Utahs Simmons Builds BankingEmpire
SALT LAKE CITY - (05/04/06) This year is turning out to bea very good one for Harris Simmons and his banking company, ZionsBancorp, which he heads as president and CEO. When ZionsBoard, with Simmons as its chairman, declared a 36-cents a sharedividend Monday, it meant more than $180,000 in quarterly dividendsfor Simmons on the 500,000 shares he owns. With last yearsacquisition of Amegys Bancorp in Texas, Simmons has built Zions,once the bank of the Mormon Church, into a western powerhouse with$43 billion in assets operating 450 branches in 10 states. Profitswere up again 25% in the first quarter and the bank regularlyreports a return-on-average assets of 1.3% or better, first-rate inthe industry. Over the past year, Zions stock has gone from $66.65a share to over $85 a share, before settling Wednesday at $80.71,boosting the value of Simmons and his familys 2.7million shares by almost $40 million, to over $210 million. Lastyear, Zions paid Simmons almost $3 million, according to documentsfiled with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That included asalary of $750,000; long-term incentive plan award of $858,621;bonus of $480,000, other compensation of $92,680; and 53,000options currently in the money to the tune of almost$530,000.