By Kamala Kirk
Gainey Business Bank recently received conditional approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to establish a new community bank in Scottsdale.
Since 2008, community banks have been on the decline, making it challenging for smaller businesses to gain access to capital, says Jim Unruh, Gainey Business Bank chairman.
At present, there are only four community banks in the Phoenix metro market.
“There were a larger number of community banks in the past, but then the Great Recession came and many of those banks were either acquired by out of state banks or were overloaded with real estate and had to sell,” Unruh says.
“For the next 10 years, only 21 or 22 new banks had been approved. The FDIC now recognizes the need for more community banks, and they’ve been very supportive of our efforts to start a new community bank in this market.”
As a community bank, GBB will concentrate on commercial, industrial and health care business sectors, bringing the extensive local market experience of executive management and its board to benefit customers.
“Our focus is on the local market, businesses that are small to medium size,” Unruh says.
He added, “97% of businesses are in this category and we’re serving the vast market of businesses in Arizona. As a result of that we develop deeper relationships with customers that enable us to be much faster in our response to business’ needs.”
For its primary market, Gainey Business Bank will support businesses in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and North Phoenix, also including customers throughout the metropolitan area. The bank’s services and products will include loans, deposit facilities, cash management services and other businesses.
“When a client requests a sizable loan, if you’re not a community bank you have to go out of state for approval,” says Joe Stewart, chief executive officer of Gainey Business Bank.
“Our customers like that we understand their business and make local decisions right here.”
The Gainey Business Bank management team has a strong background with extensive banking experience in the Valley.
The team is supported by a Phoenix-area board of directors with substantial experience in technology, banking, insurance, finance and general business.
Unruh spent 28 years with JPMorgan Chase and its predecessor organization, serving as chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase Arizona. As chairman of Gainey Business Bank, Unruh will focus on driving the bank’s development and growth, enhancing shareholder returns, and building a culture of prudent lending decisions with superior customer service.
“The big banks don’t have the decision-making process that enables them to move quickly and be flexible,” Unruh says. “We make the decisions right here in our conference room. We don’t have to consult with others.”
Stewart, who has more than three decades of experience working in small and large banks, spent eight years as president of JP Morgan Chase Arizona and five years as president of Bankers Trust Arizona.
“We’re not here to do what the other banks do well, like mortgages and car loans,” Stewart says.
“Our bank is focused on small- to medium-size business clients whose needs are things like working capital. People aren’t transitioning all the time here, so clients feel comfortable working with the same people for a long time. When PPP loans were given out during COVID-19, if you weren’t a player with your bigger bank, you went to the back of the line. But if you had a relationship with a community bank, you were in the front of the line. There was a lot of frustration in the market as big banks focused more on the bigger clients. We’re proficient and offer a fast turnaround for our clients.”
Aside from a minimum capital requirement of $15 million, the conditions to be met prior to Gainey Business Bank’s opening are routine and standard for a new bank during its first three years.
Gainey Business Bank is raising capital and expects to complete it soon. Its opening is slated for the first quarter of 2022.
“We’re able to help entrepreneurs and support the development of business in the community, not just with the bank but with the advice and counsel that we offer,” Unruh says.
“This is something we’re really passionate about. It isn’t just about the money. I think we have assembled an outstanding management team proven in their ability to execute. We have a very good business plan and focus, and we look forward to great success.”
Gainey Business Bank