Arizona group receives conditional approval to open a de novo bank

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Organizers of the proposed Scottsdale Community Bank in Arizona have received conditional approval for deposit insurance.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is requiring the group to raise a minimum of $16 million before opening the bank. Organizers, who have raised half the necessary funds, expect to raise the rest over the next three months. The goal is to open early next year.

“We’ve already been contacted” by several potential investors, said George Weisz, who would be the bank's chairman. “We’re in the homestretch.”

There are no community banks based in Scottsdale, Weisz said. About 68% of Scottsdale’s $19.5 billion deposit market is controlled by large out-of-state bank, based on FDIC data.

“It’s a tremendously underserved market,” Weisz said. “We’ll be the only locally headquartered community bank in one of the fastest-growing areas in the country.”

Scottsdale’s last locally owned bank, Pinnacle Bank, was sold to Arizona Federal Credit Union in November.

Like most community banks, Scottsdale Community will focus on serving small and midsize businesses, especially family-owned businesses.

“Family businesses and offices are not getting the services they need,” Weisz said. “For them, personal banking relationships are key. Every client will have my phone number and the number of our CEO."

Scottsdale Community’s board includes two family business experts, Weisz added.

Another Scottsdale-based group is planning Verdigris Bank, which would be a special-purpose institution focused on serving the underbanked.

For Weisz, a co-owner of two minor league baseball teams, Scottsdale Community is his first effort at organizing a community bank. His father, Bill Weisz, a former chairman of Motorola, was a longtime director at Harris Bank in Chicago.

“There was a lot of bank talk at our dinner table,” Weisz said. “I still keep a Harris lion bank on my desk to remind me of his legacy."

“We are proud [Scottsdale Community has] chosen to invest their capital in the future of Scottsdale,” Mayor Jim Lane said in a Thursday press release. “It is a compliment to our marketplace.”

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