We have a shortage of community banks in Arizona — in 2008, there were 32; today, there are four. Into the virtual void, Gainey Business Bank will be opening in early Q1 2021 to serve a target market of Maricopa County, specifically Paradise Valley, mid to north Scottsdale and parts of northeast Phoenix.
While local banks tend to be smaller than national ones, with assets below $10 billion, the critical difference for customers is local control. “National banks tend to be more tightly controlled, with approvals a lot time coming from out of state,” explains Joe Stewart, CEO of Gainey Business Bank. “We will have local board [of directors] and local advisory board, so decisions can be more rapid — with knowledge of the local marketplace. So, customers can count on the fact that we would be a little more nimble, a little quicker.” He notes that, for customers, it can be trickier to get to a decision if the bank does not know where they’re operating from or their background locally. Additionally, he says, “We will pride ourselves on customers having access to management” — and that includes making his cell phone number available.
With the more intimate knowledge of the market and the bank’s customers, “We can tailor both our savings and the precise nature of our products to the needs of this market and these customers,” says Jim Unruh, chairman of the board.
Gainey Business Bank will concentrate on commercial and industrial sectors, as opposed to being primarily real estate focused. “Those are day-to-day operating businesses that would need our services on a day in and day out basis to complete their tasks, such as working capital, some treasury management services, cash management services, ability to handle their investments,” Stewart says. “Occasionally, we would do commercial real estate transactions, but more for clients that we know are in owner-occupied buildings that they service out of.”
Gainey Business Bank is being led by a strong management team. President and CEO Stewart’s 30 years at JPMorgan Chase, Arizona, include eight years at its head; and to that big-bank experience Stewart also has four years as the market lead for a small bank. Chairman Unruh is a former chairman and CEO of Fortune 500 company Unisys, where he increased its value five times before leaving, and also held key positions on the boards of other Fortune 500 companies Prudential Financial, CenturyLink and Tenet Healthcare. The CFO has more than 30 years’ banking experience, including involvement in successful startups, and the chief credit officer has more than 40 years’ banking experience all in the local market.
“You depend on your background to recognize what you can and can’t do in terms of, let’s say lending: Problems are caused when a decision is made without enough experience to know what might go on. And we don’t have that problem,” Stewart says. “The customers will benefit and we will benefit by us having been down the road before.”