If you’re an attorney, you may be as concerned about issues related to your practice as you are about matters of law. But you may not know that National Bank of Arizona has a department dedicated to the needs and interests of attorneys.
You also may not know the bank has a dedicated associate/business development officer, who can guide and assist attorneys with questions about financial aspects of their practice or who need resources to help run their practices efficiently.
“NB|AZ is on the leading edge of full-service banking for legal professionals,” says Tracy Ward, business development officer of the bank’s Attorney & Firm Services department, which she created in 2014 when she started working for the bank after spending 12 years at the State Bar of Arizona as a practice management adviser.
Ward offers continuing legal education seminars at least once a month on a variety of relevant topics, including succession planning for attorneys and law firms, how to avoid Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) trouble, and cyber security for law firms. Because management of attorneys’ trust accounts is a critical function of a law firm, she has become a specialist on the rules that govern the use of IOLTA, a method of funding legal services for indigent individuals.
“I’m available to guide a law firm through the trust account process efficiently and in compliance with the IOLTA rules,” she says. The interest earned on the funds deposited by attorneys allows the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education to use those funds to increase access to justice for individuals and families living in poverty, and to improve the justice system.
NB|AZ IOLTA accounts include unlimited transactions, no monthly service charge, and digital images of checks. Additionally, the bank does not retain any portion of the interest generated as a fee. The agreement between the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education and financial institutions allows financial institutions to keep 10 percent of the interest earned as a fee, but NB|AZ has made the decision to contribute not 90 percent, but 100 percent of the interest earned back to the foundation.
“I can answer specific questions that attorneys frequently have regarding the opening, use and closing of an IOLTA,” Ward says. “This is a valuable resource for our clients and sets us apart from other financial institutions.”
A native of Arizona and a graduate of Arizona State University, Ward often connects attorneys with bankers at NB|AZ. “Whenever possible, I match the law firm or attorney with the banker who is best for their needs,” she explains. I communicate with the banker and client to ensure the client’s satisfaction.
The bank provides a full suite of services in the business, consumer, treasury and wealth sectors. NB|AZ’s Student Debt Refinancing Program is focused on attorneys, medical doctors, dentists and orthodontists. “We specialize in the needs of these professionals,” Ward says.
If you’re not an attorney, but you’d like to be connected to a banker at NB|AZ who specializes in your industry, you can still contact Ward.
“I will help anyone who has questions or banking needs. If it’s not me, I will find the right NB|AZ partner to get that client what they need. I’m happy to take those calls when the caller says, ‘Tracy, I know this isn’t your area, but I know you can help me.”
By: Debra Gelbart
Photo: Mark Lipczynski