AWhile small businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic, small local banks have worked hard to help them.
Commerce Bank of Arizona, in particular, hasn’t just worked around the clock to provide desperately needed P3 loans to businesses in need.
Today, it was recognized by Newsweek as Arizona’s Best Small Bank.
CBAZ President and CEO Chris Webster called the award “completely unexpected”.
“Besides a range of financial measures, Newsweek rated the banks with the fewest complaints filed with the FDIC. We were thrilled to be at the top of this list, ”said Webster.
Newsweek’s inaugural 2021 Best U.S. Banks list, released last fall, rated U.S. banks and the savings and chequing accounts they offer based on 55 separate factors to come up with the best options in 19 categories. .
“We have always strived to help small businesses in Arizona be successful, and we are honored to be recognized by this title,” wrote CBAZ.
“This has been a difficult year for many people in Arizona, and we are proud of our team for meeting these challenges and serving every customer with exceptional customer service.”
As a locally owned and managed bank, Webster said CBAZ has a better understanding of Arizona’s business environment, which in turn gives it a competitive advantage.
“We always say ‘bank where you live, local bank’,” Webster said. “CBAZ focuses on the unique banking needs of businesses in our community. “
During the pandemic, CBAZ’s loan and customer support teams worked tirelessly to provide desperately needed PPP loans not only to existing business owners, but many new client business owners as well, Webster said.
And this hard work has more than paid off.
CBAZ Financial, Inc., the parent company of CBAZ, recently reported consolidated profit of over $ 1.52 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 373% from the $ 457,000 in the third quarter.
According to a statement released in February, total assets increased 7.3% to $ 355.8 million in the quarter ended Dec.31, 2020, and increased 49.6% from 237.8 million of dollars a year ago.
“Our financial metrics for the year were excellent,” said Webster. “The bank has generated strong growth in loans and deposits… and we have been able to realign key non-interest costs, which will benefit the bank for years to come. “
Webster also attributed the growth to the CBAZ team’s “exceptional customer service performance standards” throughout a pandemic that disrupted face-to-face communication.
“We build relationships with our customers through face-to-face communication,” said Webster. “Last March, this activity stopped immediately.
CBAZ’s pivot to virtual forms of communication, however, has not prevented the company from working so closely with its customers.
“There is a saying in the banking industry: ‘Banks like to give you an umbrella when the sun is shining to take it out when it starts to rain. I can tell you that our team has provided hundreds of umbrellas to many grateful business owners, ”said Webster. “And there is nothing more rewarding than letting a business owner know at 3 a.m. that their P3 loan has been approved.”
It is this customer service that Webster is proud of its team.
“The Commerce Bank of Arizona team strives every day to provide best-in-class banking services to small and medium-sized businesses in Arizona. It is an honor that our customer-centric culture is recognized by business owners, ”he said.
Founded in 2002, CBAZ is a full-service community bank that caters to small and medium-sized businesses and real estate professionals.
It offers its business clients a variety of services ranging from US Small Business Administration financing solutions to construction loans and commercial real estate loans.
Webster joined the company in 2015. Previously, he headed the commercial banking division of BBVA / Compass in Phoenix and then co-founded First Scottsdale Bank.
“His leadership is an inspiration to all of us and we are grateful for his wisdom and guidance during these difficult times,” said CBAZ upon hiring Webster. “With Chris as a leader, we believe our small business community can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. “
Looking ahead, Webster said CBAZ looks forward to supporting local businesses as Arizona’s economy recovers.
“We are already seeing significant loan demand in many industries,” said Webster. “Many segments of Arizona’s economy are doing very well despite the pandemic. And most of the business segments affected by the pandemic are poised to rebound as the vaccination rate rises. “