Finance quarterly:

Bank of Nevada boss optimistic for future of region

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Bruce Hendricks, CEO of Bank of Nevada

Last year was a good year for Bank of Nevada.

The bank was named “Financial Firm of the Year” by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and was the leading Small Business Administration lender in Nevada for real estate and equipment loans.

Bruce Hendricks, Bank of Nevada’s CEO, had an inkling his bank was in for good things after seeing positive signs the year before.

“I categorize 2011 as our turnaround year and 2012 was a year of slow, steady progress,” he said.

Hendricks expects more of the same in the coming years — not just for his bank but for all of Southern Nevada.

“It’s a good time to be optimistic,” Hendricks said.

What are your expectations for 2013?

We’re going to see a continuation of the slow recovery. Real estate values are starting to stabilize. We’ll continue to see slow growth.

There is still money on the sidelines. There are a lot of people waiting to see when the opportunity will come to get back into the market. They’re thinking, “When is the opportune time to buy a building for our business?” or “When is a good time to expand our business?”

In 2013, we’re telling our clients that now we have the worst behind us and can expect continued growth and progress.

What are your expectations for the Southern Nevada economy as it relates to banking?

In 2012, for those still in the market, you saw continued improvement in profitability and improving problem loans and balance sheets.

We’ve seen a number of banks decline in the market due to an adverse economy. To the banks that have emerged, I think there will be continued opportunities for those who are engaged.

We at Bank of Nevada stuck to our core mission, and we took some steps early on in 2007 and 2008 to minimize our exposure to high-risk areas, such as land transactions. That accrued to our favor.

As a result, we’ve positioned the bank with our capital and core organic growth by sticking to this market and our core strategies.

The big key has been our ability to attract and retain experienced bankers who understand this market and have worked here for many years. They understand the types of business that we’re going after. We’re a core business bank, and we’ll stick to that strategy.

You’ve been here since 1969. Have you seen anything before that can compare with the recent economic roller coaster we have experienced?

What we’ve gone through in the last four years, we haven’t experienced that since the (Great) Depression. It has been tough.

Will Las Vegas see the highs it experienced in the early 2000s again?

To say we’ll have the highs of 2006 and 2007 again, I say, “Never say never.”

I certainly think there will be plenty of opportunity in 2013. You’ll see Southern Nevada rebound, but it won’t be as fast as some of us want it to be.

I think the town has done a good job at reinventing itself through the years and will continue to do so.

Tags: Business