Fidelity adds commercial specialist

Fidelity Bank has added another key banker to its growing commercial banking business.

Jeff Ronen has joined the city's biggest savings and loan as senior vice president and commercial lending manager.

The addition of Ronen is another step toward the thrift's "increasing emphasis on traditional commercial banking," said Fidelity chief lending officer Tim Nelson.

"We're just continuing to add horsepower to the engine," Nelson said.

Ronen comes to Fidelity from Kanza Bank, where he was the Kingman-based institution's east Wichita market president.

For more than two decades Ronen has worked in bank officer and executive positions for the former Bank IV, Hutchinson-based Central Bank & Trust, and Citizens State Bank in Mound-ridge. Most of his expertise is in commercial and industrial lending.

Ronen said it was the lure of being charged with developing new business in commercial and industrial lending at Fidelity that brought him to the $1.7 billion Wichita-based institution, which operates 27 retail bank locations in Sedgwick County and five in the Oklahoma City area.

"It was really the type of work and the work itself," Ronen said.

Nelson, who's known Ronen for more than a decade, said the bank created the position for Ronen.

"We've always taken advantage of opportunities from a personnel standpoint," Nelson said.

Previously, Brian Devlin, commercial banking manager, had been overseeing business development in commercial lending, treasury management and private banking.

With the addition of Ronen, Nelson said Devlin can be actively out in the market developing business for Fidelity's treasury management and private banking.

"We've got the two guys who are going to take it to the next level," Nelson said.

Commercial banking is an area that Fidelity began emphasizing about three years ago. Previously, the focus had been largely on consumer banking, loans and mortgages. It was also active in commercial real estate loans.

Nelson said the emphasis on real estate lending has scaled back in recent years because "regulatory issues are causing most banks to look at non-real estate lending."

As such, Nelson said Ronen will be looking at doing commercial loans such as for working capital, lines of credit and equipment.

Devlin said commercial and industrial loans between $2 million and $5 million "fit best for us," though Fidelity will look at deals that are larger and smaller.