What business lines and geography do you serve in the L.A. area?
I am the head of our middle-market commercial banking business serving the greater Los Angeles market, which includes Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties.
How much time do you spend traveling for the job, including visiting branch offices and seeing clients?
I spend approximately 50 percent of my time traveling, which is the best part of the job.
What’s something about the L.A. business community you didn’t realize before taking this job?
I didn’t fully appreciate how large the $20 million-$500 million revenue segment of the market was. There are thousands of companies in this sales-size segment in greater Los Angeles.
How do you differentiate your bank from both locally based and other national banks with a presence in this city?
Since 2009, when we started building this business, we’ve recruited and developed the best middle-market commercial bankers in the region. Another differentiator is our global footprint, which allows us to help our clients grow both domestically and internationally with one bank.
What’s the best part about working for a big bank rather than a smaller one?
The best part is the ability to provide our clients with access to our global scale and all of the capital markets, in addition to bank debt. It’s a powerful advantage to have experts in every sector available to assist our local clients, whether that need is commercial banking, investment banking or asset management. Our teams collaborate and our clients’ needs are met.
And the worst part?
Most would think it would be the bureaucracy that comes from being part of a large institution, but we’re built to deliver and make decisions locally, so there really isn’t a worst part.
What’s an area of your business you’d like to grow?
We continue to want to lend and help businesses grow.
It’s been more than six years since the financial crisis hit. How well do you think your industry has learned the pertinent lessons from that catastrophe? What are those lessons?
I think significant progress has been made to build a safer financial system. Many of the root causes of the crisis have been addressed. Standards are in place to improve mortgage underwriting, leverage everywhere in the system is lower and very few risky derivatives are being used. Regulatory and board-level oversight is more exacting for all firms, and there is far more capital and liquidity in the global banking system. The industry is united on this. None of us wants to see a crisis like that again.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
Make sure you’re always doing what you want to do. If you’re not, make a change.
What’s your favorite restaurant for business meetings?
Nick & Stef’s.
Lakers, Clippers or neither?
I don’t really care, but if you’re talking football, then it’s UCLA. Go Bruins!
Robert Lagace, 56
Title: Head of the Commercial Bank in greater Los Angeles
Bank: JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Rank, Local Deposit Market Share: 4, 10.4 percent
Residence: Pasadena area
Family: Wife and three children.
Activities: Executive committee board member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, mentor for Fellowship Initiative
Years in L.A. Area: Born and raised
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