BY REBECCA PALMER
WOODS CROSS – A few years ago as banks failed around the country, retired bank executive Scott Kisting saw an opportunity.
Soon, he would come out of retirement and found AmericanWest bank, which combines the purchase of bad assets with new capital funding to bring services to mid-size businesses.
Kisting’s plan worked because the company has opened branches in places like Utah, Washington and California where local economies remained relatively stable during the recession, he said.
Last week, AmericanWest opened its first branch in south Davis on Highway 89 and 1400 South. The many mid-sized businesses in the area make it an ideal spot, said Branch Manager Steve Byers.
“Whenever a new financial institution comes to town, it is such a wonderful sign that the economy has finally turned a corner,” said Davis Chamber of Commerce President Jim Smith at a ribbon cutting celebration.
One boon to the new branch will be the relationships AmericanWest staffers bring with them. Well-known banking retiree Dave Halford, for example, has already signed on several of his former customers.
Darren Menlove, a managing member with JJ-BAKD real estate, is among them. He had tired of overturn and bureaucracy at his corporate bank.
“This feels like a community bank,” he said.
AmericanWest doesn’t see itself as being in competition with consumer credit unions, but sees local financial powerhouse Zions Bank as a prime competitor, along with national banks. Nevertheless, Kisting is confident his plan will be successful.
“I can’t think of a better place to start than someplace called Bountiful,” he said.