William R. Oakley joined First National Bank of Arizona/Nevada in March of 2002 and was promoted to regional president – Southern Nevada in January of 2004. He has over 19 years experience in the financial services industry, primarily in Arizona.
As market president, his responsibilities include managing the Southern Nevada commercial and construction lending divisions, overseeing the retail division and partnering with the mortgage and investment divisions. Oakley also represents the bank as a community leader through his work on the Opportunity Village Foundation Board.
He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Finance in 1987 from the University of Arizona, where he graduated cum laude. Prior to joining First National Bank of Nevada, he managed Wells Fargo Bank of Arizona’s Income Property Lending Team from 1998 to 2002.
First National Bank of Nevada is privately held. The bank has assets in excess of $1.6 billion supported by capital of $131 million.
How many banks do you supervise?
We have five branches in the Las Vegas area, one in Laughlin and one in Bullhead City.
Have any of your banks ever been robbed?
I moved to Southern Nevada to take over this position about two years ago. Within two months after I arrived, four out of our five Las Vegas branches were robbed. It was my first experience with retail banking, so it was a pretty rude awakening. I had never had to deal with employees who were upset because someone threatened them with a gun. Of course, we do everything we can to protect our employees and our customers. Banks are robbed every day – you just don’t hear about it very often in the news.
What’s your biggest business challenge?
Hiring dedicated, knowledgeable bankers. One of my goals is to make our bank the one everybody wants to work for. We currently have 145 employees.
How does Las Vegas compare to Phoenix?
Las Vegas is a great place to do business. Like Phoenix, it’s very focused on real estate. It seems to be a small town, as far as the business community is concerned, but the tight-knit group of people who are business leaders are very welcoming to newcomers.
What is your goal for the bank over the next few years?
We want to be known as a bank with great customer service. If we can do that, our customers will spread the word and be our best salespeople. A short-term goal is to move into our new headquarters building, which we are constructing at Sunset Road and the I-215 Beltway. With five stories and 76,000 square feet, it will give us room to consolidate all our people in one place, instead of having them in several different locations.
If you could start over and choose a different profession, what would it be?
I have spent most of my career lending to real estate developers, so that would be interesting to try, and I’ve noticed that in the last 10 years, not many real estate people have lost money. However, knowing that real estate runs in cycles, now may not be the best time to jump in. So, I guess I’ll stay with banking.
How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
I enjoy spending time with my wife of 14 years, my 6 year-old daughter and 3 year-old son. We have fun playing kids’ games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. Currently, I’m the sole golfer in the family. However, I am hopeful someday we will fill our own foursome.
Little-known fact about yourself
When I was 11 years old, I appeared in a movie called Wanda Nevada with Brooke Shields. It was filmed in my hometown of Prescott, Ariz. Brooke played the title character, and I played the kid who racked pool balls for Peter Fonda.