Stewart named to lead Gainey Business Bank

Stewart named to lead Gainey Business Bank

Gainey Business Bank has selected Joe Stewart as president and CEO. 

Stewart has more than 35 years banking experience, including eight years at the helm of JP Morgan Chase, Arizona.

“I’m very excited to lead the Gainey Business Bank,” Stewart says. “I’ve always been a builder in the organizations which I have worked, and building a successful business from the start is something I have wanted to do my entire career. This was the perfect opportunity.”

In addition to hiring a strong team, Stewart’s initial responsibilities will include raising capital and obtaining regulatory approvals.

“Joe is exactly the type of CEO we sought; extensive local market knowledge, a successful track record as a results-oriented business executive, a successful organization leader and a strong commitment to the success of Gainey Business Bank,” says Jim Unruh, chairman of Gainey Business Bank. Unruh became chairman 18 months ago. He is the founding principal of Alerion Capital Group; has previously served as chairman and CEO of a fortune 500 company; and has sat on the boards of Prudential Financial, Tenet Healthcare and CenturyLink.

“As a small-business owner, I have experienced disappointment due to the impersonal nature of the relationship with my large bank,” Unruh says. “That’s when I decided a community bank that would provide a high personal level of service for the smaller business owner was needed.”

Unruh says this would differentiate Gainey Business Bank from the competition, especially larger banks.

“Exceptional customer service will be our mantra,” Unruh adds.

In 2008 there were 32 community banks in metro Phoenix; there are currently four. Statewide, there were 53 community banks in Arizona in 2008 compared to 13 today.

“Small businesses have been negatively impacted by this void in the marketplace of community banks serving them,” Stewart says. “This provides us with an excellent opportunity to create strong relationships with smaller businesses who have limited options. All local decision making and the ability to turn requests around quickly is a key differentiating factor we have over large banks.”

Gainey Business Bank will focus on the small- to medium-size business market. This will include commercial real estate relationships, especially owner occupied.

“Community banks are a vital part of our economy, with the vast majority of businesses in Arizona being small businesses,” says Paul Hickman, CEO of Arizona Bank Association. “There is a great need for additional community banks, and the timing could not be better for Gainey Business Bank.”

One of the key target markets for the bank will be Hispanic Business Enterprises (HBEs), a rapidly growing market segment. “Greater Phoenix is increasingly becoming more diverse, and HBEs represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the small business market,” says Gonzalo de la Melena, former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, now founder and CEO of Emerging Airport Ventures LLC and member of the board of Gainey Business Bank.

The Gainey Business Bank (in organization) is raising $15 million to $20 million in capital from the local community. The bank is slated to open in late 2020 or the first quarter of 2021 and will be headquartered in the Gainey Ranch area.