Celebrating March Madness at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona

While we couldn’t nab Sister Jean for our party, we had plenty of avid basketball fans at our 5th annual March Madness event this year. Three hundred clients and colleagues joined us to spend a fun, basketball-filled day at Combine Performance to kick off the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

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This marked our fourth year celebrating March Madness at Combine Performance, formerly The Golf Tank, a full-service golf company that provides coaching, club fitting and building, fitness, nutrition, mindset and lifestyle. We also rounded up food trucks, including Boca Taco Truck, BuzzNBeez American Poutine, Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers, Frosted Frenzy, Sweet Magnolia and The Maine Lobster Lady for a remarkable spread of delicious lunch and snacks.

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Throughout the event, we raffled off prizes, including $50 gift cards, tickets to Odysea Aquarium, tickets to the ballet and Biltmore Bank swag. Some folks even demonstrated their golfing prowess at Combine Performance’s golf simulator.

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This fun, casual event was a great way to compare brackets, make professional connections and get to know each other in a laid-back environment. Thanks to everyone who participated!

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Great sports teams and successful businesses have something in common — disciplined teamwork helps both rise to the top. Like the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, owning and operating a business has its triumphs and heartbreaks and takes incredible discipline. Thank you to all our clients for allowing us to be part of your teams.

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Corbin Dangerfield Joins Government Guaranteed Lending Department at Grandpoint Bank

corbinWe’re happy to announce that Corbin Dangerfield has joined Grandpoint Bank’s Government Guaranteed Lending Department as a business development officer. Corbin will be responsible for marketing and originating government guaranteed loan products for Grandpoint Bank.

Grandpoint offers a variety of government guaranteed loan products that provide alternatives if a traditional credit product is not well suited for a small or medium-sized business. These include loans through the SBA, USDA and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. These government-backed loans require less cash investment up front and offer longer loan terms than conventional loans.

“Government guaranteed loans can help bridge the gap for businesses that otherwise would not have access to capital,” said Leticia Scearce, Senior Vice President/Government Guaranteed Lending Manager. “Corbin has specific expertise in this type of lending, and we’re happy to have him join our team of professionals.”

Corbin served in the same capacity previously for Meadows Bank in Las Vegas. His experience also includes serving as a vice president and business development officer at Lehman Brothers and as a commercial real estate broker at NAI Commercial Real Estate.

“Many SBA loans are made in support of real estate investments,” said Corbin. “My experience as a real estate broker combined with my expertise in banking and finance is especially helpful to my clients, regardless of the type of government guaranteed loan that suits them best. In my new position, I’m excited to offer clients the full resources and capabilities of Grandpoint’s government guaranteed lending team.”

Another reason Corbin wanted to join Grandpoint’s SBA/Government Guaranteed Lending Department was to be part of a team that can fund qualifying loan applications at the pace business moves.

“I also appreciate that our team understands larger, more complex deals, and that we are able to offer the whole array of Government Guaranteed Lending programs, not just the 7a and 504 loans.”

When he’s not working, Corbin enjoys outdoor recreational activities, especially when it’s with his kids.

We’re glad to have him on board, and we hope Corbin may be of service to your business if you’re considering a government guaranteed loan.

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Our Day at Junior Achievement Stock Market Challenge

Two of our staffers, Todd Leveen and Desirae Outcalt, had the honor of serving on the planning committee for Junior Achievement of Arizona’s recent Stock Market Challenge. Todd, who serves on JA of Arizona’s board of directors, also served as emcee for the Challenge and sponsored the participants from Hamilton High School. Desirae along with Nathaniel Spatz, Lisa Friedman and Jeremy King also volunteered at the Challenge. The Biltmore Bank of Arizona supported the event with a sponsorship.

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Approximately 400 high school students from various schools throughout the state worked in teams to compete. Their objective was to accumulate the highest possible net worth in their simulated investment portfolio. Junior Achievement designed the Stock Market Challenge to teach kids across broad range of income levels “what it’s like to build a portfolio, manage risk, and experience its performance in a compressed period of time.”

Over the course of a morning, students become traders. Every 90 seconds represents a trading day for a total of 60 days of trading. The winning team has the greatest percentage of growth in its portfolio.

During the morning, Nathaniel ran stock tips on the floor, while Todd introduced people, monitored the activities, tallied the scores, interviewed the kids and provided ongoing commentary. The room felt like an actual trading floor, with a constant stream of company news coming at the teams and people yelling trade orders back and forth.

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Real world company names were changed, but the company profiles and corresponding breaking news were intact. A simulator ran a randomized algorithm that processed information inputted and then moved stock prices accordingly. Breaking news and trading volume affected the stock market performance.

JA Stock Market Challenge provides real world investment experience kids don’t often receive in school. Before the challenge day, the students participated in JA Take Stock in Your Future, where they “learned about individual equities, the impact of the economy, geo-political events, and market sentiment.” From this experience, they learned about the fundamentals behind the stock market and the concept of trading to prepare them for the day of the Challenge.

“On the day of the challenge, some of the kids got heavily tied to certain companies, so you could hear groans when bad news got released,” said Todd. “I enjoyed seeing them get emotionally involved and having some tell me, ‘I had no idea….’ I know they were acquiring real life skills they can use forever.”

As part of our sponsorship, we invited some of our clients and friends to partake in the adult Stock Market Challenge. After the event for the high schoolers concluded, the volunteers and other guests got to try their hand managing stock portfolios using the same simulation program. Key sponsors even had their companies included in the stock trade simulation. Desirae, Lisa and Jeremy joined our gang for this portion of the event, and Desirae had recruited sponsors and silent auction items for the adult Challenge.

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Through sponsorships from many committed companies, Junior Achievement of Arizona was able to raise $149,000 for Stock Market Challenge. Low- to moderate-income students rely on the money raised by Junior Achievement to pay for their participation in the contest.

“I’m so proud that we have great support from our company for Junior Achievement,” said Todd. “Our president, Rich Endicott, as well as Darlene Esquerra and everyone else at our parent bank, Grandpoint Bank, have made their enthusiasm for this nonprofit organization very clear.”

Our bank, as well as Grandpoint Bank and its other divisions, has volunteered and sponsored Stock Market Challenge as well as other Junior Achievement financial literacy events like You’re Hired and BizTown.

“The students served by Junior Achievement are the people who will take care of us in the next 15 years,” said Todd. “We’ll be placing our retirement in their hands. Junior Achievement takes away the entitlement and teaches students what they can earn if they work hard.”

To find out more about how you can volunteer with Junior Achievement, visit their website at
jaaz.org.↗ 

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Thanksgiving

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With cooler days and falling leaves, we know another year is soon behind us. But first, we gather to celebrate, count our blessings and reflect. Thanksgiving is unlike any other holiday we celebrate. It’s a day to gather with those we love and the friends we hold dear; a day to share a meal and to share each other’s company.

Whether your Thanksgiving celebration is near or far, large or small, we at Biltmore Bank wish you a wonderful day, filled with cheer and the warmth of the holiday season.

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Biltmore Bank of Arizona bankers make it rain at the 10th Annual Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash

Did you get a chance to have your Biltmore banker wash your car? Last month, Todd Leveen, Nathaniel Spatz, Lisa Friedman, Bryan Ellisor and Desirae Outcalt traded in their business attire for some casual duds and suds.

It was all for a good cause when we volunteered for the second time at the Annual Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSCA). After volunteering, our team presented a $2,500 check to BBBSCA from The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, live on air with KPHO news.

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Now in its tenth year, the event, which ran for five days in October, raised well over $300,000. The funds help BBBSCA take more kids off its waiting list and match them with caring volunteer mentors in the Valley. Over 300 boys and girls are currently waiting to be matched with a big brother or big sister, and some will wait up to three years.

Besides having a great time for a fantastic cause, this event was personal for Desirae Outcalt, Vice President and Relationship Manager at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, who was paired with a “Big Sister” when she was young.

“I grew up very poor with a single mom,” said Desirae. “My Big Sister, Shawn, was an accountant at a car dealership. The two years I spent with her were very educational, and she helped shaped me into who I am today.”

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Desirae and the rest of our staff who participated in the car wash were fortunate to witness the largest personal cash donation ever made at the event. The majority of donations come from businesses, but one individual felt passionate enough about BBBSCA to donate $1,000. In addition, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Donation Center was on site to collect donations of clothing and household items. All donated items are sold through thrift stores, with the proceeds supporting operations at BBBSCA.

Our staff got a big kick out of washing not one but two Ural-4320s, a vehicle originally designed for the Russian Army for transporting cargo, people and trailers on all types of roads and terrain.

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Paul’s Pay It Forward Car Wash is over (until next year), but you can still make a difference for BBBSCA by donating clothes, time and/or money. To learn more, visit bbbsaz.org.

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Grandpoint Bank donates $10,000 to U.S. Vets

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Members of our Grandpoint Bank family, which includes the Biltmore Bank of Arizona, recently toured the Long Beach campus of U.S. Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life by providing housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support. Our visit included the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the organization.

According to U.S. Vets, about 50,000 vets in our nation are homeless – men and women who have served valiantly for our country and now find themselves sleeping on the streets.

“Beyond the essentials, what I saw during our visit is that U.S. Vets is giving veterans back their self-respect,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President & Community Development Office of Grandpoint Bank. “Everyone is treated with kindness by staff members and volunteers, who, in many cases, have had the same experiences as the veterans.”

U.S. Vets is the largest organization of its kind addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the U.S. Their Long Beach facility is located on 25 acres of former Naval housing and offers a variety of permanent and transitional housing – including a building for women veterans with up to two children and housing for homeless vets — dining facilities, community center, clinic, classrooms, recreational facilities and even an urban forest where residents can pick fruits and vegetables.

“Grandpoint Bank’s support of our programs across Southern California makes it possible for us to fill the gaps and really meet the unique needs of each one of the veterans we serve,” said Laney Kapgan, Vice President of Development and Communications for U.S. Vets. “With more service men and women coming home than ever before, this investment will help us continue to expand not only housing but also key employment and mental health programs for our veterans.”

Grandpoint was introduced to U.S. Vets through our Executive Vice President and CCO Mark Phillips, who struck up a conversation with U.S. Vets National Director of Programs, Larry Williams, on an airplane. Mark was so impressed with the program, he referred the information for consideration as a Grandpoint Bank Community Reinvestment Act-qualified donation. The rest, as they say, is history.

You can find more information about U.S. Vets on their website usvetsinc.org.

As we observe Veteran’s Day this year, we’re proud to salute U.S. Vets for helping so many vets and their families, and we thank all the members of our armed services, past and present, for their dedication and selflessness.

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2017 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Annual Conference

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Last month, we immersed ourselves in the 2017 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Annual Conference at the Desert Willow Conference Center. The Alliance is a membership organization founded in 2004 and comprised of 1000 nonprofit organizations and entities that support them, all across Arizona.

The organization aims to strengthen Arizona’s nonprofit community, “while also providing services and programs that directly help individual organizations succeed. By working with government to advocate for nonprofits, providing resources to help nonprofits save money, and creating opportunities for nonprofits to connect and grow, the Alliance strives to promote healthy, vibrant communities.”

At the conference, our staff was on the exhibit floor to answer questions about the services we have tailored to the nonprofit sector. Arizona has the largest nonprofits per capita of any state and we have found many ways to assist them, such as offering a high yield money market account to help nonprofits make more money on their deposits. Our banking relationships with nonprofits, as well as our service on many nonprofit boards, provides us with a sophisticated understanding of the growth, cyclical activity and cash flow issues common to these organizations. That enables us to help them assess their financing needs and to customize solutions.

The Alliance’s annual conference is a fantastic example of a program that helps nonprofit organizations succeed. We were in good company on the exhibit floor, with many other groups providing valuable information. The day also featured enlightening speakers and top-notch educational seminars.

“We were energized by mingling with so many dedicated professionals who are providing valuable resources and services to our communities and to our citizens,” said Desirae Outcalt, vice president and relationship manager at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. “Our commitment to nonprofit organizations goes way past business; it’s about humanity and doing what’s right.”

This year’s keynote speakers were Jeff Moore, chief strategy officer of Independent Sector, who specializes in building partnerships and alliances; and Eva Nico, senior director of nonprofit programs for GuideStar, who advocates for better use of data and transparency by nonprofits.

Breakout educational sessions focused on such topics as board recruitment and management, engaging the community, advocacy, financial management, branding and more.

To learn more about Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, visit arizonanonprofits.site-ym.com.

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CNBC/Survey Monkey Poll Reveals Small Business Vulnerability to Cyberattack

Protection concept. Protect mechanism, system privacy.

“Hackers have breached half of the 28 million  small businesses in the United States, according to the 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity Report,” says a recently-released CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey article about cyber security.

Through a survey of 2,000 small business owners across the nation conducted in April, the CNBC/Survey Monkey team found that only two percent of small business owners surveyed saw cyber security as “the most critical issue they face.”

Many business owners are more concerned about personnel, competition or benefits issues, but the resulting lack of focus on cyber security, combined with an attitude of ‘we’re too small to be targeted,’ may make these businesses more vulnerable to cyberattack, the article stated.

The article also cited Hemu Nigam, founder of SSP Blue, an internet security consulting business, and the former vice president of internet enforcement at the Motion Picture Association of America, who said, “Hackers love small businesses [because] they don’t have the resources to put in high-end cybersecurity protection and they may not be consciously aware they are a target.”

The cost of not having a high-end cybersecurity protection system can be high as well. For a retailer, a credit card data breach can range from “$200 per transaction to $395 per transaction” to respond adequately to the breach, according to the report.

Cyberattacks against businesses can come in many forms (we suggest reading through our blog archives to learn more about these types of attacks and defensive steps to take). The CNBC/SurveyMonkey article’s authors recommend the following precautionary measures:

  • Use large service providers like WordPress and Gmail for your company’s website and email since they already have complex protection systems built in.
  • Refrain from checking personal accounts from a company computer.
  • Use a cloud-based service rather than keeping your information local.

For more cybersecurity tips, please check out our blog post “Nine Tips for Better Cybersecurity” and “Cybersecurity Best Practices” on our website.

More information about the CNBC/Survey Monkey Small Business Survey can be found at the CNBC web page on the tech/cybersecurity page.

(Promoting cybersecurity best practices, Regents Bank recommends against clicking links provided by second-hand parties and chooses instead to provide written directions about how to find material we reference on our blog.)

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Jewish Tuition Organization: Funding Need-Based Scholarships for Private Jewish Day School Students

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Supporting our community is a top priority for The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. One way we do so is by contributing to The Jewish Tuition Organization (JTO). Our own Senior Vice President Todd Leveen was recently interviewed by Jewish News about the JTO and Biltmore Bank’s support of the organization. In our efforts to help both local businesses and the wonderful nonprofit organizations in our community, we wanted to provide you with more information about how JTO works and how student tuition organizations benefit kids all over our state.

As a registered student tuition organization, JTO provides need-based financial assistance to students wishing to attend a private Jewish day school.

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Todd Leveen

The program covers all our area’s Jewish schools, including:

  • Desert Jewish Academy
  • Pardes Jewish Day School
  • Phoenix Hebrew Academy
  • Shearim Torah High School for Girls
  • Torah Day School of Phoenix
  • Yeshiva High School of Arizona

Students do not have to be Jewish to attend the day schools, and all children in-need are eligible to receive financial assistance from JTO.

Arizona’s student tuition organizations, including JTO, were established to provide financial assistance to families that wish to send their child or children to private school and to provide tax credits through Arizona’s Private School Tuition Tax Credit Program for individuals and corporations contributing to scholarship funds.

The Arizona Department of Revenue has millions of dollars remaining before it reaches its cap for the 2017 corporate private school tax credit. JTO needs local corporations to help out.

“If you own or work for a company that files taxes as a C-Corp or S-Corp, you can make the difference,” said JTO Executive Director Linda Zell. “We really don’t know how long the money will be available, so there is a sense of urgency,” explained Zell.

The Arizona tax credit is dollar-for-dollar, with no maximum cap, however, S Corps must contribute a minimum of $5,000 to qualify for the credit. JTO makes the donation process as easy as possible, handling most of the administration with the Arizona Department of Revenue for its corporate donors.

“This is a benefit for the company, but it’s also a moral responsibility for any institution, whether it be commercial banking or otherwise, to give back to their community,” Todd said.

More than 90 percent of funds raised by JTO are contributed toward scholarships. “The JTO’s goal is to provide any child who wants to attend a Jewish day school the ability to attend one,” says Linda. “We don’t want to turn away any child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay for a Jewish education.”

To take advantage of the corporate tax credit and help children in the community attend Jewish day schools, contact the JTO office at 480.634.4926.

More information about student tuition organizations and a list of all Arizona private schools registered with the program, visit the State of Arizona’s Department of Revenue website.

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Building a Digital Defense Against Tech Support Fraud

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On July 18, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Portland released the following news, warning people against tech support fraud. In our continuing efforts to educate our clients about cyber security best practices, we wanted to share the FBI’s warning and advice, in its entirety, here on our blog site. Information about fraud and security best practices can be found on the Biltmore Bank of Arizona website.

In 2016, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received almost 11,000 reports of tech support fraud incidents. In those cases, victims reported losses of more than $7.8 million.

So what is tech support fraud? Imagine you receive a call from someone who says he is with a computer software or security company. Maybe he says he is with a cable or Internet provider. The caller tells you that your software is out of date, and you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Or, he says your equipment is malfunctioning, and he can fix it remotely — saving you a service call. All you have to do is to provide the caller with remote access to your computer or device. No idea what he’s talking about? No worries — he will be happy to walk you through all the technical details.

In another variation of the fraud, the bad guy convinces you that you overpaid for a recent service. He would be happy to refund the overage if you would just give him a few details — such as your bank account number — so he can arrange the refund.

In reality, he is either just trying to get into your account to clean it out — or, he is working for long-term access to launch other frauds. In this second example, he transfers money back and forth between your own checking, savings and retirement accounts to make it appear as though there is a refund when in fact there is none. Eventually, he tells you that he refunded too much and asks you to wire money back to the fraudulent company. Victims often don’t figure this out for quite a while as the losses pile up.

So how do you protect yourself?

  • Never give a stranger remote access to your computer or other electronics.
  • If something seems a bit odd, it probably is. Hang up and look up a phone number for that company or provider using a publicly-available resource.
  • Don’t give an unsolicited caller your bank account number or other personal information that he could use to access your accounts.
  • Don’t let someone pressure you into buying a computer security product or subscription. Oftentimes, there are reputable, free products that will do that work for you. Seek out help from someone you trust to ensure that if you do pay for something — it is worth the cost.

If you have been victimized by this scam or any other online scam, report your suspicious contacts to the FBI. You can file an online report at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center or call your FBI local office.

This article can be found on the FBI’s Portland field office website.

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