When Mike and Patty Brown moved to the Valley from Denver in summer 2005, they knew it would be hot. Hot, however, would be an understatement.

“Just a few months into our new life here, our house caught on fire while we were in it,” says Mike Brown.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. But the Browns were temporarily homeless.

“We moved here so I could continue to build my banking career, and ended up needing to rebuild our entire lives,” he adds.

The learning lessons from the fire – people are more important than any things; live your passions; help others.

“I took these lessons to heart at home and work, and it changed my life,” explains Brown, named the first-ever Arizona regional president of Washington Federal in spring 2014.

Things would continue to heat up over the next decade, but in a good way this time.

“We not only celebrated Washington Federal’s 100th anniversary in 2017, but opened our first-ever official Arizona Regional Headquarters,” he says.

Brown and the local branches also feted the centennial with donations to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Chicanos Por la Causa and Habitat for Humanity through its Washington Federal Foundation grant program. Since launching it locally in 2012, the Foundation has granted more nearly $60,000 in Arizona.

Since Brown took the helm in 2014, the bank has reached several other significant milestones including more than $500 million in CRE financing for the construction, purchase or refinance of 235-plus commercial properties.

In addition to more than $342 million in mortgages, the bank also generated $10 million in financing to a Fixed Base Operator at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport, $10 million in financing a family of local farms, $13 million in financing to a local university and $15 million in financing to a local homebuilder for new home construction.

The bank also acquired 13 Bank of America branches statewide, increasing the bank’s footprint in Arizona to 31 branches total.

“And we’re just getting started,” says Brown.