Focus on the Family

Family businesses are crucial to the American economy.  There are almost 5.5 million family-owned businesses in the U.S.. Those operated by at least two principals related by blood or marriage—employ 60 percent of the nation’s workforce. As a result, they generate 78 percent of all new jobs in this country. That’s according to SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), and the Family Owned Business Institute at Michigan’s Grand Valley State University.

All those businesses need banking services. Financial institutions that understands the needs of those who run companies where their relatives are also their business partners.

For the past four years, Family Business Services has been a dedicated department within Zions Bancorporation, the parent company of National Bank of Arizona.

“Like the other divisions of Zions, NB|AZ has a long rich history of working with family-owned businesses,” says John D. Lewis, Senior Vice President, Business Banking. “NB|AZ understands the importance of helping those businesses grow, succeed and then prepare for transition to the next generation. The bank is focused on helping businesses as they go through the various stages of the business life cycle.”

NB|AZ can introduce businesses owners to a network of qualified individuals inside and outside the bank to help their business thrive. “Through experience with other businesses, NB|AZ bankers can provide businesses with methods for their industry or their stage in the business life cycle.”, according to Lewis.

NB|AZ publishes a family business newsletter three times a year highlighting NB|AZ family businesses. The newsletter also provides information about topics such as succession planning, culture within businesses and managing change.

The most recent newsletter profiles Olsen’s Grain, a family-owned business in Chino Valley, Arizona. Olsen’s Grain sells food for livestock and pets. They have been in business since 1979. The company is owned and run by Mike and Sherrill Olsen, and their close family. As the business evolves, the Olsens are developing a succession plan and determining who will lead the company’s success and future.

Other articles address building a foundation for multigenerational success, and how generational differences affect a family business.

“Zions Bancorporation has held family business conferences where family businesses can connect and learn from each other”, says Lewis. NB|AZ also works with Family Business Magazine, an exceptional resource for businesses.

“At the end of the day, we are passionate about family businesses because we know how important these businesses are to the economy of the communities that we serve,” Lewis says. “Family businesses are an important part of our client base and we have a desire to help them succeed.”


Story: Debra Gelbart

Photo: Mark Lipczynski

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