Another Midwestern banking company is targeting Phoenix to help fuel its growth and, like other recent arrivals in the area, intends to court the wealthy.
The $1.75 billion-asset Enterprise Financial Services Corp. in St. Louis said last week that it plans to open a subsidiary bank in Arizona's capital city by mid-2008.
The start-up would be called Enterprise Bank and Trust, the same name as the company's bank subsidiary in Missouri.
The strategy also would be the same: to go after small-business customers and offer wealth management services to business owners and wealthy retirees.
"Arizona — and Phoenix in particular — is one of the fastest-growing markets in America," said Kevin C. Eichner, Enterprise Financial's president and chief executive officer. "When you have a large number of privately held businesses combined with a large number of households with investable assets greater than a million, that's the market for us."
Mr. Eichner conceded that the Arizona market is fiercely competitive but said Enterprise Financial has found the local talent it needs to take market share from others.
It has hired Jack Barry to be the start-up's CEO. Mr. Barry formerly was an executive vice president at M&I Bank in Phoenix, a subsidiary of the $58.3 billion-asset Marshall & Ilsley Corp. of Milwaukee.
Though Enterprise Financial does not expect to have its bank operating until next year, it intends to open a loan production office in Phoenix within a month, to be led by Mr. Barry.
The company would contribute 80% of the $12 million in capital needed for the start-up and raise the other 20% from its new management team in Arizona and from investors there.
It projects that the Arizona operation will dilute 2008 earnings per share by up to 8 cents, be neutral in 2009, and accretive in 2010.
Brent Christ, an analyst at Fox-Pitt, Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller, said Phoenix is far from saturated and room exists for more community banks. However, the slowdown in home building has had a ripple effect in Phoenix's overall economy — as in many markets nationwide — and start-ups and bigger banks alike there may find it tougher going for a while.
More and more Midwestern banking companies, including the $4.2 billion-asset Johnson Financial Group in Racine, Wis., have been bulking up in Arizona to take advantage of its growth, particularly in the two largest urban markets, Phoenix and Tucson, which have seen an influx of wealthy retirees.
The state is projected to have the second-highest population growth rate (16.1%) from 2006 to 2011, behind Nevada's, according to data from SNL Financial LC. Arizona also is projected to have the second-highest average household income growth rate (21.3%) during the period.
Several other business bank start-ups in Scottsdale, an affluent Phoenix suburb, have created special services for the wealthy. For example, the $28 million-asset Goldwater Bank, which opened in April, has an in-house concierge who can do everything from finding a personal shopper to booking a private jet.
John Matheny, the director of sales and marketing for the bank consulting firm Brintech Inc., a subsidiary of United Community Banks Inc. in Blairsville, Ga., said it makes sense for companies to open banks in Arizona that offer wealth management. "Arizona has become a pretty upscale retirement area," Mr. Matheny said.