A banker looks at Reno business landscape
With local businesses expanding, banks that lend to small and large businesses are also seeing growth.
“I think the exciting thing for us is all our economic indicators are up, the market is showing demand again, which is very exciting,” Bank of America’s Reno Market President Mary Wink said in a phone interview.
“Think about things like home values trending up, inventory on homes is low, small businesses are growing,” Wink added about the business landscape in Reno. “Places like Midtown are booming.”
Bank of America has seen a more than a 40 percent year-over-year increase in small business lending in the area. As of April 2016 they had 200 local employees and 16 financial centers.
“We have had to hire five local small business bankers last year just to have more feet on the ground, more experts,” Wink, who is in her second year as the bank’s market president, said.
The demand for these experts to meet the needs of the community comes partially as a result of northern Nevada’s shift in banking needs.
“Many of the small businesses in the area are seeing growth and expansion and they want that local presence. They want those small business bankers to be side-by-side with them helping them grow their business,” Wink explained. “Our clients are speaking to us loud and clear. They want the expertise. They need the help on the complex issues.”
Looking forward, businesses are focusing on ways to survive and thrive in northern Nevada’s growing and diversifying economy.
“People are trying to take advantage of the things that are happening in our community. So, for example, changing and expanding their business to capture opportunity and opening other locations,” Wink explained.
“As the economy gets better and stronger and more larger businesses move in the area there is a need for the smaller businesses that support the community,” Wink said.
Northern Nevada is not shy to the conversation around retention of current employees as well as making sure people entering the workforce have the skill set to meet the needs of employers.
“I think for most businesses retention of their talent is very high on their radar. For us it certainly is,” Wink said.
Focusing on employee retention as the economic landscape changes begs the question of what employers are doing to help retention.
“It is becoming more important for businesses to invest in their people, their development and their benefits,” Wink explained.
“One of the things we do for small businesses and commercial clients is we offer a lot of programs for them that they can roll out to their associates for retention and benefits and it is becoming much more important as these new opportunities enter into our market,” she added.
There is also the other side of the conversation; the legitimate concern for a skilled workforce to meet the needs of employers. Wink explained, “there are a number of organizations around our community working on developing a skilled workforce.”
Wink also expressed the importance of corporate citizens focusing on initiates that support the workforce, such as community college programs that are being built out specifically to help train people for specific jobs.
While there is still a lot of change in the forecast for northern Nevada and there may still be varying degrees of stability depending on who you are and what you do, overall things are much better.
“We have seen a huge impact from the improvement of the economic climate here in Reno,” Wink said.
Kristina Miranda, who was hired recently as a staff accountant at Clausen & Company, is currently enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno and is earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration.