The Gateway Story

Gateway Bank represents a return to how banking used to be, where the staff knew everyone by name and treated you like a person instead of a number.

We bring this nostalgic approach into modern times and offer the best of both worlds: the local, personal attention you want, plus a wide variety of products and services to meet your needs.

Our core values and passion for serving the community drive everything we do. You’ll notice that we treat our customers and team like family, spend one-on-one time with you, and invest in the Valley.

While our Arizona community bank is located in Mesa, our service extends far beyond. With a large network of partnering ATMs, plus added conveniences like Remote Deposit for businesses, you can experience the Gateway difference no matter where you are.

Kind words from our customers

Gateway Bank doesn’t just say they want to help. They have set up their operations and team to actually do it.

– Pastor Cunningham, SouthGate Church

Meet our team

When you walk into Gateway, you’ll see lots of friendly faces. Get to know the people who are here to help you.
With Gateway since 2007

James Christensen | President & CEO

James has worked in the banking industry for over 33 years, mostly in commercial lending and management.

Prior to joining Gateway Bank in 2007, James served as President of a community bank in Kansas for a decade. Under his leadership, Gateway has grown to consistently be one of the strongest performing financial institutions in its peer group.

James grew up in the Midwest and is a graduate of Baker University. He is very active in the local community and serves on several boards and committees, including: current board member and past chair of Local First Arizona, past advisory board member of Mesa’s Economic Development Advisory Board, member of Mesa Rotary Club, board member of United Food Bank, board member of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, and chair of Mesa Financial Network.

James is also a proud father of two, and husband to his wife of over 33 years.

With Gateway since 2011

Michael Nelson | EVP/Chief Financial Officer

Mike is a native of Arizona and has served the Arizona banking community for over 40 years, including 11 years as President/CEO of a federal savings bank in Scottsdale. Mike and his wife have been married for over 35 years. They live in Scottsdale and have two grown children.

Mike has a broad background in community banking and has been involved in the organization of a new institution, as well as overseeing branch expansion and growing a bank through acquisition.

Mike graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in accountancy and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is very active in the community as well. Mike served for over 15 years as the Board President for Community Housing Resources of Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income families achieve their dreams of home ownership. He is also a past director of the Ross Farnsworth East Valley YMCA, a past board member of the Arizona Bankers Association, as well as a past board member and current member of the Scottsdale Ranch HOA Finance Committee.

With Gateway since 2011

Don Thompson | EVP/Chief Credit Officer

Don has over 40 years of experience in community, regional, and super regional banks, with an emphasis on lending. Don and his wife enjoy sports, family gatherings with their two grown sons, and exploring the great Arizona outdoors.

Don has a broad lending background with key areas of experience in commercial real estate, C&I lending, loan portfolio management, credit and risk management, and leadership. Prior to joining Gateway in 2011, Don was EVP/Manager of an LPO in Scottsdale for a large community bank from the Midwest. He spent 30 years in commercial banking with various banks in Kansas/Missouri in business development, loan portfolio management, administration, and management positions.

Don is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has always been active in the communities where he has lived. Don served as a board member and President of a Sheltered Workshop, as well as a board or committee member for several organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, economic development councils, United Way organizations, and bankers associations.

With Gateway since 2008

Jennifer Stevens | VP of Operations

Jennifer has worked in the banking industry for over 20 years. She and her husband keep busy with their three sons’ sporting activities and family outdoor adventures.

Prior to joining the Gateway team in 2008, Jennifer began her career in Texas and moved to New Mexico, where she worked for two banks in a variety of positions. She also attended Western Schools of Banking.

Jennifer grew up in the White Mountains of Arizona and understands how important it is to be involved in the community. She feels it’s essential to be part of a local bank that cares for and understands the needs of its customers.

Lending team
and staff

James Christensen
President & CEO
Don Thompson
EVP/Chief Credit Officer
Anthony Martinez
VP-Commercial Lender
Scott Morris
VP-Commercial Loans
Lauren Leverette
Business Development Officer
Jim LeCheminant
VP-Business Development
Shellie Berry
Business Development

Our board of directors

Gateway’s Board of Directors brings together business leaders from all over the East Valley to guide our team and keep our bank moving in the right direction.
Richard Adams, Jr., Secretary
Michael Snyders, Member
Paul Cyr, Member
James Christensen, President and CEO
David Tininenko, Treasurer
Gene Johnson, In Memorium
Michael Hutchinson, Chairman
Martin Whalen, Former Chairman
Ira Schwarzwald, Member
Ralph Wilson, MD, Member
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