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30 Most Reputable Companies of the Year 2023

Employee-centric Sunwest Bank eyes national expansion with new product portfolio


“SelfcareHSA is a relatively new product offering to help employees and employers manage HSAs.”

Sunwest Bank is an entrepreneurial business bank with a long history of providing excellent service to entrepreneurs, privately-held corporations, family offices, small and medium-sized businesses, and real estate developers across the Western United States. Sunwest is an FDIC-insured lender and an equal housing lender. Currently, it operates in California, Florida, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah.

Sunwest Bank has more than $2.0 billion in assets. Itwas founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Irvine, CA.

The Silicon Review reached out to Eric Hovde, CEO of Sunwest Bank, and here’s what he had to say.

Interview Highlights

Q. When it comes to longevity, Sunwest Bank has it. I find it remarkable that an organization can continue to provide services for over five decades. How did Sunwest maintain its adaptability over the years?

It’s a bit of an oxymoron being an entrepreneurial bank, but we strive to instill an entrepreneurial and creative culture throughout the company. To answer your question, our high-quality talent pool is one of the reasons Sunwest has maintained its adaptability over the years.

Put simply, our team is the most valuable asset to the bank, and we value teamwork, productivity, giving back, and having fun.

Q. What are Sunwest’s key areas of focus as an entrepreneurial business bank?

As an entrepreneurial business bank, we prioritize exceptional customer service, decision-making, timeliness, client access to senior leadership, and providing excellent products and services. We have developed niche focus areas (for example, solar) and have become experts in these areas.

We are a full-service bank that provides extensive banking and lending services. We offer business and personal banking services (checking, savings, online banking, etc.) as well as treasury management. We also offer commercial and SBA lending with a focus on commercial real estate lending (bridge, construction, and investment property loans).

Q. In what industries are your clients? Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how Sunwest helped them overcome those challenges?

Our clients range from construction, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, marinas, mobile homes, property management, solar as well as transportation, and logistics in addition to several others. We go above and beyond to meet and exceed client expectations.

Q. What new endeavors is Sunwest currently undertaking?

Sunwest Bank is a full-service renewable energy financier for commercial buildings throughout the United States, so solar has been a major new push for us in recent years. SelfcareHSA, on the other hand, is a relatively new product offering to help employees and employers manage HSAs.

Q. What’s the one thing you want Sunwest to be known for?

To be the ‘go-to’ bank for entrepreneurs and business owners – a place where they know they will get great services, quick decision-making, and the help they need to grow and succeed. I also want Sunwest to be known as a great place to work.

Tell us, what’s next for Sunwest.

Sunwest has a huge opportunity because big banks have become so rigid and unresponsive to customers and employees. We see a bright future in expanding our business across the country.

Eric Hovde | CEO

Eric Hovde is a serial entrepreneur who manages numerous business enterprises. He is the Chairman and CEO of H Bancorp LLC, a private bank holding company with banking operations on both the east and the west coasts. Mr. Hovde currently serves as CEO of Sunwest Bank. Additionally, he serves as CEO and co-owner of Hovde Properties, LLC, a real estate development and management company. Mr. Hovde also founded and previously managed Hovde Financial, an investment banking company, and Hovde Capital, an asset management company. Throughout his career, he has served as a director on numerous bank boards. Additionally, Mr. Hovde is a stockholder and board member of ePlus inc., a leading consultative technology solutions provider.

Mr. Hovde, along with his brother, Steve, created the Hovde Foundation, an organization that actively supports two central missions – clinical research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis and charitable relief for children in desperate need. The foundation has established Hovde Houses in Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, and Rwanda. Mr. Hovde also co-founded an apartment complex, complete with casework managers and job training, for homeless families in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin.

“Sunwest Bank is a full-service renewable energy financier for commercial buildings throughout the United States, so solar has been a major new push for us in recent years.”

“Our team is the most valuable asset to the bank.”