Monthly Archives: April 2015

Never Give Up On A Child – The Good Work of Child Development Institute

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Passing the 20-year mark is a milestone for any business, especially a nonprofit. Child Development Institute’s↗ (CDI) 20th anniversary this year is an especially big milestone for the thousands of San Fernando Valley-area families who have benefited from CDI’s relationship-based early intervention and therapeutic services for children and their families. Grandpoint Bank and its staff have maintained relationships with CDI over the 20 years of this organization’s important work, and our Senior Vice President Arlet Hur, who works in our Encino office, is a strong supporter and CDI board member.

Arlet was particularly impressed with CDI because she has several family members who have been challenged with autism – one of the many “brain differences” addressed by CDI. Arlet describes the organization as a “one-stop shop” for parents who don’t know how to find the resources they need to help their children.

Joan Maltese, Executive Director for CDI, points out that early intervention, including screening, is the most helpful and economical for families dealing with child development challenges. “You can face a lifetime of stress if you don’t know where the resources are,” she says, adding that parents are often the first to recognize that their child may be struggling.

CDI is unique because of its focus on the whole family – supporting them to provide the social and emotional development tools their kids need in an integrated, whole child and whole family approach. Joan’s message to families is never give up on a child. “Never let a diagnosis stop you from thinking about who a child might really be,” she added.

At CDI’s recent 20th anniversary gala, a 15-year old young man named Dillan, who has autism and is non-verbal, stunned the crowd. Dillan, using a communication board, demonstrated that the early years his parents spent involved with CDI and its services gave them the foundation to keep investing in Dillan’s development. He was able to share his thoughts with the gala crowd, and how important it was to him that CDI staff believed in him and that his parents loved him. Just because Dillan can’t express himself the same way others can doesn’t mean that he isn’t highly aware of himself, others and his surroundings. The 285 people in attendance gave Dillan a standing ovation.

Representatives from a California State Senator have asked Dillan to come to Sacramento to speak with state legislators about resources for child development. Dillan has expressed interest, and CDI plans to help him.

Organizations like CDI demonstrate the importance of community member involvement. Nonprofits serve to fill gaps where not enough market value exists to support a for-profit enterprise but the service is still very much needed. We would like to thank CDI and Arlet for helping to make our community stronger.

We are proud to provide banking services and support for CDI. Please visit CDI’s website↗ for more information about the organization and how you can get involved.

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↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

Grandpoint Bank and its Divisions Awarded BauerFinancial 5-Star Rating

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 3.49.54 PMGrandpoint Bank and its divisions, Bank of Tucson, Regents Bank and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, received a 5-Star rating for strength, stability and soundness from independent rating and research firm BauerFinancial,↗ based on December 31, 2014, financial data. This is the seventh consecutive quarter Grandpoint has earned a 5-star rating, which BauerFinancial awards only to banks that are considered the strongest in the nation.

BauerFinancial is regarded as “the nation’s bank rating service,” and has been analyzing the performance of banks and credit unions since 1983. Ratings are determined by the bank’s capital strength, asset quality and profitability.

BauerFinancial’s analyses are made using quarterly financial reports filed with the government by each bank or credit union, with historical comparison for consistency. Its star-rating is assigned based upon a scale of zero to five stars. Banks cannot pay to be rated nor opt out of being rated.

Grandpoint and its divisions also received an A+ rating from DepositAccounts.com,↗ an independent bank health monitoring publication covering banks and bank deals for nearly a decade. This rating was also based on fourth quarter 2014 financial data.

DepositAccounts.com provides information about bank health free of charge to consumers. The company’s ratings are an indication of more than 14,000 banks’ and credit unions’ strength and stability based upon DepositAccounts.com’s proprietary algorithm.

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↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.

How to Choose a Commercial Bank – Start With the Banker

The following excerpt is from an article authored by Stephen Friedman, Executive Vice President and Regional Manager at our division, Regents Bank in San Diego. He represented the client service philosophy of Grandpoint Bank and its divisions so well, we wanted to share this with you. The full article originally appeared on the Renaissance Executive Forums↗ website.

By Stephen Friedman, Executive Vice President & Regional Manager at Regents Bank

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Product Based Criteria – Branches, Rates, Terms, Fees

As a commercial banker out in the marketplace peddling my wares, this is a topic that I discuss with business owners on a daily basis. If I am to convince a company to move its business over to my bank, the first thing I need to figure out is what they are looking for. What are the criteria that they will use to make a decision? No business owner wakes up in the morning thinking, “You know what, I am going to change my banking relationship today. I have been with my existing bank long enough and it’s time for a change.” No, a business owner would generally prefer a root canal over changing banks. Their call to me is usually triggered by one of three things, 1) A credit need that is not being addressed to the company’s satisfaction by the incumbent bank, 2) A negative service event that crossed the company’s pain threshold, or 3) Price shopping.

Over time I have found that the primary reason the company has reached this point with their existing bank is because they used the wrong criteria in selecting their bank in the first place. For businesses that are not heavy users of credit, the initial banking decision was usually based on which of the major banks had the closest branch location, were offering the best deal or already provided personal banking to the company’s owners. For heavy users of credit, the decision generally came down to the most lenient loan terms and/or the lowest pricing. These are product-based decisions in an industry where the products have become commodities. So if bank selection is based on product differentiation and pricing, you might as well put on the blindfold, get spun around three times and see if you can pin that tail on the donkey.

Bank Financial Strength is a Given

Then what are the right criteria to use in making your banking decision? Let’s take it as a given that you only want to work with banks that are financially strong. While this can take a little digging to uncover, the information is readily available on the FDIC’s website, as well as through different bank rating services like bankrate.com and BauerFinancial. A financially troubled bank, particularly one operating under a regulatory enforcement action, will likely be restricted by the regulators from providing you the commodity-like products and services at competitive prices I mentioned earlier. More importantly, the bank will be inwardly focused. Satisfying regulatory concerns will trump satisfying you, the client.

Knowledge-Based Criteria – Your Banking Team is the Differentiator

Once you’ve cleared the financial hurdle and are only focused on financially strong banks, I believe that the most important consideration in choosing a bank is the team of bankers with whom you’ll be working. Not to say that the bank itself is unimportant, it’s just less important than the bankers you are working with directly. Since the products themselves are commodities, your banking team is the key differentiating factor. And guess what? Your banker is practically free. There is no extra fee or charge levied on your bank statement for banker time and talent devoted to you. It comes with the account. Banks that compete on price, if they want to be profitable, have to have a low cost structure. Since the principal cost for a bank is people, that means they must pay their people less, which results in a lower level of competency. This is particularly true when it comes to small to mid-size business banking, which I equate to businesses with less than $40 million in sales. If your bank is doing both, offering the most competitive prices and has the most talented bankers, then be careful. Their economic model is flawed and will likely catch up to you as the client in some way as time goes on.

Keeping the Credit Spigot Open is the Key to Growth

So why is having an experienced, technically competent banking team important, and what kind of value should you expect them to bring to your business? Helping to address and resolve issues surrounding finance is where a skilled banker can have the most direct, positive impact on your company. This is particularly relevant for credit-intensive businesses. Small to mid-size businesses often don’t have room in their cost structure for a full time Chief Financial Officer. The CEO/Owner knows the numbers, but generally from a different perspective than the CFO. CEOs intuitively understand return on investment, without the need for detailed spreadsheets and graphs, but generally are much less focused on the balance sheet and other key financial measurements and analysis. A good banker can help you in all of these areas.

The importance of this financial expertise to your business cannot be overstated. I believe that one of the most important factors in a company’s long term success is continuous access to capital, both debt and equity capital. What determines this is a company’s level of profitability and growth in relation to its level of debt. Bank debt is the cheapest form of capital, therefore the more you can borrow as part of your overall capital requirements, the higher the return on your equity investment in the short term. The flip side is that the more you borrow, the greater the financial risk in your business. Banks want to get paid back faster than other forms of capital, which increases the fixed cash outflows of your company and therefore raises the sales level required to break even. The bank also has a priority security position in the assets of the company, so if you can’t meet your break even sales level, you are at risk of losing everything. Working with a banking team that understands this and advises you accordingly is worth its weight in gold. On the surface, the banker who can get you the most credit with the most lenient terms at the lowest price would seem to be the obvious choice. But it is often the beginning of a company’s demise. Without the financial expertise as to how to appropriately use such a credit facility, it’s like being handed a loaded gun without any firearms training.

Credibility – You Work So Hard to Build It, but It Can Crumble in a Second

In addition, the bankers with which you work are your advocates and spokespeople within the bank, especially when it comes to credit-related issues. The ultimate decision maker within the bank needs to have all of the relevant information in an understandable format in order to reach the appropriate conclusion. You need to be confident that your banking team can accomplish this on your behalf.

A company rarely evolves in a linear fashion. There are peaks and, inevitably, valleys. A good banker is going to maintain an ongoing dialogue with you and be proactive in addressing small problems before they become big ones. Your banking team members will share information with each other to ensure that all key players are informed so that surprises are kept to a minimum. That way your credibility is maintained, as well as your bankers’. Our role is to provide you with the information that you need as a business owner to make tactical adjustments so that you don’t jeopardize access to bank credit, your cheapest source of capital.

Conclusion – A New Vision of your Bank

I encourage you to think of your bank differently. A bank’s products are commodities, but its people can prove to be an invaluable resource in your company’s success. Your banking team should offer a separate and distinct set of skills that you can rely upon to help you to make the right strategic decisions in leading your company forward.

And while changing banks can be perceived as being as desirable as a root canal, it’s really not that bad. I would think of it more in terms of your bi-annual dental checkup and cleaning: It’s a little bit of a nuisance, but it sure feels good when you’re done.

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↗ Linking to Non-Grandpoint Bank Websites
This icon appears next to every link that directs to a third party website not affiliated with Grandpoint Bank. Please be advised that if you click this link you will be taken to a website hosted by another party, where you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of Grandpoint Bank. We recommend that you review and evaluate the privacy and security policies of the site that you are entering. Grandpoint Bank assumes no liability for the content, information, security, policies or transactions provided by these other sites.