Multibank holding company Zions Bancorporation operates eight bank subsidiaries with some 485 branches in 10 western and southwestern states. The banks operate under their own brands and leadership rather than sharing one corporate identity. They focus on commercial and retail banking as well as mortgage and construction lending. The banks' products and services include deposit accounts, home mortgages and home equity lines of credit, residential and commercial development loans, credit cards, and trust and wealth management services. Zions caters to small to medium-sized businesses by offering Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
The company's eight subsidiaries keep their own names and branding in order to draw customers who are more comfortable banking at a local level. Its subsidiary banks include Zions First National Bank, Nevada State Bank, National Bank of Arizona, and Vectra Bank Colorado. Additionally, it owns The Commerce Bank of Washington, California Bank & Trust, The Commerce Bank of Oregon, and Texas-based Amegy Corporation.
Zions also offers wealth management serivces through Contango Capital Advisors and Western National Trust Company. It provides online and traditional brokerage services via Zions Direct and Amegy Investments. In addition, the company controls a handful of venture capital funds working with startups in the West.
Zions, which built its empire on acquisitions, managed to expand its reach during the economic downturn partly by helping the FDIC clean up failed banks. From 2008 through 2009 Zions took part in four FDIC-assisted transactions. It took over the assets of failed banks and gained about 40 new branches in Nevada and California. Zions continues to search for acquisition opportunties in order to grow.
Though Zions was largely shielded from problem loans in its FDIC-assisted transactions, the company was hit by nonperforming loans in its own portfolio, particularly in residential land acquisition, development, and construction lending in the Southwest. Its provision for loan losses for 2009 totaled more than $2 billion, more than triple the amount that the company set aside the year before. To help raise capital, Zions sold check processing subsidiary NetDeposit to BankServ in 2010.
In 2010 and 2011 Zions continued to focus on increasing its capital and reducing its risk. The company was able to substantially reduce its provision for loan losses thanks to improved credit quality. Asset quality improved in 2011 and there was a 42% decline in nonperforming loans and a 54% reduction in net charge-offs.
Zions returned to loan growth in 2011 after two years of low demand and the company's own efforts to reduce risk. Those factors helped the company turn a profit in 2011, reporting net income for the first time since 2007.
The company plans to focus future growth on organically building its wealth management and advisory services. Zions also looks forward to expanding residential and consumer lending following the recession, which created dislocation and consolidation in those sectors. – less