New Wells Fargo president of Northern Nevada bullish on region’s banking climate
Since migrating from the cornfields of central Iowa to the mountains of Northern Nevada in August, Wells Fargo Nevada Northern Region Bank President Yanus Nelson has been wide-eyed — and not just at the striking scenery.
For Nelson, he’s been equally amazed at the current and projected economic growth in the region, as well as the diverse business community. After all, in 2017 alone, 29 companies — from logistics to technology to manufacturing — moved into the area, bringing more than 3,000 jobs, according to the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
“Being in a growth market is always a big plus,” said Nelson, who has 25 years of financial services industry experience, the last 15 with Wells Fargo. “Being new to Northern Nevada, just hearing all the growth that’s happened over the last seven years, and what they’re projecting to continue to grow … obviously, in the banking industry, that’s music to our ears.”
Indeed, the continuous economic uptick, like the clacking of a roller coaster that only goes up, is a sound bankers in Northern Nevada — and everywhere — like to hear.
“It’s growing into a diverse economy,” Nelson said. “It’s not relying on only gaming. It’s not heavily relying on the gaming/entertainment industry, which is very susceptible to quick changes in the economy.
“Now, the diversity of jobs here … Switch. Tesla. That brings a strong solid base and consistent base of employment, which is what you want. Obviously for banks, that’s attractive. The credit quality is going to be higher when you don’t have that risk of the economy going up and down.”
Small business boost
What’s more, lending opportunities for banks will continue to grow throughout Northern Nevada as businesses — especially small businesses — consistently drop anchor in the region.
Notably, there were 49 new companies that launched in Northern Nevada in 2017, according to EDAWN. Zooming out, since the recession there has been roughly 100,000 jobs created statewide by small businesses.
“Small businesses are critical to the growth of any economy,” Nelson said. “So in Northern Nevada, that’s good for all banks. We have money to lend, so that will help fund some growth.”
While there has been an influx of small business owners seeking loans, not enough are taking advantage of the bank industry’s assistance, Nelson said. Instead, many are leveraging their personal finances or their home equity line of credit in an effort to fund their business.
Truth is, many small business owners don’t know about the opportunities that banks have to help them with financing, he added.
“I think part of it is educating the small businesses,” Nelson said. “Whether it’s the funding, processing payments, helping them with their cash flows … there are resources out there for them, but they don’t know where to go.”
Nelson said Wells Fargo, for example, could help clients connect with the University of Nevada, Reno’s Small Business Development Center. The statewide business outreach program provides expertise and training in the starting, growth and development of a business.
“They can go down there and learn how to put together a business plan,” Nelson said. “When clients come to us for lending, we’re going to ask them for a business plan.”
With that in mind, Nelson, who leads a team of more than 500 branch team members, said a top priority for Wells Fargo Nevada Northern in 2018 is helping its small business customers grow.
“That’s going to be a big opportunity,” he said. “Obviously, there’s going to be new consumer clients coming in, as well. But, I see there’s a great need in helping small business customers.”