Bank seeks hometown cache
Some bank customers
Nevada bristle when
the mail from their
so much as carries an
That’s a big part of the reason that 1st
National Bank of Nevada this summer went
through the regulatory hassle of moving its
official headquarters to Reno from
And the bank isn’t about to let the marketing
opportunity pass, says Dennis
Williams, president of community banking
for 1st National Bank.
“We’re going to make a big deal out of
it,” Williams said last week.
It’s all part of 1st National Bank’s effort
to position itself as a hometown, community
bank turf that it’s getting a mite crowded
in the Reno market
With three branches in Reno, one in
Carson City and nine in the Las Vegas area,
1st National Bank isn’t exactly a mom-andpop
Still, the $284 million in assets it reported
to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on
June 30 doesn’t make First National a behemoth
of the industry, either. But numbers are
less important than attitude in Williams’
vision of a community bank.
“A bank is a bank,” he said. “We all
make deposits.We all make loans. My goal
is that we will have an earned reputation for
providing the best service.”
How to measure good service? For
Williams, it’s gauged by the experience of
his staff and its skill in providing knowledgeable
solutions. It’s gauged by the ability
of the bank’s staff to leave customers feeling
good about their encounters with their
“We’re different from the big boys,”
Williams said. “There is a nucleus of folks
out there who want that kind of banking.”
On the lending side of the business, 1st
National looks to work with small and
medium-sized businesses. It can handle
loans up to $8 million on its own. About 65
percent of its loan portfolio a portfolio
which totaled $178.6 million on June 30
involves some type of real estate lending.
“It’s good business,” Williams said. “Plus,
Still, 1st National looks to diversify its
loan portfolio with a wider variety of business
and commercial lending. Its “private
banking” program, meanwhile, targets the
needs of busy professionals.
It’s spending some money to help woo
those business customers.
A new digital imaging program, for
instance, will allow business customers each
month to receive a CD carrying the images
of all its checks. The data on the CD can be
sorted in a variety of ways, and users can
take a look at both the front and back of
Williams notes, too, that savvy accountants
and financial officers want the ability to
access their accounts via the Internet
checking their cash positions on a daily
basis, for instance.
The bank also plans to diversify its geographic
base in the Reno market. It has
right of first refusal to open banking centers
in Wal-Mart superstores in the region, and
Williams said the company expects to follow
Wal-Mart into northwest Reno.
The bank also believes it needs a branch
in Sparks, he said.
The strategy of 1st National has proven
profitable in recent months. In the 12
months ended June 30, the bank told the
FDIC it earned $5.66 million, compared
with earnings of $328,000 in the previous
12 months. That’s a 4.58 percent return
Its assets of $280 million on June 30
were up more than $90 million from the
same date a year earlier. The bank was able
to grow those assets without adding much
staff. Its assets per employee were $2.19 million
on June 30, compared with $1.59 million
a year earlier.
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