Monthly Archives: December 2016

Happy 2017!


This New Year, thank the ancient Babylonians. The idea of observing a special day as the New Year was theirs, as many as 4,000 years ago, and it is considered the oldest of all holidays. Observing the New Year on January 1 is somewhat arbitrary, but the Roman senate first declared this date as the New Year in 153 BC.

The Babylonians were also the first to come up with the idea of New Year’s resolutions. These days, cultures throughout the world have their own New Year’s traditions (and observance dates). While watching the 1,200-pound Waterford Crystal ball drop in New York City is a common tradition in the U.S., the Spanish eat 12 grapes at midnight to encourage 12 happy months in the coming year.

In Britain, when the clock strikes midnight, everyone sings the Scottish song ‘Auld Lang Syne,” which means ‘times gone by’ and was written by Robert Burns in the 1700s. In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck.

In Colombia, Cuba and Puerto Rico, families may stuff a large doll, called Mr. Old Year, with memories and clothes from the past year. At midnight, they light him on fire to burn away the bad memories. (May we suggest checking local regulations before you burn an effigy in your yard?)

The Japanese hold Bonenkai or “forget-the-year parties” throughout December to bid farewell to the problems and concerns of the past year and prepare for a new beginning.

Some parts of the Middle East and Asia celebrate Nowruz (or New Day), albeit in spring. Celebrations often include bonfires and egg dying.

If you find yourself celebrating the New Year by using noisemakers and setting off fireworks (again, check the regulations, folks) to celebrate the New Year, you have that in common with people in ancient times, who believed that loud noises would scare off evil spirits and bring good luck.

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, all of us at Bank of Tucson wish you peace, prosperity and happiness for 2017.



Grandpoint Bank Promotes Karen McGuire to Executive Vice President

karen-mcguireCongratulations to Karen McGuire, manager of Grandpoint Bank’s Construction Lending Department, who just earned a well-deserved promotion to Executive Vice President.

Karen is responsible for helping Grandpoint Bank and our divisions, Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, expand our construction lending loan portfolio. She is based at Grandpoint’s Irvine office and oversees a seasoned and talented construction lending staff. Her duties include analyzing and underwriting all of the bank’s construction loan requests. This includes evaluating both standard and complex construction loan transactions, interfacing with clients, handling the construction loan disbursements once a loan is approved and visiting project sites.

According to Karen, currently, the demand for construction lending for multifamily properties is especially strong throughout the nation. In the markets that Grandpoint Bank and our divisions serve, Karen says the strongest demand is coming from Los Angeles and the Portland, Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington market. Karen’s team is also currently seeing a lot of lending activity and demand from the hospitality and single family real estate sectors in many of the bank’s existing markets.

Karen’s best advice for would-be loan applicants? If you’re looking for construction financing, start the loan application process sooner rather than later.  Assuming your loan application is complete, the approval process can be as short as 60 days, but compiling a complete loan application can take longer than many people anticipate due to the additional amounts of information and analysis required.

Your local relationship manager, along with Karen and her staff, will work with you to help you understand what is needed and what to include in your application. You’ll also benefit from the incredible depth of experience our loan underwriters have and can contribute to your construction project and process. You can depend on our team to bring a sophisticated understanding to your objectives and the business of construction.

“My team and I don’t consider our work done once a loan is approved,” says Karen. “Someone from our construction lending team will go to the building site once every two to three months so that we continue to understand not only the project but also our clients’ needs and achievements.”

Karen counts the AC Hotel Tucson by Marriott (currently under construction) as one of her most notable construction loans to date. Though it was a complex project, involving two different loans and some required environmental remediation, the loan was ultimately closed based in large part on the entire team’s “can-do” attitude. The 136-room hotel with 5,000-square-feet of ground floor retail will soon give new life to the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in downtown Tucson.

“We are very fortunate to have Karen and her staff, all of whom have considerable previous experience in complex structured financing,” said Mark Phillips, Executive Vice President & Chief Credit Officer of Grandpoint Capital. “When Karen started with us, we had one construction loan on the books. Now we’re making construction loans in three states, with loans amounts up to $40 million and greater.”

For more information about construction loans, please contact your local banking office, your relationship manager or Karen McGuire at 949-483-8388.