Back in 2004 the groundwork began on organizing the first state-chartered bank in Pinal County in at least 20 years.
After clearing regulatory hurdles and raising enough cash, Gold Canyon Bank opened its doors a few weeks ago at Jasper and south Kings Ranch Road and has attracted business and residential customers from the surrounding area.
The management team consists of veteran Valley bankers Daniel Govinsky as chief executive and Michael Day as executive vice president and chief financial officer.
“The opportunity to be part of the first community bank in Gold Canyon is exhilarating,” Govinsky said. “Most of my 30-plus years in banking have been in community banking — providing products and services designed to meet the specific needs of the community.”
According to the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, the last state-chartered bank in Pinal County was Sunstate Bank, chartered in 1984.
Before Gold Canyon Bank, the closest community banks to Apache Junction and Gold Canyon were in Mesa, Tempe and Chandler, Day said.
“There’s a lot of growth that’s going to happen in this area,” he said. “There’s always going to be interest in growing markets. If you look at Scottsdale 20 to 30 years ago, that was a small community and yet you go there now and every bank that you can think of has locations there, as well as some that are headquartered there.”
Wells Fargo has an office in the Gold Canyon area, and Chase plans to open a branch there, but those are nationally chartered banks, Day said.
Starting a state-chartered community bank from scratch is a lengthy process, he said.
“You have to get the approval of your chartering agency, which in our case is the Department of Financial Institutions, and then you also have to get Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance,” he said. “We went with a Federal Reserve membership, so we also had to have Federal Reserve approval.”
In addition, the Arizona Banking Department requires a minimum of $6 million to open a bank in this state, Day said.
“It’s just a timeconsuming process,” he said. “There are banks out there that have taken three to four years, and the quickest one I’ve seen is probably about a year and a half to two years. So we’re actually doing fairly well.”
The bank had to have a physical address before receiving regulatory approval, and that was difficult because there wasn’t a lot of commercial development in Gold Canyon two years ago, Day said.
“We lucked out, we found a site that was being built and secured lease terms there, and that’s where we based our application,” he said.
“We will be building a bank-specific building sometime in the future. The facility that we’re in is only a temporary facility. We don’t have a drive-through and safety-deposit boxes here, but the permanent facility would.”
The bank doesn’t look like a typical bank inside, and that adds to its community bank feel, Day said.
“It’s a sit-down facility; there is no teller line,” he said. “That kind of goes along with our thought process of serving the customers and being more personal.”
Gold Canyon Bank’s goal isn’t to grow as rapidly as possible but to serve the surrounding community and make sure there is a visible difference between it and the larger banks, Day said.
“We want to grow smart,” he said, adding “we’re not putting any limitations on ourselves either.”