1 in 4 children (28.2%), suffer from food insecurity – meaning they do not have regular access to enough food for a healthy, active life.
· Arizona is ranked 6th highest (18.7%) for individuals living in poverty, and 5th highest for children (27%)

“We are very thankful for Wells Fargo’s annual commitment to helping so many through this food drive,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Association of Arizona Food Banks. “They have been a tremendous supporter and community partner for a long time and we look forward to working with them in the future.”

Hiking Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Wells Fargo issues Environmental grants

The Nature Conservancy’s Arizona Forest Restoration Project and the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Phoenix District Youth Initiative today received a Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant for $25,000 and $24,097, respectively. Both organizations were selected from among 54 environmental nonprofits to receive grant dollars totaling $3 million from the 2014 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program, which supports projects focused on land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure, and educational outreach in communities across America.

The Nature Conservancy’s Restoring Arizona’s Forests Program uses science-based solutions to restore Arizona’s Ponderosa Pine forest and conserve the lands and water on which all life depends. Forests are critical to Arizona’s rural economies, rivers and wildlife habitat, and our water supplies. The grant will help accelerate forest thinning – which is a natural solution to protect forests from long-term drought conditions and the risk of mega-fires.

“We are thrilled to partner with Wells Fargo on this project to help solve one of the toughest problems affecting Arizonans and nature,” stated Rob Marshall, Director of the Center for Science & Public Policy, The Nature Conservancy. “Accelerating forest thinning is urgently needed to improve forest conditions and protect our communities and water supplies.”

The Bureau of Land Management Phoenix District Youth Initiative Program’s grant will help build about 1,000 feet of new hiking trails around Phoenix; rebuild 1,300 feet of existing trails; improve deer habitat by removing 3,350 feet of fence; enhance the BLM Sonoran Desert National Monument by clearing debris; conduct official bird surveys; and collect data along the Agua Fria River and Burro Creek.

“We are thrilled to provide youth with an experience that will last a lifetime. We hope that the skills learned and experiences they have will inspire them to make public lands and natural resources a part of their lives both in work and play” said BLM Phoenix District Manager Mary D’Aversa. “We are honored that the BLM Arizona is a grant recipient. We are leveraging grant funds to educate and employ urban youth through our Arizona Youth Initiative,” added BLM Arizona State Director Raymond Suazo.

The Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation with a
$15 million, five-year commitment to promote environmental stewardship across the country.

The program funds proposals in select cities/regions (see full list) that help address the most pressing environmental issues identified by each participating community. Some examples of past grant projects include: helping Camp Pollack in Sacramento, Calif., prepare for teaching local students; working with the Sea Turtle Conservancy along the Florida coast to keep endangered animals safe; and restoring the landmark Levi Carter Pavilion with the city of Omaha, Neb.

Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the 2013 Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grants collectively helped reduce more than
3 million pounds of CO2[1], which is the equivalent to averting consumption of 8,535 barrels of oil1[2]. The program also planted 132,709 trees and restored more than 1,600 acres of habitat. These projects have trained 150 people in “green” jobs, while engaging more than 689,000 community members in the supported environmental grant programs.

“We believe that helping our communities become more resilient and better stewards of the environment will improve the long-term quality of life of our customers and team members,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs. “We’re proud to support both the Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management with both grant dollars and support from our local employees, who volunteer their time and efforts through our 70 Green Teams.”

“Through our collaboration with Wells Fargo and their commitment to community-based efforts, this investment will support a total of 54 projects, and conservation efforts will take place in cities and towns across America,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “The experience will be an opportunity for participants in these communities to personally contribute to a more sustainable future, which would not be possible without
Wells Fargo’s long-term commitment to the Environmental Solutions for Communities program.”

The full list of 2014 winners can be found at http://blogs.wellsfargo.com/environment/.
Details of the program and a link to the 2015 application (available in September 2014) can be found at the NFWF application website: http://www.nfwf.org/environmentalsolutions.

Projects benefiting underserved communities and encouraging volunteerism are given priority consideration.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale announces new board

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale is pleased to announce the newest members to the non-profit’s Board of Governors:

  • Lee Nickloy – APS
  • Prescott Pohl – Snell & Wilmer
  • Kathleen Preston – Cox Communications
  • Ryan Rayburn – Lincoln Financial Advisors
  • Tom Traylor – Wells Fargo

“We are very thankful to have this great group of individuals serve on our board,” said Steve Davidson, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. “These dedicated community leaders generously give their time and professional expertise in effort to make sure that the needs of our local youth are being met.”

About Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, celebrating its 60th Anniversary throughout 2014, empowers 17,800 youth of all ages and backgrounds to develop the qualities needed to reach their full potential as productive, responsible citizens. The Club provides a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship and athletics, and high-impact youth development programs during critical non-school hours. Clubs are located in cities and on Native American lands in the greater Scottsdale area and promote academic success, positive character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. For more information, visit www.bgcs.org.