Interview with Doug DeFries
President, Bank of Utah
Chamber Member Since: 1965
The Bank of Utah provides personal banking, business banking, home lending, trust management and investment services through 13 full-service branches along the Wasatch Front, mortgage offices throughout Utah and a corporate trust team.
A: “The Bank of Utah has a reputation for quality and reliability. Add to that, we can handle transactions that other banks shy away from. We know people have choice so we work hard to be a respected financial advisor. Our bankers, lenders and managers have an average of 20+ years experience each. That builds confidence.”
Q: How did the bank hold up through the recent economic downturn?
A: “We are fortunate to be one of a only a few banks to not have a losing quarter during the downturn. We knew that in order to survive we had to rely on our understanding of the market. We are able to make decisions locally to better serve our customers. We’re big enough to have strong systems and small enough to provide individual service.”
Q: What financial products and services are your customers looking for?
A: “We serve both commercial and personal banking customers. Two-thirds of our customers are businesses that need help growing. Right now there’s a lot of lending being done in commercial real estate for retail, warehouses, hotels, office space and industrialbuildings. On the personal side, we process over 1,600 mortgage loans per year.”
Q: What challenges does the bank have now or do you see on the horizon?
A: “20 years ago people lined the lobby to do banking. Today, it’s nearly all electronic. Our challenge is to keep in touch with customers. We also deal with a host of regulatory compliance issues. Most banking regulations assist the customer but it takes a lot of administration. Because of our growth, which has been 8-9% over the past 30 years, we’re about ready to eclipse the $1 Billion mark in assets. That will bring a new set of banking regulations.”
Q: What is the bank’s vision for the future?
A: “Our strategies are aligned with our bank culture which can be summed up with one word: accountability. We won’t stray from our commitment to provide customers with the best experience. We see growth in personal trust, wealth management, and corporate trust areas, and we’ll continue to be full service for commercial and personal banking customers.”
Q: What is something people might be surprised to learn about the Bank of Utah?
A: “We’re the only full service bank that is headquartered in Ogden. We started here and we’ve stayed here. It’s a long legacy we’re proud to continue, beginning with the Browning family.”