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MidFirst Bank launching major expansion in Phoenix metro area

By: Mark Moorehead

May 31, 2008   

While MidFirst Bank may not yet be a household name in Arizona, that’s about to change. The company’s new branch, opening this fall on Elliott Road just west of Rural Road in south Tempe, will be one of 12 new MidFirst banking centers opening in metro Phoenix this year.

Officials of the Oklahoma-based bank say the company plans to double that number next year because they consider the Phoenix area a high-growth market in the near- and long-term.

Mortgage lending is a big part of what MidFirst offers the local housing market, according to Mike Piazza, vice president.

“We offer competitive rates as well as some of the lowest fees on the market on conventional, FHA and VA loans,” said Piazza. “We also have special programs for first-time homebuyers as well as combo loans.”

Unlike the giant publicly owned chains in Arizona, MidFirst is the third-largest privately owned bank in the United States, yet remains proud of its small-bank feel and personalized service.

“Our banking staff is very active in the communities we support,” he said.

Both the south Tempe branch manager, Lindsay Naughton, and the business relationship manager, Barbara Castle, already have started making their presence known in the area.

Most recently, says Piazza, MidFirst’s fundraising van participated in three events in Tempe, including the Arizona Cardinals Fan Fest at the team’s practice facility at Warner and Hardy, raising funds for Cardinals charities.

It also showed up at the Costco store at Elliott and Hardy in support of the Children’s Miracle Network and the Fiddlesticks on Elliot, raising funds for local Rotary clubs.

The same availability can be extended to residents of the Kyrene Corridor who are looking for fundraising opportunities, according to Piazza.

“Our 30-foot-long van is complete with two coin-counting machines and an ATM, which we bring to local schools and events to assist organizations with their fundraising efforts,” says Piazza.

Among MidFirst’s more unusual services are free coin-counting machines in the bank lobby for anyone (customer or not), free use of automatic teller machines for customers nationwide and the longest banking hours in the Valley: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 to 2 on Saturdays, 10 to 2 on Sundays.

If you’re not counting coins but are potentially interested in a banking career, MidFirst is currently hiring tellers and customer-care coordinators.

In addition to the launch of the branch at Rural and Elliot later this year, MidFirst will open another banking center at 48th Street and Chandler Boulevard and yet another at Priest and Warner in 2009.

Most surprisingly, while the banking and mortgage industry as a whole has experienced uncertainty and a precipitous drop in profitability in the last year, MidFirst reported $68.2 million in earnings for the first quarter this year, compared with $52 million for the first quarter last year. “MidFirst remains a top performer in the banking industry,” said Jeff Lowe, president of MidFirst Bank’s Arizona operations.

“As measure by return on equity, MidFirst ranks among the top two percent of all banks in the United States,” he said.

Clearly MidFirst is optimistic about the future and hoping Valley residents will share its vision.



Photo by David Stone


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