Scott Wylie, Founder, Chairman and CEO of First Western Financial, Explains How to Start Up a Bank

February 26, 2019

Scott Wylie is Founder, Chairman and CEO of First Western Financial, Inc. Mr. Wylie leads a great team of professionals at First Western Financial and First Western Trust. Before that, he served as Chairman and CEO of Northern Trust Bank of Colorado after having sold his prior institution, Trust Bank of Colorado, to Northern in 1998.

Prior to that, he led the acquisition of Equitable Bankshares of Colorado, a Denver-based bank holding company with two subsidiary banks, now known as Colorado Business Bank. In 1987, he started his first bank as a subsidiary of the First Boston Corporation. He later led a management buyout and renamed it the Bank and Trust of Puerto Rico.

Mr. Wylie received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a Master of Arts in economic development from the School of International Service at American University.

In this 3,006 word interview, exclusive to the Wall Street Transcript, Mr. Wylie details what it takes to start up a successful bank in the United States.

“I had sold my previous bank to Northern Trust and was running the Rocky Mountain region for Northern. I saw a real opportunity then to create a private bank and trust company that was focused on Western wealth management clients. The clients here in the West are different than those from the traditional East Coast or Midwest clients because the economies there are older and tend to have more intergenerational wealth.

The West represents younger economies with first-generation wealth, so we thought there was an opportunity to create a kind of new-generation private bank and trust company to serve that newer generation of Western wealth.”

This focus on asset management has contributed to a more stable revenue flow for the bank:

“The big difference for First Western’s financials compared to other financial institutions like ours is the fee business. About half of our revenues are from the fee business, and most of that is recurring business from the trust and investment management business, which has $5.6 billion in assets under management.

A lot of folks today are worried about what is going to happen with net interest income, so that is a concern for us as well. We pay attention to the deposit betas like everybody else, but that only directly affects half of our revenues.”

Get the complete picture and read the entire 3,006 word interview, exclusive to the Wall Street Transcript.