Banking on Your Business

by RaeAnne Marsh

Banking on Business

Tales of usurers make for enduring literature (Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is a notable example), but it’s an indisputable fact that commerce would not exist without reputable financial institutions and loan opportunity.

Of course, banking has evolved to be much more than a lending resource. For instance, as Toby Day, chairman of the Arizona Bankers Association and Arizona market president of Arizona Business Bank, notes in his letter introducing this issue’s In Business Magazine 2016/2017 Business Lending Guide, “Not only do banks lend to the Arizona community, but they reinvest in it, employing thousands of Arizonans and donating time and money to nonprofit organizations.”

It benefits business owners and corporate leaders to make sure the bank they choose is the best fit for what they need. Banks are regulated as to many practices, but there is still wide variety in the products they offer and the processes they follow. Plus, as Alliance Bank of Arizona CEO Jim Lundy observes in his Guest Editor letter (page 9), “Prudent business owners should seek out bankers who demonstrate they understand the dynamics of [their] industry and the overall marketplace.”

“Why should I bank with you?” is an eminently fair question for businesses seeking a compatible banking partner. In Business Magazine begins this dialogue by asking select Valley banks to voice their response.

ed_zito_western_allianceAlliance Bank of Arizona

Ed Zito
Alliance Bank of Arizona

Alliance Bank of Arizona offers our clients the best of both worlds: the strong capacity and sophisticated product offerings of a large bank with the flexibility, commitment and exceptional proactive service of a relationship bank. The following are characteristics we feel set us apart:

Responsive decision making, as our team has the authority to make lending decisions quickly, with the power to cut through red tape. We strive to ensure customers can count on competitive rates and a smooth, timely execution.

Robust lending capacity and state-of-the-art services through 11 Arizona bank locations, where we provide a full spectrum of deposit, lending, treasury management, international banking and online banking products and services. Plus, our specialized national business lines — from public and nonprofit finance to technology finance, resort finance and many others — provide more specialized knowledge and expertise.

A single point of contact, so each customer has a dedicated relationship banker to meet with all his or her banking needs, supported by the extensive resources and financial solutions.

Access to senior management, as our senior management takes an active role in delivering powerful banking resources to our clients. We believe this is a real differentiator among our peers.

Experts who know the client’s business. We understand the industries that are important in Arizona and the unique challenges and opportunities that face individual businesses. We are committed to knowing more and doing more for our clients.

True community connection. At Alliance Bank of Arizona, we are proud to support our community — from meaningful financial contributions and bankers who serve on nonprofit boards and provide extensive community service hours, to leadership on key statewide issues, especially education.


benito-almanzaBank of America

Benito Almanza
State President Arizona
Bank of America

Bank of America offers local business banking expertise with full global capabilities to the entire spectrum of companies, from small businesses to commercial enterprises with billion-dollar annual revenues. Regardless of size, business owners want individual, personalized service to help expand their businesses. That’s why Bank of America is devoted to making the financial lives better for millions of business clients and their employees. We do this through a “shared success” model, which means when our customers and local communities succeed, we will succeed. 

When it comes to small business, we have 23 locally based small-business bankers and a team of client managers and phone, video and chat specialists who, together, provide banking, credit and cash management solutions to meet the unique, long-term needs of small-business owners. They do this through thousands of face-to-face meetings with Phoenix business owners, this year alone, to listen to their needs and advise on growth strategies. It’s already resulted in a 160-percent increase in our lending to local companies, driven by a rebound in the region’s commercial real estate and low interest rates that make refinancing and purchases of new equipment for affordable.

Last year, we also debuted an unsecured line of credit product to focus on the immediate, and sometimes smaller end, of the credit spectrum for small-business owners. And we have more than 2.3 million small-business users of our online and mobile capabilities. For Arizona’s new startups and micro-enterprises that may not yet qualify for traditional bank lending, we partner with community nonprofit lenders like Accion to offer technical training and microloans, including women-owned businesses in Arizona in conjunction with the Tory Burch Foundation.


dave-ralstonBank of Arizona

Dave Ralston
Bank of Arizona

Commitment, passion, discipline — those are terms one often hears from a coach describing what a team needs to win. In some ways, banking isn’t a lot different from that.

Bank of Arizona celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, and I credit that achievement to the Bank of Arizona employees and the customers we serve. The bank was formed in 2005 when its parent company, BOK Financial, established a loan production office in Phoenix, followed by the purchase of two branches and the formation of Bank of Arizona. BOK Financial is one of the nation’s top 25 U.S.-based banks, with banking operations throughout the Southwest and clients nationwide.

From the beginning, Bank of Arizona has focused on meeting unique client needs with customized solutions that aren’t always available from the mega-banks. The strategy has served the bank well, as the organization that began with $95 million in loans now has $1.5 billion.

Bank of Arizona emphasizes relationship banking for companies of all sizes. The bank can help growing companies raise capital in a variety of ways, from providing assistance with SBA loans to serving as agent for loan syndications to companies that need a multi-bank credit facility. The capacity to lend, paired with state-of-the-art treasury services and local customer service, makes Bank of Arizona the ideal bank for business.

BOK Financial traces its roots back to the early 1900s, when oil industry entrepreneurs couldn’t find a bank that would loan them money. A group of oil men founded our company to help businesses get the capital they needed. We never forget that helping business owners who are trying to grow and expand their company is how we got our start — and it’s still how we’re successful today.


brent-cannonNational Bank of Arizona

Brent Cannon
Executive Vice President and Director of Retail and Executive Banking
National Bank of Arizona

Specializing in building local relationships and providing exceptional customer service, National Bank of Arizona® offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for individuals and businesses.

Taking a 360-degree view of each client’s needs, National Bank of Arizona is able to provide customized products and services. Customers receive tailored solutions to their unique financial problems and are supported with access to executive management and local decision-making.

National Bank of Arizona provides deposit, lending, wealth management and products for consumers, executive and private banking clients. Small businesses, corporate and commercial clients have access to deposit, lending, treasury management, international services, corporate trust, municipal finance, mergers and acquisitions, trust and escrow services, and nonprofit products and solutions. All products include the convenience of online and mobile banking.

Since its founding in Tucson in 1984, NB|AZ® now has 59 branches throughout Arizona. Backed by the strength of Zions Bancorporation, it offers customers the resources they need with the responsiveness and personalized service they expect from a local bank.


pam-conboyWells Fargo

Pam Conboy
Lead Region President
Wells Fargo 

Wells Fargo has been a long-time supporter of small businesses. We know the important role small businesses play in our economy and our local communities, and helping them realize financial success is a rewarding part of our work at Wells Fargo.

Year in and year out, we’re helping small businesses across the country access the capital they need to manage and grow their businesses. By keeping our focus on serving small-business owners, Wells Fargo has loaned more dollars to small businesses than any other bank for 14 years (2002-2015 CRA  data).

To help more entrepreneurs and small-business owners achieve financial success, we launched Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®. From financial services to educational resources and programs, Wells Fargo Works for Small Business is designed to help business owners take the next step toward their goals, and provides wide-ranging support for business owners throughout the U.S. to help them build knowledge, access capital and expand their community of support.

Within that program, we recently introduced the Business Credit Center as a step forward in demystifying the credit process and empowering business owners to confidently navigate the credit journey. This new, free resource was designed to help improve business owners’ understanding of credit — from preparing to apply, to applying and managing credit.

In addition to providing tools and resources to help businesses grow and thrive, Wells Fargo supports numerous outreach efforts in the communities we serve to build relationships with business owners and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo is here to help — from educating small-business owners on financial health to making sense of financing options available.


candace-wiestWest Valley National Bank

Candace Wiest
President and CEO
West Valley National Bank

How do you feel about eating seafood from Maine in August in Arizona or “fresh” produce from Iowa that has been picked green and shipped in a hot truck across all of the “flyover states”? Not great right? That’s because some things are just better locally. As the CEO of West Valley National Bank, I believe the same principle applies to banking. Does a business owner want someone in Minneapolis — who has only vacationed in Arizona — determining whether or not his or her business will be approved for the capital it needs? Wouldn’t it feel better dealing with a local banker who understands the local economy, has access to local resources to determine the value of the business and is committed to making a difference in the business owner’s own community?

During the (not so) Great Recession, local businesses learned that in a downturn it is very easy for out-of-state banks to stop lending into a volatile region. But when you are a community bank founded by some of Arizona’s most outstanding families, that’s when you lean in.

At West Valley National Bank, we are pretty clear about why we are in business. We exist to provide capital to local businesses and professionals in Arizona. We have clients who tell us we are pretty good at it because we can compete with even the largest banks in terms of pricing and turnaround time. And we will treat our clients the way a neighbor should be treated because we hold ourselves accountable to the highest ethical standards. WVNB offers SBA loans, loans for owner-occupied and investor commercial real estate, working capital and equipment loans, and everything business owners need to help grow their business or practice. We have offices in Goodyear, Scottsdale and Gila Bend. But clients needn’t worry about driving to us; all it takes is a phone call, and we will come to them.

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