Regional bank announces new leadership for Coachella Valley market
July 14, 2020 – FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” announced that Jake Wuest has been appointed the California Market President. In this role, Wuest will oversee FirstBank’s California branches, all of which are located in the Palm Desert area.
Having been with FirstBank since 2007, Wuest spent the first nine years of his career managing FirstBank branches and customer relationships in Colorado. For the past four years, Wuest helped lead the bank’s Business Lending growth efforts. With over 110 branch locations across Colorado, Arizona, and California, Wuest will now focus on growing FirstBank’s business and brand across the Coachella Valley.
“Jake has proven himself as a leader throughout his entire career at FirstBank,” said Jim Reuter, CEO of FirstBank. “We are pleased to have him in this new role to amplify our efforts in California. He has the experience and integrity to lead our employees and help our customers through any financial challenge, such as the uncertain times we currently face.”
Earlier this year, FirstBank announced a comprehensive effort to help those impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, including the launch of its customer assistance program and increased compensation for on-site employees. Wuest helped to lead the rollout of these initiatives through FirstBank’s California branches.
“It’s always been FirstBank’s main priority to look after our customers, communities, and employees, and I’m thrilled to use my new role to progress this mission through our California branches,” said Jake Wuest. “Individuals and business owners in the Coachella Valley should know that FirstBank representatives are always ready and available to help with any financial needs. I look forward to growing with the community, and I’m grateful to call it home.”
Wuest graduated from Gonzaga University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, which included a dual concentration in finance and entrepreneurial leadership, along with a Certificate of Comprehensive Leadership. He attended Graduate Banking School at the University of Wisconsin. Before moving to California, Wuest served on the Board of Directors for Boy Scouts of America – Denver Area Council and Father Woody’s Haven of Hope, a shelter for the homeless.
Falcon Wealth Planning To Celebrate 7 Year Anniversary With Ribbon Cutting Ceremony At Their New Location
The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) is excited to announce their newest member, Falcon Wealth Planning, Inc. With that announcement comes a celebration, as the IERCC will be helping Falcon Wealth Planning celebrate their 7-year anniversary with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the grand opening of their new building on April 19, 2022.
For this special event, guests will be able to enjoy a meet and greet with Falcon Wealth Planning’s executive staff, high-quality networking, food, and drink, and most of all a great time. The ceremony will take place between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and include guest speakers from Gabriel Shahin, Principal at Falcon Wealth Planning, Inc., and Edward Ornelas, Jr., President, and CEO of Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Falcon Wealth Planning focuses heavily on tax planning and works with Certified Public Accountants so that you can breeze through tax season and plan today, avoiding stress during your retirement. With over 30 years of experience, they dedicate their services to preparing creative solutions tailored specifically to you.
The IERCC’s mission is to support and contribute to the interests of commerce and economic prosperity throughout Riverside County and San Bernardino County. They are a progressive, non-profit business organization striving to bring true value to their members, investors, sponsors, and community.
Together, they will be celebrating the grand opening of Falcon Wealth Planning’s new building located at 3400 Inland Empire Boulevard In Ontario, California, on April 19, 2022, starting at 4:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are free. It is highly recommended to register early, which you can do so by clicking here!
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the IERCC at email@example.com.
Q&A Session with Black Cooperative Investment Fund Executive Director—Kaine Nicholas
Q&A with Kaine Nicholas, Executive Director of Black Cooperative Investment Fund
By Josaline Cuesta, Small Business Majority, Senior California Program Manager, and IEBJ Contributor
Why is financial literacy important for small business owners? What are the pillars of financial literacy?
Financial literacy is the comfort level one may have with topics related to money and its management. Financial literacy is critical to success, and it’s where everything begins for small business owners.
At the beginning of a business venture, an entrepreneur can be cash-challenged and relatively inexperienced in practical business versus theory. It is important that while learning the business terrain, entrepreneurs have at the very least, a baseline of financial literacy to question documents and do calculations or have support to negotiate effective business terms. Any terms that are negotiated at the beginning of a venture can significantly affect the projections or the valuation of a business. These effects can vary widely, depending on the comfort level of financial literacy.
The pillars of financial literacy are banking, budgeting, saving, credit, debt, and investing. What matters most to small business owners is budgeting, banking, and credit, and we recommend focusing on that order for small business owners. Understanding the numbers, having the assets with banking partners that can offer solutions, and building business and personal credit are all imperative to small business owners. BCIF and its trusted partner, AmPac Business Capital can help everyone gain a firm awareness of these pillars.
What’s needed to create a strong financial plan?
What is needed to make a strong financial plan is the actions that happen alongside writing the actual financial plan. While one may be uncertain of the “hockey stick” or optimistic revenue, what people can control is the cost. Know those costs and how they change in a good, better, or best scenario to keep you prepared.
No one likes surprises. There is security and comfort in knowing that costs are consistent and predictable. Spend time conducting the research and use due diligence so that you and the financial partners understand the financial plan and financial statements.
What’s in a business plan, and why is having one essential for a small business owner?
A business plan is a document that, at its most basic level, can help small business owners navigate the who, what, where, why, and how to generate income with a product or service. The business plan tells the reader that this “document” is your prototype on paper. The business plan also helps readers understand the basic valuation of your business.
If your business plan is on paper, does it articulate the vision, or is it a requirement for a loan program? The business plan is important because it represents as the creator of the business. Thinking business out on paper can reduce mistakes in real-world execution.
What’s the best way to document and share major changes to a business plan with your financial advisor and employees, such as becoming a corporation or expanding to another state?
Ensure the establishment of company meetings and hold them routinely, preferably with quarterly updates. This allows stakeholders to receive firm-wide public information and establishes communication between leadership, management, and employees.
What are some tips for thinking strategically about cash flow?
One tip is to understand what is in the pipeline and/or accounts receivables and monitor subscriber trends to your products or solutions. When I ask business owners how their business is doing, they usually respond with, “it’s going well.” And I always ask myself, what does that really mean, and is the owner aware of the items that support healthy cash flow?
Is a personal credit score relevant to small business success? What defines a “good credit score” and how can you maintain one?
Personal credit is relevant to businesses at the earlier stages of a business. If used correctly, one should leverage good credit and create business credit as soon as possible. Personal credit and business credit are created differently and operate differently. That difference can be critical to accessing capital. Unfortunately, a “good credit score” is not universal. We recommend owners investigate the potential creditor by asking what numerical score and credit history on the credit report will produce a favorable outcome. A credit score and credit report are two components that contribute to a sizable credit decision. With that information, the small business owners have a credit “road map.” What is most important is that the business owner is proactive in the credit conversation. One can maintain and learn more with one of BCIF’s trusted partners, AmPac Business Capital.
What are the top three easy-to-navigate business loans for a startup business? Do the types of loans that are needed change in your 2nd or 3rd year of business?
The top and the easiest loan is a zero-interest loan based on an alternative way of evaluating personal credit and traditional risk models. If one can find a small business loan that targets a certain demographic or type of business, that should be extremely helpful. Third, look for a small business loan that can be forgiven.
The types of loans that could change in your second or third year of business can be tricky. Business success and loan/funding gaps require careful consideration, but most important, predictability.
How will I know that a financial literacy resource is proven and credible?
Financial literacy is a journey. One way to affirm credibility is to compare it to your financial situation. Always have a backup resource for validation.
How can the average entrepreneur improve their financial literacy?
This is an important and critical question that I will answer in an alternative, more direct way. I strongly recommend these three words as ways to improve personal and business financial literacy:
Start with opening your mail and being curious about the words that you do not understand in your statements. Call the service number and ask the person to explain what these words mean regarding your account. It sounds simple, but it truly is a free lesson that benefits your personal or professional situation. The information is memorable because the asker is learning even when configuring the question. (Do not forget your tax person or accountant. They are your resources).
Humility helps your behavior when you ask a question, and you partially know the answer, but you ask questions to attain mastery.
Lastly, you must be disciplined and determined when you call the service line or account representative when you do not fully understand a financial term. Do not feel like you are wasting their time asking basic questions. If they have chosen to do business, service your needs, or hold your money, you are only using your mutual rights within the relationship.
What is the best way to stay abreast of COVID relief funds and resources in the Inland Empire area?
Contact the Black Cooperative Investment Fund (BCIF) at www.bcifund.org, 310-904-6336, reach out to our partner, AmPac Business Capital at www.ampac.com, or visit Venturize: https://venturize.org/—Small Business Majority’s free online resource hub for small business owners who need help accessing tools and resources to grow their businesses.
Northwestern Mutual Grows Southern California Presence
Company opens new office in Ontario, California
Northwestern Mutual, a financial security company focused on comprehensive financial planning through both insurance and investments, is announcing the opening of a new office in Ontario, California, at 3633 Inland Empire Blvd, Suite 790.
“This expansion gives us the opportunity to build meaningful new relationships, offer career opportunities and meet a need for financial services in an underserved community,” said Matt Plocher, managing partner, Northwestern Mutual. “We’re looking forward to providing unmatched financial guidance to our clients in Ontario and the surrounding communities and helping them accomplish their financial goals.”
The new office, led by Managing Director Amber Romo, was developed through a collaboration with the Northwestern Mutual distribution growth ventures team, a group focused on serving underpenetrated markets and competitive recruitment. It will offer financial planning services to the city’s underserved Hispanic and Asian communities. In addition, the office will identify opportunities for financial education and support of locally-owned businesses.
“Our recruiting efforts will focus on diverse communities in Ontario, with an emphasis on area colleges and universities,” said Romo. “We’re excited to engage with the community and provide personalized planning solutions that will help put our new clients on the path to achieving their financial dreams.”
Romo will lead the Ontario office comprised of a diverse team of six financial professionals, all of whom live in Ontario or the surrounding area. The team plans to expand its presence in the community.
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