Bank executive passionate about paying it forward

I like to obsess about solving our clients’ financial problems from their perspective,” says James Rensvold, executive vice president and private banking director at Nevada State Bank.

James Rensvold is executive vice president and private banking director at Nevada State Bank, which this year is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The Private Bank was built to be completely comprehensive, “enabling us to serve clients’ banking, borrowing, or professional wealth management and planning needs,” Rensvold said.

What services does the private banking division provide?

The Private Bank team serves the complex needs of high net worth individuals and their families. We understand our clients’ needs are complex and time is a luxury, so we give them access to their dedicated private banker day and night. This helps keep things simple, all while offering our best possible pricing. Our financial products and services are tailored to our clients and can be integrated into their overall financial portfolio.

What is the difference between private banking and wealth management?

Great question. These two things really go hand and glove. Private banking is the umbrella encompassing all the traditional deposit and financing services we coordinate to meet the needs of our clients. Wealth management is a service that typically involves managing a client’s net worth that ultimately serves as a core “nest egg” for short- and long-term needs throughout a client’s lifetime. Sometimes wealth management planning extends throughout multiple generations.

Describe your management style.

I prefer an open-architecture style in which significant teamwork and collaboration occur. I find this ultimately produces the best outcomes for our clients, our colleagues and the bank.

What is the best business advice you’ve received?

Years ago, a mentor told me, “I’ve yet to receive the customer complaint about a banker caring too much about their client’s situation or handling things with too much urgency.” I like to obsess about solving our clients’ financial problems from their perspective. Not surprisingly, I’ve yet to experience that complaint either. If you make this the centerpiece of your business approach and do so in a manner that is truly genuine, you tend to find the most “win-win” solutions for both the client and the company.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Today. Now. Having the opportunity to serve in this leadership role. This wouldn’t be possible without the execution of an amazing team behind me.

What are you passionate about?

I grew up in the banking business, so to speak. As a student at Clark High School, I participated in the Academy of Finance program and was a bank intern my senior year. I was hired and worked in banking all through college—and to pay for college. I enjoy the business—the work we do to help people, advise people, and in private banking, to help streamline and create efficiencies in their lives. Banking has given me a lot and I enjoy “paying it forward” to both my colleagues and my clients.

My favorite aspects of the job are to see our clients and our colleagues grow and succeed. First, to see a client and their family accomplish their dreams after years of coordinated planning is tremendously satisfying. Likewise, seeing colleagues grow and accomplish their professional dreams is equally rewarding. It means a lot to me now, and to know later in life that I’ll be able to look back and say I made a real impact in many people’s lives. That I truly left the world a little better when I am gone, that feels good to me.

What’s the biggest issue facing Southern Nevada?

Being a Las Vegas native, I am a believer in this town and think we have a lot to be excited about—the growth, the business-friendly environment, the amazing opportunities, people and companies that are finding success here. There are many reasons we have a terrific business climate in Southern Nevada and I believe we need to preserve, as much as possible, what got us here.

How will the Las Vegas landscape change in the next five years?

I anticipate seeing the development of technology and automation begin to affect employment. I’m not overly concerned, as I believe in the human adaptability to change, but it will be something that affects our community more than other parts of the country.

Where is your favorite place to explore in Las Vegas?

Being from the valley originally, I have enjoyed many of the sights we have to offer. However, my wife and I are foodies, so we love discovering new places to try great new food. Our current favorite dinner spot is La Bella Napoli Ristorante, but we also love a date night at Pinches Tacos.

What is your dream job outside of your current field?

If I were taller and a whole lot more athletic, I wouldn’t mind being the franchise quarterback for an NFL team. But seriously—probably something to do with fitness.

How do you decompress after a long week?

On any given weekend you might find me relaxing with my beautiful wife and daughter, golfing with friends, or squeezing in a CrossFit workout.

What are you currently reading?

“Stop Decorating the Fish” by Yishai Ashlag and Kristen Cox. It’s a great read. It talks about how often we move forward with a knee-jerk reaction, without strategically planning. Before solving a problem, we should make sure we have identified the real problem or issue. The book focuses on how to identify which problems to ignore and which problems really matter.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?

It would definitely be somewhere tropical—perhaps Hawaii, or another island, something near a beach—anywhere with a slow and relaxed pace.

Whom do you admire?

Hands down, that would be my mother. As a single parent raising three children, I can’t think of a better example of hard work, discipline, perseverance, and doing the right thing throughout my lifetime. She’s the one who insisted I do the magnet finance program in high school that created so many opportunities in my life.

What is something that people might not know about you?

I am secretly a softy with a huge heart. And I believe your word is gold—mine as well. I guess I have an old soul that believes in the tradition and reciprocity of standing behind what you say.


This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.