SAN FRANCISCO, March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of the West today announced a key leadership change in its fast-growing Consumer Finance Division. Of note, Mark Beecher, executive vice president and head of sales and marketing for the bank's indirect lending in the automotive, marine and recreational vehicle sectors, will retire on May 1. With the retirement of Beecher, a 19-year Bank veteran and well-regarded industry executive, the bank also announced that Michael Lax, currently senior vice president and head of Dealer Financial Services at the bank, will succeed him in his role. As part of this move, Andrew Hein will assume Lax's responsibilities as the new head of Dealer Financial Services.
Beecher was instrumental in building Bank of the West into a market leader, ranking first in market share in the recreational vehicle industry and similarly within marine finance. He spearheaded the growth of its auto finance business, which lends in 28 states. He's also helped expand the bank's Essex Credit subsidiary, making it a leader in the direct financing of recreational vehicles and marine craft.
"Mark is an institution within the auto, RV and marine finance industries, and I speak not only for myself but for all of Mark's colleagues, dealers and customers in saying that he will be greatly missed," said Paul Wible, senior executive vice president and head of Bank of the West's National Finance Group. "I couldn't be prouder or more appreciative of all that Mark accomplished during his career with us. With Mark's leadership, our consumer finance business now represents approximately one fifth of the Bank's loans and leases and is well-positioned for continued growth."
"At the same time, I'm excited to have Mike join the Consumer Finance Division team," Wible continued. "Mike has worked closely with Mark and his team for the past seven years, ensuring we met all of our dealers' commercial banking needs, including floor plan and real estate financing, plus cash management and purchasing cards. In his new role, I'm confident that Mike will carry on our Bank's commitment to meeting the financial needs of dealers and consumers alike. His expertise and vision will be instrumental in helping us reach our long term goal of becoming a national auto lender."
Lax, who has had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry, joined Bank of the West in 2007. Previously, he spent 19 years with Citi in a number of business development and managerial roles for its dealer-related business lines.
Hein joined Bank of the West in 2012 as manager of the Auto team in Dealer Financial Services, where he has been responsible for building a team to support the bank's growing auto flooring business. Prior to joining the bank, Hein held leadership positions in US Bank's Dealer Services and Commercial Bank groups.
About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, $65 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 600 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with 190,000 employees, including 145,000 in Europe.
SOURCE Bank of the West