Category Archives: Employees

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.

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Government Guaranteed Loans and Helping Businesses Grow

leticia-scearce_biltmore-bankSecuring a business loan can be vital to a company’s growth or even survival. Senior Vice President Leticia Scearce, head of Grandpoint’s Government Guaranteed Lending division, shares some great loan options that are available through various government programs which can be facilitated by the Bank and its divisions, Bank of Tucson, The Biltmore Bank of Arizona and Regents Bank.

Q: What should people know about the government guaranteed lending programs that are available?

LS: Government guaranteed loans are there to help small- and medium-sized businesses, since these loans require less cash investment up front and offer longer loan terms. Government guaranteed loans can help bridge the gap for small- and medium-sized businesses that otherwise would not have access to capital.  Also, many businesses that could qualify for conventional loans opt for government guaranteed loans instead because they require less money down and have longer terms. When opting for guaranteed loans, clients usually pay two percent more in fees for 10 to 15 percent cash down versus the 30 percent down for conventional loans.

The most well-known government guaranteed loan programs are those offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.  These loan programs can include financing for owner-occupied real estate purchase or construction, refinance, equipment, business acquisition, exporting and short term working capital (revolving lines of credit).

Another very attractive loan program is available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Eligible USDA loans can be for real estate and equipment (including renewable energy projects) in rural or farming areas and can have a loan term up to 30 years. In addition, there are a few subprograms under the USDA loan program umbrella that allow us to finance projects in urban areas that have a local foods component – food manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc. The USDA loan product is attractive because it offers the longest term of the government guaranteed loan programs; is more flexible in pricing and prepayment penalties; has less oversight with franchises and dealer agreements; and has less regulation overall. It needs to be mentioned that even though the program is offered under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the financing of eligible projects / properties under this program do not need to be agriculture related.  Rather, its availability is contingent on the current population levels of a specific census tract in which the business or property will be located.

Q: What is the current status of government guaranteed lending?

LS: We’re hitting record levels of government guaranteed lending as the economy is improving. One reason is that the banks’ lending standards for conventional loans haven’t changed much since the recession, which makes guaranteed loans more attainable and attractive.

Q: Have you seen any big changes in the government guaranteed lending programs that business owners should know about?

LS: We saw a big change recently in the SBA 504 program. This product offers low cash down and a 20-year fixed rate on the client’s second loan, which is financed by the SBA. The agency now allows the client to refinance existing loans on owner-occupied real estate and allows some cash out provisions, helping the small business owner access capital for long-term working capital.

Q: How do the members of the government guaranteed lending program for Grandpoint Bank and its divisions work together to assist clients?

LS: We are tasked with helping all our regions expand our government guaranteed lending, which is a combination of SBA loans, USDA loans and export loans. I’m based in Phoenix at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, along with Debbie Lindsay, our loan administrator. My team’s loan specialist/underwriter, Marchette Wesley, and portfolio servicer, Hector Palomares, are in California, and I travel to our offices throughout Arizona, California and Washington to train our staff about our guaranteed loan platform.  We assist our relationship managers in deepening their knowledge base with the different loan products we have available. We also train our credit staff so they can recognize when a conventional loan isn’t suited for a client and a government guaranteed loan could offer a great alternative.

Mark Phillips, Grandpoint Capital’s chief credit officer, and David Ross, Grandpoint Bank’s chief credit officer, and our regional bank presidents have been very supportive of our division and expansion.

Q: How is Grandpoint Bank, and its divisions, differentiating itself in this type of lending?

LS: Our Southern California and Vancouver, Washington markets do a lot of export business, so with our large geographic footprint and sizable lending capacity, we can target more middle market customers.   In Arizona, we have more rural opportunities, and thus the USDA programs are a great fit. We are already one of the top lenders in the state for USDA loans.  We are looking forward to expanding our footprint in USDA lending in all of our markets.   Seventy to 90 percent of government guaranteed loans don’t count against a bank’s legal lending limits, so we have more capacity to service larger companies as well.

Q: How did your career lead you to becoming the head of the government guaranteed lending division?

LS: I was drawn to SBA lending in 2007 when I was working in commercial lending at a community bank here in Scottsdale. I further progressed into this niche lending sector during the recession when the credit markets froze and guaranteed loans became even more essential. When I joined The Biltmore Bank of Arizona in 2011, I helped established the SBA department, and a year later I pushed for expansion into other government guaranteed loan programs such as USDA loans and export financing.  A diverse, more inclusive platform was important to our brand and to our customer base, and I was fortunate that key management at Biltmore trusted and supported my recommendations. In 2012, Biltmore Bank was acquired by Grandpoint Bank, and with the backing of a larger bank, it allowed us to expand our lending efforts even further.  Personally, Grandpoint gave me access to a larger platform with great management resources to help expand and develop this lending niche. Prior to the acquisition, our government guaranteed lending activity was small, but many of the banks acquired by Grandpoint around the same time had SBA loan portfolios, so my servicing and liquidation role increased. Soon thereafter, our senior management team decided to expand this niche of lending for the whole family of banks. I’m pleased to have a very amazing team. We all have to stay up to date on policies and procedures for all of these programs. This type of lending makes you a better banker, because it requires a complex level of understanding and mastery of detail; it makes you sharper.

Q: Are you involved in any civic work?

LS: I serve on the City of Phoenix Investment Advisory Board, which advises the city on its entire investment portfolio.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

LS: My husband and I are into cycling, and I love to hike. I also enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m a wine connoisseur. We have visited more than 100 wineries, and I’d love to become a sommelier someday. More immediately, I’d like to look at growth and loan opportunities in the wine industries throughout the various regions we serve. I also enjoy reading, gardening, and I am a big tennis fan!

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Introducing Our New Multifamily Lending Division

kim-karen-croppedWe’re happy to announce that we have expanded our service offerings once again.

Multifamily properties represent an important part of the housing market, especially as cities become denser and land constrained. Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, now has a multifamily lending division, managed by Senior Vice President Karen Kim.

According to Karen, 2016 is expected to be another good year for the multifamily sector due to favorable demographic trends and economic growth, based on the Multifamily Outlook study completed by Freddie Mac.

“Demographically, the strong multifamily market is further bolstered by Millennials and empty nesters, who are increasingly choosing multifamily over single-family residences in many cities,” Karen says.

Karen’s multifamily lending team is comprised of experts in multifamily lending who have previously worked at institutions that have produced a large volume of multifamily portfolios for the past two decades or more.

Multifamily property owners and investors can access three-, five- and on a very limited basis, seven-year hybrid loans from our bank, as well as a six-month ARM loans. Qualifying properties include five or more units in Class A or B buildings, with Class C-type properties considered on a deal-by-deal basis. As portfolio lenders — meaning most of these loans remain with our bank — we have more control over our products and pricing, which is a huge advantage.

We’re working with a network of seasoned mortgage brokers throughout the markets we serve to educate them about how Grandpoint Bank and its divisions can help their clients finance or refinance properties up to approximately $15 million in loan value. Karen and her team are currently cultivating additional mortgage broker relationships in Greater Los Angeles area, San Diego County, Ventura County, Orange County, Portland, Vancouver, WA, Greater Phoenix area and Tucson.

Please contact Karen to inquire about becoming an approved broker with Grandpoint Bank.  You can also ask her to connect you to an approved broker already working with Grandpoint Bank.

Karen H. Kim, SVP, Multi-Family Lending Manager kkim@grandpointbank.com or (213) 542-2727.

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J&M Corporation – Part of our 20-Year History

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This year marks Bank of Tucson’s 20th anniversary. We cannot express enough our gratitude to all of our wonderful clients and staff who have helped Bank of Tucson thrive. We’re proud of how many of our staffers have been with our bank for a long time, but we’d like to give special recognition to the five people who have been with Bank of Tucson since the doors opened. They are: Pat Taylor, Cathy Friggle, Debbie Samaniego and Mike Hannley.

As one of Tucson’s oldest community banks, Bank of Tucson draws upon deep roots in the region, to serve a wide range of small- to mid-sized, owner-operated business clients. To celebrate our anniversary, we’d like to tell you more about one client that has been with us for all of the 20 years we’ve been in business: J&M Corporation.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

In 1978, the number one provider of Bluetooth® motorcycle headsets in the world today got off to a roaring start. It began on the road, when motorcycle enthusiasts and then-spouses John Lazzeroni and Melinda Carevich wanted to communicate with each other while riding. They realized their vision and co-founded J&M Corporation, a company devoted to developing, manufacturing and marketing the finest quality motorcycle audio products. In 1985, before Bank of Tucson was founded, John and Melinda began banking with now-retired Chief Credit Officer David Foust, and President Mike Hannley.  They were among our very first customers when we opened our doors in 1996, and they haven’t missed a beat.

In order to stay on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to market research and product development, John and Melinda needed to purchase and work with the latest motorcycles and equipment. Initially, Mike helped them secure a line of credit for this purpose, while also taking the time to talk with John and Melinda to learn about their business and goals. This created the foundation of a banking relationship that has stood the test of time.

Over the years, Bank of Tucson has provided J&M with much more than credit. Mike and Senior Vice President Pat Taylor have also served as personal points of contact for many of J&M’s banking needs. It’s an advisory relationship characterized by mutual understanding and trust that is more like a partnership. Every year, J&M’s customers expect them to provide new products that offer the latest innovation, and Bank of Tucson has been able to assist John and Melinda with the financing services to make this happen. The Bank of Tucson team has also provided J&M with financing for the purchase of their office and manufacturing facility in Tucson, along with the branded semi truck they use to transport their products to riding rallies and prominent industry trade shows in Florida, Nevada and South Dakota.

As J&M has grown, Pat and Mike have been on hand every step of the way, providing overall banking advice, referrals to trusted professionals and financial insights to help John and Melinda grow their business and achieve their long-term goals. Today, J&M helmet headsets are known all over the world for their unsurpassed performance, innovative features and legendary durability. The company has evolved its offerings from the original two-way radios to helmet headsets, Bluetooth helmet headsets, HJC and Nolan helmets with headsets custom installed, ROKKER series speakers and amplifiers for Harley Baggers, Bluetooth cell phone integration, and a range of accessories. J&M products are compatible with a wide variety of leading motorcycle brands, and are distributed by an extensive network of authorized dealers across the United States and internationally. John and Melinda continue to operate in Tucson, where the year-round mild climate and community ties to the Bank of Tucson enable them to test and innovate their products on the road.

“I can tell you without hesitation that J&M Corporation would not be here today, without the help of the Bank of Tucson,” said John. “When the economic crisis came upon us all in late 2008, the Bank of Tucson stayed with us and helped us navigate thru the many financial challenges of that period. To this day, their caring and personalized service is what separates them from all other banks.”

Our bank is an integral presence in Tucson, and we are proud of the continued growth that we enjoy here, based upon forming mutually rewarding, long-term partnerships with our clients. Here’s to the next 20 years!

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Bank of Tucson – 20 Year Employees

This year, Bank of Tucson celebrates 20 years in business. A huge part of the credit for our longevity goes to our wonderful clients.  We also want to recognize five of our staffers who have been with us since the beginning. Their hard work, dedication and loyalty have been a part of many wonderful milestones for our bank.

Over the next few months, we’ll post profiles about each of them. We’re starting with Pat Taylor and Cathy Friggle, who were kind enough to reflect on their Bank of Tucson careers and why they have been so dedicated to the bank.

Pat
Pat “I enjoy the small, community bank spirit at Bank of Tucson. I appreciate that we have the ability to make decisions in our own board room and that my clients can talk to the decision makers directly.  We have the ability to respond quickly and get loans closed right away since we don’t have to depend on other departments for support.

“Just as importantly, … I enjoy the camaraderie between our staff.  It’s truly a ‘family’ feeling.  Our president, Mike Hannley, has always been very generous in promoting fun staff activities as well as outings for staff and their families.

“One of my favorite Bank of Tucson memories is watching our bank’s management team work to approve a loan for a client who was starting up a business.  Providing start up financing is very challenging but we found a way to do it. The company went on to become one of our largest clients. Eventually, the owners took the company public. Revenues now exceed $1 billion, and shares are trading at about $50-$60 per share.”

Cathy
cathy“When Mike Hannley recruited a team to start Bank of Tucson, he made us promise to give him five years, and so I planned to spend just five years here. Of course, I’m speaking to you 20 years later. In my opinion, Mike is the reason we’re all still here. I don’t feel like I’m just working a job. Mike makes us feel like it’s our bank, and he’s an unparalleled teacher when it comes to banking.

“We are like family here, and everyone has learned to ‘work smarter not harder’ and to turn everything into a positive situation. Mike’s philosophy easily became everyone’s philosophy. No one tries to pass the buck; we’re all accountable for creating solutions. We’re very concerned about knowing our clients and serving – even anticipating – their needs.

“I adore Bank of Tucson because of our remarkable team. Some of my fondest memories are from our annual baseball park outings, where everyone can bring their families. We grill hamburgers and hot dogs and set up special activities for the kids. My kids and my grandkids have their own wonderful memories from these outings. Being able to – and want to – share your family with your co-workers is special, and I’ll never forget when my granddaughter was given a school assignment to write about a president, she wanted to choose Mike Hannley.”

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