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Advocates Call For Arizonans, Arizona Businesses To Put Money Into Community Banks

Published: Thursday, April 7, 2016 - 5:17pm
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(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
There are more than 2,000 cows at Danzeisen Dairy in Laveen, Arizona.
(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Kevin Danzeisen and his father took over the dairy farm from his grandfather in 2002.

Kevin Danzeisen stood in between two long rows of stanchions at his family’s dairy in Laveen, Arizona. A few cows poked their heads through them, bumping the metal bars so they clinked.

He used to not be able to sleep without hearing that clinking, he said.

There are about 1,200 cows in this part of Danzeisen Dairy and another 1,000 cows at another dairy down the road.

Danzeisen’s grandfather built these dairies after moving to Arizona in 1959.

“We’ve been running them ever since,” he said.

Danzeisen and his father took over the dairy in 2002 and changed the name to Danzeisen Dairy. In 2014, they started bottling their own milk.

“I grew up on just fresh farm milk, and I go to the store and get what we call commodity milk and it never tasted the way that I thought it should taste,” he said. “So that’s why we do what we do.”

They use equipment in their creamery that dates back to the 1930’s, he said. They separate fat the old-fashioned way to keep in all of the milk’s natural nutrients, and they deliver it to the store in glass bottles to keep the flavor fresh.

“We’re going back to the old-fashioned way to make milk taste the way that it should,” Danzeisen said.

They’ve expanded quickly. Now their milk is sold in about 100 stores across the state. He says this is in part thanks to a local bank, Pinnacle Bank, that decided to take a chance on them and give them a loan.

“We try to keep our ingredients local; we try to do everything that we do local as much as we possibly can, and that includes our capital to get it going,” he said.

But, Danzeisen admits, it wasn’t like they had many options. He said, when you have a crazy idea like this, “beggars can’t be choosers.”

“It’s not like we’re doing something that has been really successful and the risk is not there,” he said.

A lot of small businesses in Arizona have trouble getting a loan to get started, according to a recent study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. But small and mid-size banks lend money to local businesses more often than big banks do, according to nonprofit business development group Local First Arizona.

This month, Local First Arizona is encouraging consumers and businesses in Arizona to move their money into local financial institutions as part of Community Banking Month.

“When your money is deposited in locally owned and operated community banks and credit unions, it's quickly recycled back into our local economy,” said Kimber Lanning, director of Local First Arizona, in a media release.

Community banks hold a very small percentage of all deposits in Arizona, to the tune of just 4 percent, according to Local First, “meaning that 96 percent of our money is being held and controlled by large out-of-state banks,” Lanning said in the release.

Small and mid-size banks account for more than half of all small business lending, according to Local First. If more small businesses in Arizona can thrive, that will mean more jobs in our state and more money in our economy.

Pinnacle Bank Loan Officer Jared Shintaku said the bank has loaned anywhere from $150,000 to $5 million, including some to help Danzeisen Dairy expand.

To Kevin Danzeisen, the difference was clear when it came to finding a bank to invest.

“They believed in us,” he said. “They know you and they know the integrity behind it, behind the product and what you’re trying to do. And that’s really, really important.”

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