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Title: Regional PresidentCompany: U.S. BankEducation: Bachelor’s in business and Master of Business Administration, University of Missouri-Columbia Back to Banking: A Monett native, Fox originally came to Springfield for Boatmen’s Bank, the forerunner of Bank of America, in the late 1980s. Most recently, he was CEO and general manager of private equity firm Quest Capital Alliance LLC. He joined U.S. Bank on Nov. 1 Contact: steven.fox@usbank.com
Title: Regional President
Company: U.S. Bank
Education: Bachelor’s in business and Master of Business Administration, University of Missouri-Columbia
Back to Banking: A Monett native, Fox originally came to Springfield for Boatmen’s Bank, the forerunner of Bank of America, in the late 1980s. Most recently, he was CEO and general manager of private equity firm Quest Capital Alliance LLC. He joined U.S. Bank on Nov. 1
Contact: steven.fox@usbank.com

A Conversation With ... Steven Fox

Posted online
What is your role with U.S. Bank?
I’m the regional president, which encompasses Springfield, Branson and as far away as Rolla and St. James, with 24 locations. We operate as a community bank of U.S. Bank, so commercial reports to me, and the private client group as well as consumer banking for all of those locations.

What is your key objective in your new position?
Clearly, loan growth is a focus right now. That’s a tough challenge because of the economic climate that we’re in, but we are seeing loan growth across the board, and we’re trying, particularly on the commercial side, to hire some additional folks to gain a larger presence in the market. ... The retail side of the bank, right now, is really strong, and we’re seeing a tremendous influx of deposits into the bank. Second-quarter U.S. Bank loans were $200 billion, and in the third quarter, they were $205 billion, and deposits went from $215 billion to $223 billion bankwide. So we are seeing loan growth. … Banks are low-risk lenders, so we have to underwrite to pretty stringent standards, but at the same time, we’re out aggressively seeking new loans.

The latest data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. show U.S Bank with local market share of 3.57 percent, with $265.7 million in deposits, ranking it at No. 8. Is there still room to grow in this competitive market, with roughly 40 banks?
I definitely think there are plenty of banks in this market. What intrigued me about this opportunity is that (U.S. Bank is) managed as a community bank, where I have, basically, responsibility for the local operation of the bank. But at the same time, we’ve got the technology and financial resources of the fifth-largest (U.S. commercial) bank in the country behind us. … U.S. Bank has the top market share in the state of Missouri, and Springfield is a market that is important to the bank, and that’s what I was brought in to expand upon.

What industry trends do you anticipate in 2012?
I think we’re going to see continued (low interest) rates. Credit utilization is low right now, so we’re not going to see significant loan demand until the economy starts to uptick. That being said, we’re starting to see some things economically. People are starting to go out and make acquisitions and invest in some capital, so we’re trying to get ahead of the curve and develop some relationships so that when the economy does turn, we’re going to be in a good spot to see significant loan growth.

Quest Capital Alliance was known for investing in companies such as Red Monkey Foods, Marine Electrical and Guildmaster. With all funds invested, what happens next?
As we exit investments, we’re going to make distributions to our investors. Some of the other management committee members have picked up primary contact with those investments. … We typically would have a seat on the board. We had a management committee, so I wasn’t personally on all the boards, but I was on several of them. … I’m still going to be somewhat involved in the transition period.

Is moving from private equity back to banking a big switch?
(Private equity) is a lot like banking, but it’s a different place on the risk curve. With private equity, you’re at the riskier end of the spectrum, but as compensation, you get equity. Banks are at a different place, so they’re more conservative. But it’s still a relationship business, and you’re still trying to deal with successful businesses. … Quest was a great experience. I learned a tremendous amount about the operating side of businesses. One thing I really missed was being on a team and leading a team, which is one thing I enjoy.[[In-content Ad]]

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