Tag Archives: West Valley National Bank

Right: Candace Hunter Wiest

CEO Series: Candace Hunter Wiest

Earlier this year, Candace Hunter Wiest, president and CEO of West Valley National Bank, launched AZ Dental Bank, a specialty group that she unveiled at the Western Regional Dental Convention in Phoenix. Az Business sat down with Wiest to talk about trends in her industry.

What qualities do you think an effective CEO needs to have?
Candace Hunter Wiest: Sense of humor. Perseverance. Clear focus. Integrity.

What attracted you to the banking industry?
CHW: They describe me as the Cinderella CEO. I was in the restaurant business when my husband left me with three kids at age 21. I had to have a job and I had a high school diploma, so I went to work for a bank-owned insurance agency. After I turned that around — they forgot to tell me it had never made money when they hired me — they offered me a job at a bank here, so I threw my kids into the truck and moved to Arizona. I like the diversity of the banking industry and how it’s a puzzle and you have to figure out how to make it work.

What enabled you to become such an effective leader?
CHW: I never take myself seriously. When you start taking your own press releases seriously, you’re in trouble. I will just not give up. When I want something, I will not quit until I get it. This bank has been a challenge because we opened in 2006 and I like to say we did the right things and the right time for the right people and we are starting to see the benefits of that. I also had three kids who needed shoes and clothes and food and that’s a real motivator.

What prompted you to start AZ Dental Bank?
CHW: We weren’t growing after the Recession and we were trying to figure out where the growth was coming from. Our bank has a significant number of shareholders and directors in the medical and dental industries. They believe local physicians and dentists are under-served and would welcome an opportunity to do business with a local bank. As a result, we have spent the last 30 months learning about the challenges and opportunities local dentists face every single day. This is a pun, but we now have deep roots in the dental industry.

What is the benefit of a specialty bank?
CHW: We believe that a bank founded by dentists and physicians for physicians and dentists will be able to provide superior service and products because of that knowledge. We also have a community board consisting of professionals who serve the dental industry who have helped guide us as we formed this new entity. They will also contribute regularly to our website to provide local expertise for our clients and potential clients.

What are some trends you’re seeing in the banking industry?
CHW: The days of banks being able to be all things to all people is over. The mortgage industry showed us that. What we like about the AZ Dental Bank model is that we will be able to replicate this process and there are similarities with other industries. We have three other industries targeted, but I’m not going to say what they are yet.

What advice would you give to other women who aspire to be a business leader?
CHW: Be brave. I like something Pink said. “Be humble in victory, be brave when you’re afraid, be strong when you feel weak, and be bad-ass every day.” I’ve been scared to death my whole life, but I was brave when it counted.

Candace Wiest Blue Suit

Wiest launches AZ Dental Bank

Candace Hunter Wiest, president & CEO of West Valley Bancorp., Inc. announced the launch of AZ Dental Bank. This specialty group of WVNB premiered at the Western Regional Dental Convention in Phoenix this week.

According to Wiest, “Our Bank has a significant number of shareholders and Directors in the medical and dental industries. They believe local physicians and dentists are under-served and would welcome an opportunity to do business with a local Bank. As a result, we have spent the last thirty months learning about the challenges and opportunities local dentists face every single day. We believe that a Bank founded by dentists and physicians for physicians and dentists will be able to provide superior service and products because of that knowledge. We also have a Community Board consisting of professionals who serve the dental industry who have helped guide us as we formed this new entity. They will also contribute regularly to our website to provide local expertise for our clients and potential clients.”

This new entity will be headquartered at 5635 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 150, Scottsdale. The website is AZDentalBank.com.

wiest

Leadership spotlight: Candace Hunter Wiest

Candace Hunter Wiest
President and CEO
West Valley National Bank
wvnb.net

Wiest is the founding CEO of WVNB, and was the first female community banker elected as a a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Biggest challenge: “I founded a local bank that consistently provided capital for Arizona businesses despite the worst recession in U.S. history. When other banks left the market, we expanded.”

GPEC Profile: Candace Wiest, President And CEO Of West Valley National Bank

Candace Wiest
President and CEO, West Valley National Bank

Even before West Valley National Bank opened its doors on Dec. 23, 2006, a decision was made to join the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Becoming an active member of GPEC made good business sense.

“What I like about GPEC is its economic development focus,” says Candace Wiest, president and CEO of the community bank. “It goes to the heart of what community banks do. I’m a firm believer in the saying that a rising tide lifts all ships.”

One of the first benefits Wiest saw for her bank was how GPEC helped attract the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to the West Valley. The nation’s fourth Cancer Treatment Centers of America, located in Goodyear, opened on Dec. 29, 2008, bringing with it quality care for cancer patients and 200 high-paying jobs. But there’s more.

“It certainly helped with some of the housing issues in the West Valley, created a lot of options in terms of health care, and gave the area national recognition,” Wiest says. “I couldn’t bank the hospital itself, maybe, but I certainly can be the banker for a lot of the people out there.”

GPEC efforts benefit the Greater Phoenix’s economy on a macro level, Wiest says, as well as on a micro level helping its individual members.

She enjoys serving on GPEC Next, which is an advisory group through which some of the newer ideas flow before being submitted to GPEC’s board of directors. She applauds GPEC’s role in supporting solar energy, which produces a benefit for her bank.

“I certainly cannot finance any big solar companies,” Wiest says, “but we have launched a program to finance construction for businesses that want to convert to solar.”

The solid relationship between West Valley National Bank and GPEC is ongoing. Wiest is on the board of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, maintaining a link between the cancer facility and GPEC; and she is a trustee of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce University, named after the 14th U.S. president. The university already holds some classes in Goodyear and is considering an expansion, Wiest says, adding that GPEC is playing a role in that project.

Wiest says GPEC has done wonders to enhance the Valley’s image. While serving a pair of three-year terms as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, she heard numerous negative comments about the Phoenix area.

“GPEC has helped to debunk some of those myths,” Wiest says.

www.wvnb.net


Arizona Business Magazine

February 2010