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What we learned from “love your local bank” month


Local First Arizona put on a speed dating event to help local businesses get hooked up with local banks. We sent a group of our team members, including our president, James Christensen, out to the event to see what it was all about, and we were really happy with the spirit of local self-reliance.

The big bank blues

Lots of local businesses start banking with one of the big guys, only to find that they’re seen as small potatoes. James said he heard many small business owners talking about similar problems. “People were telling me they experienced very slow responses, or no responses at all. They were frustrated with not having a specific person for their account who they could call.”

Our team makes the difference

We’re fortunate to have amazing team members who are in this for the long haul. When James was talking to people at the speed dating event, he found that business owners really just want to find a reliable partner. “They wanted to find a connection. I told everybody when they came up that what makes Gateway better than everyone else is our team, and the amount of experience we have. Between myself and our COO and CFO we have almost 100 years of experience.”

This is how local starts

Right now, even though small and mid-sized banks like us control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, we account for more than half of all small business lending. The problem? Arizonans have deposited 96% of their money into banks with out-of-state ownership, leaving us with only 4%. One of the goals of events like these are to raise that percentage from 4% to 10%. Think of how much more good we’d be able to do for local businesses if got even close! With events like this one popping up, we know the only place to go from here is up.

Love comes full circle

Local Love Winner Antrim Air

When we started the Local Love campaign, we weren’t really sure what to expect. We hoped that by giving away part of our marketing budget to a small, local business, we’d be able to make a real difference for someone local, and meet people who truly cared about our community. As it turned out, we heard from quite a few passionate people about the many different businesses who were all well-deserving of the award. However, we could only pick one business to receive our award.

Congratulations to our winner, Antrim Air

After reviewing all of the submissions, we decided Antrim Air, a locally owned and operated HVAC repair company, would receive the award. Talitha and Anthony Gilmore founded Antrim AIr about three years ago and have dedicated themselves to providing high quality, honest repair work for people in our community ever since. They are true ambassadors of the spirit of the Local Love campaign and we couldn’t be happier to be helping them out.

True customer appreciation

When we contacted Antrim Air to let them know they had been selected, they didn’t even know they had been nominated. Their customers were the ones who had submitted a nomination, which helped validate Talitha and Anthony’s style of doing business. “For a customer to take the time to write why they love us is amazing,” said Talitha. “It’s very humbling, and a reminder of why we do business the way we do, because it does come back to you. Karma is real.”

Kindred spirits

As we got to know Talitha and Anthony, we grew even happier that they were selected for the award because of how much they value community. “I go to great lengths to shop local. I think that’s paying back. I’d rather help put your daughter through college than line the pockets of billionaires.”

We think Anthony and Talitha summed up all of our feelings about this campaign when they said, “This has been really awesome.”

Together, we’ll all go further


After falling in love with the atmosphere and food, we recently sponsored Food Truck Friday at the Gilbert Food Truck Food Court by paying the vendor fees for all of the trucks for a night. After the event, we spoke with our client, Casey Stechnij from Udder Delights, who shared some insights about food truck events, and why they’ve chosen us for their banking needs.

Building community


The food truck scene is thriving because they’ve built something special. The food is excellent, but it’s really about creating connections between people. There’s local entertainment, and the seating is set up community style to encourage conversation. Casey said that people have thanked him for setting up the tables like that, saying things like, “I met my neighbor of 15 years who I never met before, we shared a conversation over a hotdog.” Casey chose to bank at Gateway for many of the same reasons we wanted to sponsor the food truck event. “We team up and work with people who believe what we believe and who care about family, I believe Gateway is that kind of a bank. I wanted to support a bank who supports me and my community.”

We’re all in this together

Things like being able to eat sinfully good, locally produced ice cream and attend fun events like food truck friday are part of what makes our community special. We’re proud to be part of making these events possible in whatever way we can. Because as Casey points out, small businesses need a thriving, supportive community to succeed. “One thing I’ve learned after having been a dairy farmer my whole life, and especially since we started the Gilbert food truck events, is that as a small business you need response from the community. You can’t go at it alone.”

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.



Fill up on local food at Gateway’s Gilbert food truck night

As you know, we’re big fans of local business, but we’re also fans of things that make our taste buds happy. So, we decided to combine two of our loves by sponsoring all of the food trucks at the food court on Friday September 20th. We’ll have staff there all night to talk about Gateway or point you in the direction of a tasty snack, so make sure you stop by our table to say hello.

Find your new favorite

If you haven’t tasted any of the food that’s coming from our locally owned and operated food trucks, you’re missing out. There’s some seriously gourmet stuff coming out of the creative kitchens on wheels that meet up every Friday evening at the Gilbert Food Truck Food Court at 344 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert AZ, 85233.

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It’s all about our community

We think that one-of-a-kind, local businesses like food trucks are a big part of what makes our community special. They give us something to enjoy and be proud of, as well as drive our local economy. Sponsoring the food trucks for a night seemed like a natural way for us to celebrate our community and support local business at the same time. Hope to see you there!

Keeping it local.We’re giving away $5,000 of funding and design services.

Whether it’s helping out a small business with a loan, or helping our customers with their personal finances, we’re always looking for ways to help out our community. So, when we were planning what to do with our marketing budget this year, we thought, why not just give part of it away to a small business who could use it more than us? Since it’s our mission to make a difference in our community, we decided that’s exactly what we were going to do.

How does this work?

Because we’re looking to help out a business that’s small and local, to be considered, the business must be based in the greater Phoenix area, and have less than 20 employees. But we can’t choose a business all on our own—we need your help.

Please let us know about a small local business that’s near and dear to your heart by filling out our short nomination form.

All you need to do is:

  • Tell us about yourself
  • Tell us a little bit about the business
  • Write a few words about why you think they deserve a helping hand

That’s it! We’ll read all of the submissions and determine who will receive the award. As an added bonus, our partners at Forty will match our donation with $2500 worth of design and marketing services.

Helping out a small business in need is easy. Just tell us about your favorite small business here.

Why are we doing this?

We’re a small local business, and we understand that all local businesses are connected. When people bank with us, they’re making a decision to keep their money in our community. We try to return this favor by investing back into our community in as many ways as we can. Helping out a local business just makes sense.

We are still small, but we were once even smaller. Getting a little extra boost could be just the thing a small business needs to become a huge success, and we want to everything we can to help create as many local successes as possible.

Nominate your favorite business today!

Your 5-Star Community Bank – 26 Consecutive Quarters

5 – Star Gateway Commercial Bank

Recognized as One of the Strongest Banks in the Nations

December 2016: BAUERFINANCIAL, the Nation’s Premier Bank Rating Firm congratulates Gateway Commercial Bank, Mesa, Arizona for ringing-in 2017 with its highest 5-star Superior rating. Gateway Commercial Bank is no newcomer to Bauer’s 5-Star Rating. In fact, Gateway Commercial Bank has earned this top honor for 26 consecutive quarters.

Karen L. Dorway, president of BauerFinancial, commends Gateway Commercial Bank for maintaining a strong capital position while fulfilling its commitment to solving the financial needs of the local communities. “Community banks aren’t pushing products or services on you that you don’t need or want”, says Dorway. “There are there to provide a service and fill a need, which Gateway Commercial Bank has been able to do seamlessly all while maintaining its pristine health.”

Gateway Commercial Bank was established in 2007 and has been providing quality banking service to its neighbors and friends ever since. Today, after 9 years, it operates through a conveniently located office on East Warner Road in Mesa and on the web at

Gateway Commercial Bank: “Banking the way it should be.”

Member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

BauerFinancial, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating and research firm, has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks and credit unions since 1983. No institution can pay for or opt out of a BauerFinancial rating. Star-ratings are all available for free at

 BauerFinancial, Inc. P.O. Box 143520, Coral Gables, FL 33114.


“I Luv My Community Bank” Campaign

The I Luv My Community Bank campaign is for consumers and small businesses to proclaim their bragging rights on how choosing a community bank gives them distinct advantages. Post comments, upload photos and deliver video testimonials via the one-of-a-kind interactive website, on why you LUV Gateway Bank?


Gateway Bank featured on The Financial Brand

Gateway Bank was featured on The Financial Brand, a popular site for financial marketers for being one of the first banks in the country to introduce a responsive website. Please visit the following link: //