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Q&A with Zach Fee: Texas sees new leaders, opportunities for growth

We recently sat down with Zach Fee to learn more about his new role as UMB Bank’s President of Regional Banking and what that means for the company and, specifically, his home base of Texas. Also, meet our new Dallas market president and find out where there are opportunities for growth in the Lone Star state.

UMB expanded to Texas in 2013. What has that journey been like?

I moved to Texas six years ago with the opportunity to grow UMB’s brand and market share in one of the country’s fastest growing economies. I had no idea at the time what an incredible region North Texas was or how welcoming other businesses would be to our brand and mission.

We found this same sentiment when we expanded operations into Fort Worth in 2014. Since that time, the team and our president of the Fort Worth region, Michael Garner, have continued to build UMB’s presence in the market and most recently opened a new office space for UMB at 777 Main St.

The ride has been incredible, and I’m excited to see what the next six years will bring.

There have been some leadership changes in Texas recently. Can you tell us about the new roles?

In October, I was named president of regional banking for UMB Bank, which means I oversee all commercial operations throughout our eight-state footprint as well as our business lines in those regions. I have been with UMB my entire 17-year career and could not be more honored to step into this role—especially since my mentor, Jim Rine, held it previously. Those are some big shoes to fill.

As for the other leadership changes, we named Dennis Wright as UMB Bank’s president of the Dallas market last year. We hired Dennis in 2016 as senior vice president, commercial team lead, to grow our commercial lending in Dallas-Fort Worth. It was always our intention to have Dennis move into this president role, but he still had to earn it. And he’s certainly done that.

His leadership in recruiting has resulted in hiring a tremendous team. Additionally, his outstanding business acumen, industry experience, and obvious passion for helping clients achieve success have helped us significantly grow our business during the past two years. He has more than 23 years of experience in banking and finance with deep roots in Texas, and I’m excited to have him leading the broader Dallas and Collin County markets for us and continuing our growth trajectory.

Will you remain in Dallas with your new role?

That’s a question I have received many times since the announcement, and the answer is yes! I think it’s quite a statement that UMB has named a president of regional banking who will be based out of Texas. It shows our commitment to this region, and our commitment to expanding UMB’s market share in all our markets, including Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

What does the lending environment look like right now in Dallas and what do you see happening in 2019?

I continue to be impressed with Dallas’s appetite for growth and new opportunities. And that eagerness is something we also have here at UMB. During the past six years, we have been laying the groundwork for success, including hiring the right talent and increasing our specialty presence in markets like Fort Worth, Houston‡ and Austin‡. This has laid the foundation for 2019, which will be our “year of execution.” Texas is one of UMB’s fastest growing markets, and we love that.

In terms of what is happening in the market, we continue to see industry diversification with several performing well, including commercial real estate, general C&I and healthcare. We also see other lines of business experiencing growth, such as private wealth management, commercial cards and corporate trust.

Any last thoughts?

I am genuinely excited about how far we have come and where we are headed. UMB has all the right elements to succeed in today’s market – we are nimble, responsive and flexible. Our bankers embrace the ability to be constructive thought partners with their clients, developing opportunities that move them to consider options with a different lens or solution versus underwriting from a box.

We already have the right talent in place delivering on these values, and I’m looking forward to growing that team. The road ahead looks extremely bright

Stay informed on industry trends and noteworthy company news by visiting our UMB in the News section on umb.comFollow UMB on LinkedInFacebook‡ and Twitter‡ to see regular updates about our company, people and timely financial perspectives.

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