As an active member in the banking community, we are constantly talking with our clients about the latest and greatest in the financial industry. Today, we are kicking off our client story series with Roger Shumway, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Bank of Utah. Their values have always aligned well with ours here at MountainSeed, resulting in a very strong partnership. Roger is an active member in his community and has a pivotal role at the Bank of Utah. So without further ado, here’s his story:
Can you give me a little bit of background on Bank of Utah?
Bank of Utah is a privately owned community bank that started about 58 years ago in Ogden, Utah. Three generations work at our bank and the fourth generation is actually on-site with about 75-80% ownership. It’s a very unique structure for a residential and commercial real estate bank. We also just surpassed the $1 billion dollar mark!
Wow – that’s huge. Congratulations! What do you think sets you apart in your community?
We are a community bank with a residential mortgage arm that sells about 99% of our long-term mortgages. We also have a non-mortgage arm for stability called our trust division. We have two interesting products on the corporate trust side. One of these is our trustee accounts for aircrafts. The other product is life settlement trustee accounts.
Trustee accounts for aircrafts:
Most are probably wondering, “what on earth is that?” Well, come to find out, certain people like basketball players, singers, corporate executives, golfers, etc… who own aircrafts may not want everyone to know they own aircrafts – so they open a trust. In the last five years alone we have intrusted around 2,000 aircrafts. Many major airlines also utilize these trusts as well, for example when Alaska Air acquired Virgin America on December 14, 2016, Alaska Air leveraged up their trustee and we were their partner through all of those transactions.
Life settlement trusts:
This is where wealthy individuals who own five to ten million in life insurance policies decide to retire at around 60 and sell their life insurance policy at a discount. They then live on this money from selling the policy and we are the trustees. When the retired person passes away, we pay that person who bought the original policy and they might make a profit.
Really interesting – what about your role there. How did you get started?
I came to Bank of Utah in April 2001. I previously worked at Zions First National Bank, First Security Bank, and Wells Fargo. I’m one of the three Executive Vice Presidents and my role as Chief Credit Officer is to work with all departments to ensure that our credit quality stays as pristine as possible.
I’m lucky because I get to serve on the Utah State of Governors which helps our financial commissioner with banks. I also serve on the RMA National Community Bank Council, ABA Commercial Real Estate Steering Committee as Vice Chairman, and I am the treasure of the Local Boy Scout Council. But the best part is I have a wonderful wife, ten grandkids, and one on the way — we’re just as excited for this one as the very first one! Three grandkids live on the East coast and the rest are local. I’m so glad to finally have more kids locally than we do in other states. Family is the most important to me.
We couldn’t agree more. What are the greatest challenges you face day to day as Chief Credit Officer?
The top two greatest challenges in my position are plain and simple – staying ahead of the game and being consistent.
What is Bank of Utah’s role in the community?
At our past economic meeting, we met with the local chamber and local rotary club. We strongly encourage all 13 branches to be a part of the community. Our employees are involved in various organization such as the Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, local school districts, non-profit hospitals, and a few are governors in different chambers of commerce. Staying involved in the community is essential to our business and culture.
What do you think are the biggest hurdles and challenges facing banks today when it comes to commercial and residential appraisal management?
Currently, I think it’s really challenging to understand where cap rates should be. They have been so good for so long, that loan officers are having a hard time seeing red flags and/or don’t have the experience to know where a red flag may be. As interest rates and cap rates increase, where will you be? When there is so much money available in the marketplace for strong income producing properties that keep the values high, it’s hard to know, and we work daily at it, when is enough construction.
What made you start working with an appraisal management company and why did you choose MountainSeed to fit the need?
Our in-house appraisal person was one of the senior members of the ownership family and he was ready to move on. We didn’t have an in-house replacement and we were fortunate enough to be referred to MountainSeed at that critical time. When we met the team in-person, we quickly noticed their values were similar to ours. We really appreciated that MountainSeed had dedicated people on our account and the appraisal process flow made sense for our bank. To be able to see where our appraisals are in the online process is priceless to our loan officers. If we ever have any concerns they are always positive, open, responsive, and knowledgeable —just an utter delight to work with.
“We met them in-person to make sure our structures and values were the same because we saw this transition as a true partnership. We have not been disappointed.”
Do you have any fun hobbies or interests that you pursue in your spare time?
My wife is involved with a charity here in town called Festival of Trees and they raise around 2.5 million in four days around Christmas time. 100% of the proceeds go to the children at the Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah.
About 15 years ago she also found an opportunity to fund young ladies in Ethiopia looking to gain a decent education. Unfortunately, these women typically wouldn’t have this type of opportunity and sadly that can result in them being sold into slavery. Since this has been 15 years in process, she now has a few students in college now and goes over to see them every so often. We’ve found that teaching one woman is a powerful act because she then takes her knowledge back home and teaches her entire family what she’s learned – this can lift the whole family structure. It’s extremely humbling and we’re so grateful to be involved.
That is truly an incredible story – so powerful.
To wrap it up, what are you and your team most excited about for 2017?
Honestly, we’re excited because we’re now big enough to engage in larger deals yet still nimble enough to get in and get things done. We each answer our own phones and meet our own customers, no matter where they are located. We will all make mistakes, but it’s how we correct these mistakes that truly sets us apart. We really try to add value to each of our customers. What we can do, we absolutely will do. What we commit to completing, will absolutely do. No surprises, just excellent customer service.