BOK Financial leaders talk about the importance of partnerships for Valley businesses
Local businesses are responding to the twin threats of a global pandemic and resulting economic downturn with a uniquely Phoenician mixture of creativity, grit and collaboration. BOK Financial’s Dave Ralston, David DeCero and Bruce Guest recently discussed how the bank’s approach has changed in the COVID era to support commercial clients.
“Our bank was started more than a century ago,” said Ralston, who serves as Arizona market CEO. “Since then, we have grown into a $47 billion regional bank focused in eight primary states. We have helped our clients weather multiple economic cycles and have a history of standing by our clients – especially in challenging times.”
That long-term relationship approach is echoed by the team’s tenure with the bank. Ralston, who serves as Arizona market CEO, has been with the bank for more than 35 years. DeCero, who was recently named the Arizona regional manager for Commercial Banking, will celebrate his 11th anniversary in September. That makes Guest, who joined the bank in 2019 and currently serves as the western region manager for Commercial Banking, a relative newcomer.
“We’re spending a lot of virtual time with clients and prospects right now, talking about everything from how they tackle labor shortages to preparing for possible supply chain disruption,” said DeCero.
Partnership through PPP
When the Paycheck Protection Program was announced, BOK Financial understood what those funds could mean to business owners – and their employees. Despite a series of changes to program rules and the fact that more than two-thirds of the bank’s employees were working remotely due to COVID-19, BOK Financial responded aggressively.
“Virtually overnight, we redeployed hundreds of employees, built processes and began reaching out to clients,” said Guest. “We began accepting applications shortly after the SBA released its final guidance on the program; many clients received their loans within days. We had employees working around the clock, allowing us to secure more than $2.1 billion in loans for more than 8,000 of our clients.”
DeCero stresses that the chapter on PPP hasn’t closed yet. “We are working just as hard to ensure that our clients receive as much loan forgiveness as possible. As we work with our clients through this process, we’re also going to help them assess the right next steps. It’s a very confusing environment, and businesses need a banking partner who knows them and their industry.”
BOK Financial means business
The ability to meet the complex needs of commercial businesses is nothing new to BOK Financial, but it is an area of increasing importance.
“While we enjoy a very diversified business model, commercial banking is one of our larger focus areas,” said Guest. “The bank has made significant investments in leadership and systems to allow us to deliver best-in-class service to clients across Arizona and our eight-state footprint. We are of a size where we can compete with any bank in the market but with a level of personal attention typically found at a smaller bank.”
DeCero cites the bank’s team approach to service as a differentiating factor. “We’re able to serve the complete needs of our clients – from banking to wealth to insurance – with local teams. Our clients have access to decision makers within the bank and subject matter experts who can meet with them personally – virtually now or in person when that time comes again.”