Written by The Business Journal Staff
Mark Riley, Senior Vice President Middle Markets Business Banking and Market President
Bank of America
What we do:
Bank of America’s Middle Market team manages and grows a diverse portfolio of commercial and agribusiness clients, including business and investment banking resources for the Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare and Kern County markets.
I’m a graduate of the nationally recognized Pacific Coast Banking School, which is sponsored by the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Management. I was awarded a membership to the honor roll for being in the top ten percent of graduating students. I earned my MBA and BS from California State University Fresno’s Craig School of Business, and was awarded the Graduate Dean’s Medal given to the graduate with the distinction of highest honors.
Wife – Tamara Riley (First grade school teacher); Seth (Son, age 9); and Mischa (Daughter, age 7)
How did you come to your position as Fresno / Central Valley Market President for Bank of America, Mark?
Since I joined Bank of America in 2008, I’ve had a passion for volunteerism and giving back to the community. As I got to know the bank’s partners and various lines of business leaders locally, it was a perfect fit for me to step into the Market President role.
What are your main goals and priorities in your new position, Mark?
My priority, first and foremost, is to seamlessly deliver an appropriate and comprehensive set of solutions to our customers and clients. To accomplish this, we work closely with our local bank teammates who work in all the various lines of businesses in order to deliver the best value to folks here in Fresno and the Valley. Investing in our communities by supporting local nonprofits that address critical needs is also an important priority for me and for Bank of America as a whole.
What accomplishments are you most proud of? What goals would you still like to achieve, Mark?
I truly believe banking will always be a people business focused on personal relationships, trusted partnerships and client satisfaction. I have a deep respect for the small business owner who is willing to take risks, make sacrifices and build a business that impacts the local economy. It makes me excited when we’re able to help local business owners accomplish their goals.
Also, so far this year, the bank has already awarded $373,000 to 28 nonprofits in Fresno and surrounding markets supporting education, jobs, affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization – areas vital to creating healthy communities.
Some local organizations that received grants include the Community Food Bank FOOD Inc, Reading and Beyond, Pro-Youth and United Way of Kern County.
At Bank of America, we aim to make people’s financial lives better and provide the best solutions to our clients.
Our team continues to strive for better and smarter delivery of our brand and resources to the community. We are doing this in several ways including coordinating our employee volunteer group to deepen our impact beyond grant funding and give back to our community in the best way possible. Last year, our local employees volunteered a total of 6,858 hours.
What are the benefits for businesses going with national banks like Bank of America compared to local community banks, Mark?
Bank of America offers a full array of solutions to help our local customers and clients grow and achieve success. For example, if a local business is ready to expand, we can offer treasury management, equipment leasing, commercial real estate financing and help raising capital globally—all while working with someone who is based locally and understands the Valley’s unique business landscape.
How has Bank of America’s lending practices changed since the recession, Mark?
We continue to make every good loan we can, based on the applicant’s ability to repay down the road. Unfortunately, an unintended consequence of the recession has been a higher cost of capital. As a result, we have a renewed focus on simplifying and improving our processes to minimize costs for us and our clients.
What is the most rewarding part of your job, Mark? What is the most challenging?
The personal relationships are the most rewarding part of my job. I love connecting with all the great people in our community, both from a business and philanthropic perspective, to help them reach their goals.
An ongoing challenge is the struggle to do more with less. The level of need continues to outpace the level of resources available to give back. To help remedy this, we place a much greater emphasis on long-term solutions, as opposed to a short-term fix or band-aid.
What skills do you think will be most important for the next generation of job seekers, Mark?
In an age of texting and real-time exchanges of information and data, the next generation should strive for excellence in communication. Be a great writer, a great storyteller, a great translator of our history and lineage, and a great listener. Also, develop critical thinking skills that will promote success within a constantly changing environment. Treat everyone you do business with exactly how you would want to be treated. Computers and technology will never be able to replace these traits.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it, Mark?
Growing up in the Central Valley, I earned $2.85/hour digging ditches and spraying weeds in various row-crop fields. It was this first summer job where I got my initial taste of the working world. I not only learned about the importance of the Central Valley agricultural industry, but this helped shape the foundation of my career.
What are your roots in the San Joaquin Valley, Mark?
When I was two years old, my parents moved to the Central Valley from the San Diego area. My mom and dad were in the medical field, and they were looking for a good environment to raise me and my sister. We’ve been here ever since. Looking back, I can see and understand why they made the decision to move here 42 years ago.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Mark?
I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling. I also enjoy exercising and weight training. I’m a big sports fan too and one of my favorite teams is our very own Fresno State Football Bulldogs.