Tag Archives: Wells Fargo

Corporate Giving - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

Corporate Giving More Discriminating, But Still Charitable

Like the economy, a dip in corporate giving appears to have bottomed out, but that charitable landscape has changed both for givers and receivers.

Corporations are re-evaluating which not-for-profit organizations they support, and in some cases businesses are providing more volunteers and less cash. At the same time, fund-raising efforts are changing. Some elaborate parties designed to attract big donors are a little less gala. Instead of the usual full-blown dinner, some groups are opting for less expensive cocktail parties.

Nationally, corporate giving rose 10.6 percent (8.8 percent adjusted for inflation) in 2010, according to the Giving USA Foundation. In Arizona, Laine Seaton of the Greater Arizona Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals says corporate giving is improving, with some caveats.

“It’s starting to get a little better – slowly,” she says. “Two years ago was definitely worse than it is now. I’m seeing that more companies are looking at alternate ways to support nonprofits. Definitely, volunteerism is up. Corporations and nonprofits have to be more flexible. Those chicken dinners are hard to fill.”

At the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, demand for food has nearly doubled in the past three years to a record 74 million pounds, which equates to 285,000 meals a day going to 700 agency-partners in 10 Arizona counties. St. Mary’s depends on a three-pronged operation to serve the increased number of needy and unemployed: financial donations, volunteers to help run the massive distribution center at 31st Avenue and Thomas Road, and food donations.

Terry Shannon, president and CEO of the food bank, says everyone is tightening their belt during these tough economic times. “But, fortunately, the economy has caused many corporations to refocus some of their support,” he says. “Maybe the total they can give is down, potentially donating to fewer nonprofits and focusing on basic needs. Obviously, we supply a very basic need. Our corporate financial support is strong.”

Volunteering is strong as well, saving the food bank $5 million a year in labor costs. “Corporations in Arizona are encouraging employees to volunteer more and more,” Shannon says. “At our main distribution center, we can handle 150 to 200 volunteers at a time. We get many corporate groups from companies like American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Target. It keeps their employees together – sorting, bagging and boxing food for distribution – and it almost functions as a team-building effort, rather than everyone doing their own thing.”

Food donations from manufacturers and retailers represent the third leg of the food bank’s operations. Some 55 trucks are dispatched to 280 grocery stores daily to pick up what Shannon calls “non-salable but edible” food items, such as a dented can of soup or a package of buns with one that is crushed.

“We’re a food distribution business,” Shannon says, “but we do it with donated and rescued food. Imagine what would happen if we had the food, but no money to put fuel in those 55 trucks (we use to distribute) or if we didn’t have the volunteers.”

In addition to having its employees volunteer at St. Mary’s Food Bank, Wells Fargo announced it is contributing $38,000 to 20 non-profits in recognition of volunteer efforts throughout the community. Twenty Wells Fargo Arizona team members were named Volunteer Service Award winners. Two will have $10,000 given to the charity of their choice and 18 will have $1,000 given to their selected charities.

In 2010, Wells Fargo team members reported nearly 80,000 volunteer hours in Arizona. They served as mentors, board members, project leaders, fund raisers, educators and more. Wells Fargo also donated $5 million in 2010 to nonprofits and schools in Arizona.
Despite the struggles of some corporations and non-profits, Phoenix Suns Charities is cashing in on its community-based reputation. In the past year, the organization distributed a record $1.36 million to 178 charitable organizations. That tops last year’s record of more $1.2 million awarded to 156 recipients, and marks the two best years since Phoenix Suns Charities was formed 23 years ago.

Kathryn Pidgeon, executive director of the NBA team’s charitable arm, has an explanation for the impressive results. “We are connected at the hip to a stellar organization – the Phoenix Suns,” she says. “The community loves the Suns. There is a strong history of giving to the community. Our donors really believe in us, trust us. They know the money is going for the kids.”

The $11.6 million in donations the Phoenix Suns Charities has distributed since 1988 is separate from the free tickets, signed memorabilia and personal appearances by team members, dancers and the mascot, the Gorilla. “My number is all cash,” Pidgeon says.
Grants from Suns Charities start at $1,000. The largest donation of $100,000 went to Improving Chandler Area Neighborhoods to build a basketball court in its new facility in downtown Chandler.

Phoenix Sun Charities is one that still relies on a gala to raise money. “We’ve given people a fabulous party,” Pidgeon says. “It’s wildly successful with great entertainment. All the players are there and they’re accessible.”

Pidgeon says the gala, which is partly underwritten by corporate sponsors, netted $1.1 million last March.

There are numerous other ways Phoenix Suns Charities generates money for its donations. The newest venture is an official state of Arizona Phoenix Suns license plate that produced $39,000 the first year and $51,000 the second year.

A new development in fundraising, says Seaton of the Fundraising Professionals group, is the target audience. The most giving demographic has been women in the 55 to 65 age group. “Nonprofits these days are also looking at twenty-somethings,” she says. “They didn’t have money to give. That’s not the case anymore. Young people want to make a difference. They have energy and new ideas. Social media is part of that effort.”

Arizona Corporate Angels

National Kidney Foundation of Arizona

 National Kidney Foundation, Corporate Giving
4203 E. Indian School Rd., Suite 140
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-1644
azkidney.org

Arizona’s Children Association

Arizona Children's Association, Corporate Giving
2833 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 | (602) 234-3733 | arizonaschildren.org
2700 S. 8th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85713 | (800) 944-7611 | hope3ways.org

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona, Corporate Giving
1802 W. Parkside Ln.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(602) 943-5472
ucpofcentralaz.org

Arizona School of Choice Trust

Arizona School of Trust, Corporate Giving
P.O. Box 1616
Glendale, AZ 85311
(623) 414-3429
asct.org

Phoenix Rescue Mission

 Phoenix Rescue Mission, Corporate Giving
1801 S. 35th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85009
(602) 233-3000
phoenixrescuemission.org

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For more information about these Arizona Corporate Angels and their respective corporate giving, view the AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2011 digital issue.

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011

 

 

People to Know 2011 Reception & Awards Ceremony

People To Know 2011 Industry Leaders And Photos

AZRE Magazine’s People to Know 2011 reception and awards ceremony was held on November 10, 2011 at the Scottsdale Waterfront. In attendance was Arizona’s largest local and national real estate audience, including the following People to Know recipients: attorneys, accountants, city planners, property managers, economic developers and brokers.

Throughout the night, we also announced the top 11 industry leaders. Congratulations to our finalists and winners!

People to Know 2011 Industry Leaders

Architects & Engineers

Michael Medici, AIA
President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersSmithGroup
455 N. 3rd St., #250, Phoenix
www.smithgroup.com · (602) 265-2200

Responsibilities: Managing director and member of the firm’s board of directors, architectural management and design
Years at Company: 30
Years in CRE: 32
Accomplishments: Medici has been with SmithGroup since 1980 and has remained active in managing several of its key projects including TGen, Arizona Biomedical Collaborative, Freeport McMoRan Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Energy Systems Integration Facility, and the POW/MIA Forensic Laboratory at Hickam AFB in Honolulu. He is active in the the community and has served as event chairman of the Annual Cystic Fibrosis Stair Climb & Firefighter Challenge; as a member of St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation Board; and as past president of ASU Council for Design Excellence. His leadership enables SmithGroup’s Phoenix office to achieve success in the Valley, Arizona and the Southwest.


Attorneys

Michael E. Tiffany
Managing Attorney

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersTiffany & Bosco PA
2525 E. Camelback Rd., 3rd Floor, Phoenix
www.tblaw.com · (602) 255-6000

Responsibilities: Managing attorney and head of the real estate practice group
Years at Company: 40+
Years in CRE:
30+
Accomplishments: In addition to his duties as managing attorney, Tiffany concentrates in the area of commercial transactions, primarily in strategic planning, business solutions, real estate and finance. His accomplishments include closing HUD insured loans for more than 170 multi-family housing projects on behalf of borrowers, for an aggregate loan amount in excess of $2.2M; and preparing a development agreement between a landowner and the Town of Buckeye as a form for future development agreements. He is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and Maricopa County Bar Association. He is active in with the Thunderbirds and the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse of Maricopa County.

Don J. Miner
Director

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersFennemore Craig PC
3003 N. Central Ave., #2600, Phoenix
www.fclaw.com · (602) 916-5000

Responsibilities: Focuses on various aspects of commercial real estate
Years at Company: 14
Years in CRE: 32
Accomplishments: Miner was the buyer’s counsel in sale of a portfolio of $101M of loans secured by residential real estate mortgages, and the seller’s counsel in the sale of an 832-acre farm for development of a master-planned community. He was the landlord’s counsel in negotiation and documentation of a 115,000 SF office lease, and tenant’s counsel in negotiation of a 130,000 SF office lease. He represented the ground lessee and developer in the negotiation and drafting of a 65-year ground lease covering 37.5 acres of Native American reservation land for purposes of the development of a commercial sea water aquarium, a butterfly pavilion and related entertainment and restaurant uses. Miner is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, 2003-2011.


Brokers

Anthony J. Lydon
Managing Director – Industrial/Supply Chain Logistics Solution

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersJones Lang LaSalle
3131 E. Camelback Rd., # 400, Phoenix
www.us.joneslanglasalle.com · (602) 282-6300

Responsibilities: Manages and directs the industrial supply chain marketing for institutional property owner clients and serves as an advocate for corporate occupiers of space
Years at Company: 1
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Lydon has spent his 30-year career focused on the industrial commercial real estate sector. In that time, he has become one of Phoenix’s most accomplished industrial brokers. In the last 18 months alone, Lydon has directed some of Phoenix’s top industrial transactions, bringing jobs and capital to the market via deals like the 1.4 MSF Amazon.com lease and the long-term, 153,000 SF Schoeller Arca Systems lease. Lydon has been recognized as a Top Industrial Broker by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), named a CoStar “Power Broker” and a NAIOP Industrial Broker of the Year. He is a 25-year SIOR Designee, as well as a member of the Jones Lang LaSalle Global Supply Chain Group. On a personal note, Lydon is part owner of a Michigan-based Class A minor league baseball team.


Developers

Kurt Rosene
Senior VP

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersAlter Group
7500 N. Dobson Rd., #151, Scottsdale
www.altergroup.com · (480) 302-6600

Responsibilities: Manage development, leasing and acquisitions for the Western Region
Years at Company: 20
Years in CRE: 24
Accomplishments: Rosene has led The Alter Group to accomplish remarkable things in Phoenix during the past 10 years. After opening the office a decade ago, he has helped solidify the company as one of the premier developers in the Valley. Nationally, Rosene has been able to develop more than $1B worth of real estate in 24 states. His expertise and level of customer service have led to numerous repeat clients. He’s earned the respect of the entire industry and made friendships throughout the country. Recently The Alter Group and John F. Long Properties of Phoenix announced a joint development of three major business parks in the West Valley totaling in excess of 1,500 acres. It is expected to create an estimated 65,000 jobs.


Economic Developers

Christine Mackay
Economic Development Director

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersCity of Chandler
P.O. Box 4008, Chandler
www.chandleraz.gov/ed · (480) 782-3030

Responsibilities: Directs economic development division, implementing programs to increase and diversify City’s economic base
Years at Company: 14
Years in CRE: 19
Accomplishments: Mackay has been with the City of Chandler for 14 years. During the past five years, she has helped locate or expand more than 145 companies in Chandler, and brought more than $8.9B in capital investment into the community. She was instrumental in helping land the $5B Intel Fab 42 chip manufacturing facility. In 2007, she was named the Economic Developer of the Year, Large Community, for the State of Arizona by the Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED). In 2010, Mackay was named Leader of the Year in Economic Development-Public Policy by the Arizona Capital Times. She has spent most of her career in commercial real estate. Before coming to Chandler, she was in private sector commercial real estate where she was the research director for a commercial brokerage firm.


Financiers & Accountants

William L. Spart
Senior Vice President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersWells Fargo Bank – Real Estate
8601 N. Scottsdale Rd., #200, Phoenix
www.wellsfargo.com · (480) 348-5333

Responsibilities: Business development for Wells Fargo
Years at Company: 21
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Spart, a 30-year veteran of commercial real estate finance, has witnessed the ups and downs of the industry firsthand. Perhaps that’s why he has taken a leadership role. During his tenure at Wells Fargo, Spart has been active with NAIOP (as a board member), Valley Partnership, Urban Land Institute and the International Council of Shopping Centers (as a member). Spart is a regular speaker at public forums around the Valley and was a member of the 2010 NAIOP roundtable in AZRE Magazine. In his position at Wells Fargo, he manages a diverse portfolio of commercial real estate loans and lenders.


General Contractors

Hamilton Espinosa
National Healthcare Leader

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersDPR Construction
222 N. 44th St., Phoenix
www.dpr.com · (602) 808-0500

Responsibilities: Developing DPR’s strategic healthcare vision
Years at Company: 13
Years in CRE: 21
Accomplishments: Espinosa, LEED AP, brings more than 20 years of construction industry experience to DPR. Based in Arizona, Espinosa is key to building the company’s healthcare experience locally and nationally. Instrumental in building more then $3B in healthcare projects, including the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, his reputation of producing results and developing long-term working partnerships is acknowledged throughout the industry. DPR is one the country’s top technical builders and has been ranked among the Top 50 general contractors in the U.S. for the past 10 years. Espinosa serves as vice chair of the St. Joseph’s Foundation board and is a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation board.


Property Managers

Mark Stromgren, RPA
Vice President, General Manager of Real Estate Services

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersNorthMarq
1110 W. Washington St., #110, Phoenix
www.northmarq.com · (602) 254-5790

Responsibilities: Oversees 600,000 SF of Class A office space, including three buildings which are 100% occupied
Years at Company: 4
Years in CRE: 25
Accomplishments: Stromgren joined NorthMarq when the organization acquired his previous employer, Opus Property Services, a move that doubled its portfolio to 60 MSF. For nearly 10 years, Stromgren served as a senior property manager with Opus West Management. Prior to that, he was a general manager with LaSalle Partners. He is an active member of BOMA and NAIOP. He was recently elected to serve as president of BOMA Greater Phoenix for the 2011-2012 board year. He is also a past president of the chapter and has served on the board of directors for 13 years. In addition, he has earned the organization’s RPA designation. He is aso a LEED AP and holds real estate brokerage licenses in Arizona and Colorado. He earned a BS degree from UCLA.


Subcontractors

Daniel Puente
Founder & President

People to Know 2011 Industry LeadersD.P. Electric Inc.
6002 S. Ash Ave., Tempe
www.dpelectric.com · (480) 858-9070

Responsibilities: Provides the necessary planning, organization, direction, coordination and control to meet company growth
Years at Company: 20
Years in CRE: 30
Accomplishments: Big events lit up the offices at D.P. Electric. Puente, founder and president, was awarded the W.P. Carey Spirit of Enterprise Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award, and the company celebrated its 20th Anniversary — growing from a firm with four electricians in a garage to a multi-million dollar local success story. Puente is a strong supporter of education and training aimed at fostering personal and professional growth within his organization. He acts as a mentor to educate small minority-owned businesses within the community. He oversees all aspects of the company, including profitability, staffing, marketing efforts, and customer and vendor relations.


Up and Comers

Kimberly Mickelson
Marketing Associate

People to Know 2011 Industry Leaders

Small Giants
4531 N 16th St #124, Phoenix
www.smallgiantsonline.com · (602) 314-5549

Responsibilities: Social media, proposal development and website management for clients
Years at Company: 2
Years in CRE: 8
Accomplishments: Not only is Mickelson one of just three Certified Social Marketing Specialists in the Arizona, she is also heavily involved in the commercial real estate industry. With SMPS Arizona, she is an active member, programs committee member, publicity committee member and social media chair. She is also moderator for the SMPS Twitter account and is in charge of blog submissions for the Building Arizona blog. She is an active affiliate member of AIA Arizona, and an active young leaders group member of ULI. She has coached and trained many organizations and individuals on valuable emerging marketing practices. She recently received the 2010 SMPS Arizona Chapter Rising Star Award. Her desire to make an impact goes beyond personal accomplishments or within her work with Small Giants.


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The Mercado - Implied Covenant Claims - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

Implied Covenant Claims And How Wells Fargo Changed Them

In this article, Peter Moolenar, a partner at Dioguardi Flynn LLP, explains how Wells Fargo changed the way we look at implied covenant claims in Arizona law.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s opinion in Wells Fargo Bank v. Arizona Laborers, Teamsters and Cement Masons Local No. 395 Pension Trust Fund, 201 Ariz. 474 (2002), and its progeny have substantially impacted commercial litigation by expanding the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (“implied covenant”). In contrast to a written, agreed upon term, Arizona law implies this covenant in every contract.

However, rather than eviscerating parties’ right to negotiate and enter into contracts on express terms, as some naysayers originally prophesied, its largest impact may be more economic than substantive.

Implied covenant claims are exceedingly prevalent in commercial litigation. Indeed, they are present more often than not. Due to the expansion of the implied covenant in Wells Fargo and its progeny, these claims are less likely to be resolved by early motions — resulting in longer, and often more expensive litigation. Without question, this result has only fanned the popularity of these claims.

Wells Fargo arose from a Tri-party Agreement between the Mercado Developers (a partnership headed by Arizona’s former Governor, J. Fife Symington, III) (“Symington”), First Interstate Bank (Wells Fargo’s predecessor) (the “Bank”), and various union pension funds (the “Funds”). The Bank agreed to provide temporary construction financing if Symington was able to secure permanent financing from another lender. The Funds agreed to be that lender.

The Funds took out the Bank’s construction loan and Symington eventually defaulted on the permanent loan. The Funds ultimately claimed, among other things, that the Bank breached the implied covenant by failing to disclose Symington’s deteriorating financial condition to the Funds.

Although the Bank was not expressly required to make such disclosures to the Funds, the Supreme Court found that a jury might reasonably conclude that the Bank’s actions were inconsistent with the Funds’ “justified expectations” under the Tri-party Agreement.

As a result of Wells Fargo and its progeny, a party may breach the implied covenant without actually breaching an express term of the contract. Courts must make a factual determination whether a party acted in a manner inconsistent with the other party’s reasonable or justified expectations. However, these factual questions typically require the parties to undertake costly and time consuming discovery, and make it very challenging for either party to prevail on an implied covenant claim in the early stages of litigation. Therefore, the unintended consequence of the Wells Fargo decision is often longer, more costly litigation.

Arizona Business Magazine September-October 2011

Arizona Forward, State Park Issues

Arizona Forward Enhances Awareness of Arizona’s Park Issues

Arizona Forward Enhances Awareness of Arizona’s Park Issues

Arizonans value their parks and open space, consistently ranking them as key quality of life indicators. A recent survey conducted of residents statewide shows that 87 percent visit a park or recreation area at least once a year, with 23 percent doing so on a weekly basis. In addition, parks and open spaces create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.

Multiple land ownerships and funding mechanisms have produced parks and open space issues that are complex, confusing and sometimes controversial. In fact, the telephone survey conducted by WestGroup Research further revealed that most residents (80 percent) rate their knowledge of how state and local parks are funded as very low or in the middle range. Meanwhile, a depressed economy and recession has impacted parks negatively at every jurisdictional level from federal and state to county and municipal governments.

Recognizing the need for public education on the subject of parks and open space issues, Arizona Forward, a new statewide environmental/business coalition launched by Valley Forward earlier this year, developed a comprehensive report to provide unbiased facts, background information and answers to frequently asked questions about state and federal lands as well as county and municipal parks.

Designed to enhance awareness of and interest in solving Arizona’s parks issues, the primer is among Arizona Forward’s first projects towards its mission to promote cooperative efforts to improve the livability, sustainability and economic vitality of cities and towns across Arizona. Readers can sort out how much open space is available in the state, who is responsible for it and the challenges facing various jurisdictions of government. The user-friendly reference guide is described as ‘parks and open space 101’ and can be downloaded at arizonaforward.org.

While the primer doesn’t take a formal position on how to solve funding issues relating to parks, it communicates the economic impact of recreational and open space amenities and why Arizonans should care about these natural resources.

Charter members of Arizona Forward include: Arizona Community Foundation, First Solar, Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold, National Bank of Arizona, Solon Corporation, Sundt Construction, The Nature Conservancy, Total Transit and Wells Fargo.

For more information about Arizona Forward, visit arizonaforward.org.

Mindy Gunn - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Event Planning Chose Mindy Gunn

Mindy Gunn, AVP, CMP
Technology and Operations Group Event Manager
Wells Fargo Bank
www.wellsfargo.com

Mindy Gunn didn’t choose event planning — it chose her.

Gunn planned on attending law school, but she switched career paths when she was offered a job as a meeting planner with Wells Fargo Bank.

“My start in the meetings and events industry came when I co-founded a nonprofit organization in college that produced and promoted free concerts and theatrical productions in the community,” Gunn says, adding that she also produced events while working at Wells Fargo as she attended Brigham Young University.

Gunn has been with Wells Fargo for 15 years, starting as a teller.

In her role as an event manager, Gunn joined the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International seven years ago. She initially joined as a way to gain her certified meeting professional (CMP) designation, which she did in 2006.

“MPI provides a link to other meeting professionals, as well as valuable resources to help me manage my ever-changing role in my organization,” she says.

“I am able to network with others in my profession, and keep apprised of what is happening in the industry in a way that works for me, whether it be a networking event, or, more often, the Web resources.”

Gunn says the current economic situation hasn’t changed her association with MPI; it is still a resource.

“MPI has provided important information and resources on how I can be more strategic in the support of my company from a meetings perspective,” she says.

Gunn adds that MPI also can help industry newcomers in this economy.

“I think there are fewer newcomers to the organization,” Gunn says. “With the current job market, it is becoming tougher to enter the industry, and as a result, fewer new members. These newcomers are vital to continue innovating and keeping the approaches ‘fresh.’”

Gunn says she wants to personally mentor newcomers in order to help them understand the opportunities MPI has to offer both personally and professionally. Gunn admits she didn’t take advantage of an MPI mentor when she was offered one, but she says she now knows that mentors are important.

“I would also like to see these new members aligned with mentors from their area of focus, so they can truly learn more about how to take the most advantage of the opportunities before them,” Gunn says.

Not only are newcomers an important part of MPI’s future, but so, too, is bringing together existing members, Gunn says. She says that a forum for members from all branches of the industry, from independent and corporate planners to suppliers, is something that would benefit all members.

“The more we understand each other’s roles, the better we can work together,” she says.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

Data Centers

i/o Data Centers Raises $200M In Two Integrated Financings

i/o Data Centers today announced the closing of $200 million in two financings, including a senior long term credit facility of up to $130 million led by Wells Fargo Bank and Wells Fargo Securities and a $70 million secured facility led by Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation.

“Demand for data centers as a service continues to be strong,” said George D. Slessman, CEO of i/o. “This new long term capital enables i/o to execute its Enterprise Class Data Center Roadmap. We will add 35 megawatts of data center capacity for our customers within the next 12 months.”

In addition, Jonathan F. Mauck, CFO of i/o, noted that “The next phase of our growth plan is fully funded.”

Steven Reinhart, senior vice president of Wells Fargo, said that “The strength of i/o’s customer base, balance sheet and cash flow are a testament to the strength of its business model and management. We look forward to a long term relationship with i/o.”

William Luetzow, managing director of Caterpillar Financial Services’ Global Power Finance-Americas, added, “We’ve enjoyed a long-term financing relationship with i/o since its inception. The high quality i/o power systems and their customer base of multi-national enterprises are an excellent fit with Caterpillar’s worldwide finance and distribution capabilities.”

i/o has grown rapidly over the past three years and recently announced the launch of i/o ANYWHERE, a modular data center service that allows it to deploy data center capacity anywhere a customer requires it.

“This latest financing, key additions to our management ranks, and our world class customer base position i/o for additional growth and success as the industry’s leading provider of enterprise co-location and data center solutions,” Slessman said.

green-house

Bringing Energy-Efficient Mortgages To Valley Homeowners

Mortgage and auditing firms are teaming up to help green homeowners cut costs

Buying a home can come with many unexpected and obstructive costs. REEIS is partnering with mortgage companies to help homebuyers curtail costs and go green.

By teaming up with W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo, REEIS, an energy efficiency auditing firm, offers free energy audits to homebuyers who are interested in energy-efficient mortgages.

What does an EEM do for a homebuyer?

    An energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) allows homebuyers to:

  • Qualify for a higher loan by taking into account the savings of an energy-efficient home
  • Receive up to $8,000 to put toward energy-efficient improvements after the close of escrow
  • Combine the total amount of energy-efficient upgrades with the loan to create one payment

Previously, homebuyers would be forced to shell out around $500 for an energy efficiency audit before they would qualify for an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM). This up-front cost “stops the process right there,” says Todd Russo, president of REEIS.

Lenders found it difficult to ask their clients to spend more money without the guarantee of an EEM, Russo says. Now W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo clients can receive an energy efficiency audit for free.

REEIS’ audit produces two options for the homebuyer to choose from. The two options feature improvements that can be done to the house, each at a different price point.

“Ninety-five percent of people move forward with one of the two packages,” Russo says.

Not only will an EEM create a greener home by making it energy efficient from the start, it will also help the already strapped-for-cash homebuyer save money.

“When factoring all the costs of home ownership, the customer will pay less every month from the day one, in most cases,” Russo says.

REEIS also facilitates tax credits and utility rebates for the average homebuyer that total between $1,250 and $3,000 within two to three months of close.

Although REEIS’ service is only a few months old, Russo says it is going well. In one week, REEIS completed four energy audits with Wells Fargo, which has initiated a nationwide push to offer more EEMs to clients.

In addition to providing this service, REEIS and Russo want to spread the word about EEMs. Russo says everyone who knows about EEMs wants to offer them, which is why REEIS and Russo are trying to “educate the industry – realtors, lenders and homebuyers – that the conventional way of doing things is not the only option,” Russo says.

REEIS’ commitment to EEMs is the main reason why W.J. Bradley teamed up with the company, says Mike Tompkins, team manager and mortgage banker with W.J. Bradley.

Tompkins and Russo met at a mixer and decided that their shared excitement about EEMs would create a solid partnership.

“It amazes me that [the EEM program is] so under-utilized,” Tompkins says. “We need a vehicle, it seems like, to help us get it out to the public.”

This urge for awareness is the foundation of REEIS and W.J. Bradley’s team.

“I see [REEIS’] commitment in wanting to get the word out,” which is why the companies will be partners for some time to come, Tompkins says.

Along with its partnership with REEIS, W.J. Bradley has created flyers, hosts seminars and speaks with real estate agents daily about EEMs.

The service REEIS, W.J. Bradley and Wells Fargo provide is a “turn-key solution” to the lack of information and knowledge about EEMs, Russo says.

AZ Green SceneHomebuyer should “ask questions. Look into it a little deeper,” Russo says. It would be a “shame” for homebuyers to not take advantage of an EEM because they didn’t know it existed, he adds.

First Job: Pam Conboy, Regional President Of Wells Fargo Arizona Regional Banking

First Job: Pam Conboy, Regional President Of Wells Fargo Arizona Regional Banking

Pam Conboy

Regional President, Wells Fargo Arizona Regional Banking

Describe your very first job and what lessons you learned.
My first job was while I was in high school. I had just made the frosh/soph cheerleading squad and needed to pay for my uniforms. I was hired as a hostess at a local restaurant — Rod’s Grill in El Monte, Calif. My primary role was to greet and seat our customers, and to assist the waitresses. I learned so much about providing great service and about coming to work prepared to focus entirely on the customer; smiling, welcoming and thanking with each and every interaction.

Describe your first job in your industry and what you learned.
My first full-time job within the banking industry was as a personal banker right here with my current great company, Wells Fargo! I was a banker at the Flair Industrial Park Branch in El Monte nearly 30 years ago. I brought many of my earlier customer service skills to my new job and further learned the power of listening. Engaging in dialogue with my customers was the very best way to identify how I could help them financially. … I learned when we focus on customers’ needs, they reward us with their loyalty, new business, repeat business and lots of referrals.

What were your salaries at both of these jobs?
As a hostess, I made minimum wage; it was 1976. My full-time salary at Wells Fargo was $800 per month or $9,600 per year.

Who is your biggest mentor and what role did they play?
One of the most influential is my mother. She taught me much at a young age and still continues to support my successes and teach me every day. One lesson was to always be a leader. She instilled a high degree of confidence, as I knew I had her and my family for great support. … Some of my professional mentors also provided encouragement, as well as tough coaching when I needed it. They always identified what was a strength to build upon, as well as an opportunity for further development … Providing conscious awareness was one of the greatest lessons: that of which you are aware can be improved.

What advice would you give to a person just entering your industry?
We often use this phrase at Wells Fargo: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” … Do what is best for the customer, do what is best for the team. Do what is best for the company, and you win! … The other advice is to keep learning and keep growing, stay hungry for knowledge and gain experiences! Learning is a journey!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?
I enjoy numbers and analyzing data, also listening, providing advice and solving. If I weren’t a banker, I might be an accountant or a psychologist. I also have a passion for helping our communities and our youth, so possibly a youth career coach or counselor.

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.”

CDRates

CD Rates Inching Higher Again

Bank-issued certificates of deposit rates are inching up, but if your one-year CD is maturing, you’re probably not going to like what’s being offered. That’s because CD rates took a dramatic drop in the past year as the Federal Reserve marched through a series of reductions starting last summer. The downward spiral was triggered by a belt-tightening credit crunch and a pervasive housing downslide.

Rates plunged as much as 325 basis points in the past year, dropping to as low as 2 percent from 5.25 percent.

Early last summer, it was not uncommon to see banks offering 5 percent interest or more on certificates of deposit. Then came the steady stream of rate cuts, and CDs were paying in the neighborhood of 2 percent. Now we’re seeing rates flirting with 3 percent, and teasers that are a tempting couple of percentage points higher.

Does the move to higher ground indicate that an economic turnaround has begun? Not necessarily, say banking experts.

“Rates are down considerably from what a consumer could have gotten last summer,” says Herb Kaufman, professor of finance and vice chair of the Department of Finance at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business. “Now they’ve come back a little bit. They’re trending up as banks try to rebuild their deposit base and retain the deposits they have.”

Kaufman and Rick Robinson, regional investment manager for Wells Fargo Wealth Management Group, agree that one of the reasons for the modest increase is the perception that the Fed is not likely to reduce interest rates anytime soon. Another factor is inflation.

Robinson says the Fed is taking a wait-and-see approach to determine how the economy responds to seven rate cuts and whether inflation will remain somewhat subdued or will increase.

Kaufman notes that inflation, fueled by gasoline and food prices, appears to be accelerating.

“As that happens — and the feds are very conscious of that — you can expect banks will have to reflect the rise in inflation with their CD rates,” Kaufman says.

A significant improvement in the credit market adds to the likelihood of CD rates continuing to drift upward through summer, Kaufman says. He expects to see CD rates somewhat higher than they were last spring.

Is the inching up of CD rates a good or bad sign for the economy?

“I’d say it’s a little bit of a good sign,” Kaufman says. “It wouldn’t happen if the Feds weren’t comfortable with the credit market. Concerns have eased. Banks are comfortable to bid up rates, which means some of the constipation in the credit market has eased.”

The rise in interest rates could be tied to various factors.

“It’s usually a signal that the economy is beginning to do well or that the Federal Reserve wants to slow down the economy,” Robinson says. “Or it could mean that interest rates go higher because of supply and demand, because of inflationary pressures.”

But Robinson cautions: “A small uptick in rates is not a signal that we’re out of the woods or that economic growth is turning around. I still think it will be subdued in the second half of 2008. We expected low growth for the first portion of this year, and we expect to pick up the pace slightly in the second half.”

Another word of caution for investors: “Some banks might offer teaser rates of 5 percent for three months,” Robinson says, “but when it matures and resets, the rate will be consistent with what other banks are offering. Any bank in Arizona must remain competitive with the bank on the opposite corner.”

The creep upward of CD rates is a good sign for aging investors who rely on income from these investments to maintain their lifestyle. Conversely, the drastic decrease in rates since last summer was hurtful, especially for seniors.

“There is less money in their pocket,” Robinson says. “As their CDs matured, if they reinvested their money they’re more likely earning less than they earned previously. They have less to live on.”

Kaufman, too, says the increase is a good sign for retirees, so long as the rise does not pose a threat to economic recovery. Because of the roller-coaster ride the stock market has been on, some investors seeking a safe haven switched to CDs covered by the FDIC.

The collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns & Co. in March spawned some movement to CDs and safer, less volatile investments, including government-backed bonds. Robinson calls it “a flight to quality.”

“In the summer of 2007, banks went through a confidence crisis,” Robinson says. “Investors were worried. Some banks experienced an outflow of deposits, given investor concerns over their viability. That concern seems to have lessened. As the crisis grows longer, more information becomes available, which lessens the panic. People can understand the viability of their institution.”

The reason for the subtle increase in CD rates is anybody’s guess.

“Some banks might be willing to take a loss on deposits to shore up their capital base,” Robinson says. “They may want to increase deposits because they see opportunities to make loans. There are myriad reasons why rates go up, fluctuating in small increments of five to 10 basis points. It could be strategic or market related.”