George Weisz, president of Weisz Ventures, has held many diverse titles throughout his career and community involvement, including Jewish community causes and serving on Jewish community boards.
Now, in his newest role as chairman of the board of directors of the Scottsdale Community Bank, he is busy making his longtime vision become a reality.
In April of 2017, the Scottsdale Community Bank became the first of three new community banks in the Phoenix area to be approved for “in organization.”
The approval from the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions allowed SCB’s board to organize and begin raising $16 million in capital by selling shares.
“A minimum investment is relatively low at $10,000, as described in the offering circular,” said Weisz, who — along with the board and newly hired CEO and president Neill LeCorgne — is busy meeting with potential investors and industry colleagues.
“We are working toward filing a formal charter application with the federal and state authorities in the next 30 days,” says an excited Weisz.
The other community bank more recently granted “in organization” is Scottsdale-based bank Gainey Business Bancorp. The proposed Discovery Business Bank, a Chandler group, has filed its “in organization” application.
“Based on our timeline, “ said Weisz, referring to being the first community bank to be recognized by the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, “we expect to be the first community bank established in Arizona in 10 years.”
LeCorgne, who has more than 34 years experience in the financial industry, is currently moving from Florida and is now a senior consultant for one of the top financial technology firms in the nation.
In addition to LeCorgne, they’ve also hired a designated CFO and designated COO. An exact location for the bank will be determined upon the final approval.
Two of the SCB’s founding investors are familiar names in the Jewish community.
“We are proud to have Frank Jacobson, the retired vice president of philanthropic services of Jewish Family & Children’s Service, and Leslie Dashew, one of the nation’s experts on family businesses and family wealth, who has authored four books on the subject. Both are residents of Scottsdale,” said Weisz. “There’s plenty of business for the few community banks we have in our state — a state that’s growing by leaps and bounds.” Weisz also pointed to what he says is a resurgence of community banks nationwide.
Weisz’s vast professional experience has prepared him for his leadership of the new bank, including 31 years in public service, his ventures as co-owner of two minor league baseball teams and his partnership in Majerle’s Sports Grill. Not to mention that his father was on the board of directors of the Harris Bank in Chicago, now BMO Harris.
Scottsdale’s thriving economy was also a factor for Weisz and his co-founders to move forward after more than seven years of planning and waiting for the right time.
“We have waited several years and our research shows clearly that now is the right time to open a community bank,” Weisz said. “There are now over 18,000 businesses in Scottsdale within our market area, basically in the central core of Scottsdale, that meet our loan and business relationship criteria.”
Weisz explained that the model of his community bank is not to gather checking and savings accounts, nor target what is called retail banking.
“Our model is to provide loans to small and medium sized businesses which are sorely underserved in our market,” he said. “We will be combining true relationship banking with the latest and greatest fintech technology and we will make house calls.” Fintech is a portmanteau of “financial technology” and refers to technological innovations that compete with traditional financial services.
“It’s a win-win concept for both our shareholders and the community.” JN
Kathy Shayna Shocket is a writer and reporter based in Phoenix and Los Angeles, California.