What a kick seeing three of Southwest Capital Bank’s most familiar faces at Charlie’s Bakery and Cafe this morning, decked out in duds more suited to the late 1800s. Gilbert looked like a cowhand just off a cattle drive, Jonathan was a dapper loan officer, and Mike was your quintessential “prez”, with his top hat and fancy tails and banker’s vest.
Mirroring an event held on its 75th anniversary, officers and staff at Southwest Capital Bank (formerly The Bank of Las Vegas) dressed up in 19th Century style celebrating 125 years of history in Las Vegas and the area. Founded in 1890 as The Las Vegas Savings Bank, with $30,000 in capital, Southwest Capital now ranks among the top 100 performing banks in the country with assets under $500 million.
A handful of prominent business owners invested in the future of Las Vegas by creating a financial institution to meet the needs of customers. Their subsequent investors, owners, and staff members have continued that tradition, growing and changing with the times, technology, and economic shifts.
As a financial institution Southwest Capital Bank has overcome nationwide banking and economic crises, such as the 1933 events that lead to formation of FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation); acquisitions and mergers; and being housed in various buildings around town until establishing its permanent home in a modern marble and limestone building on Douglas in 1929.
By 1965 the bank had emerged as a full-service commercial bank and become The Bank of Las Vegas. The Levenson family has owned the bank since 1969, when S. D. Levenson acquired it. Levenson made operational changes that continue to form the bank’s management philosophy. His son, Robert Levenson, said his first job out of college was at the bank. He went on to achieve career success in business management before returning to the bank in 1988 to serve as president and CEO. Under his leadership the bank expanded its locations and services.
Bob’s son, Greg, also learned the business from the ground up, running proofs when he was 12. Later he gained understanding of business management by manning a fireworks stand in the bank parking lot as a teenager. In 2001 Greg was named president of The Bank of Las Vegas. He continues a family tradition of strong leadership serving as CEO and Chairman of the Board.
In 2012 The Bank of Las Vegas changed its name to Southwest Capital Bank to encompass and represent the breadth of its service in the region and across the state.
For a history of the first 75 years, written by former bank president Dale Gerdeman (deceased) click here.