An­gel Reyes

Cen­tinel Bank’s An­gel Reyes

Tradiciones Heroes - - Contents - by Scott Gerdes

Sure, as Cen­tinel Bank’s chair­man of the board and CEO, bank­ing is An­gel Reyes’ job. He could, how­ever, choose to be Mr. Pot­ter from one of his fa­vorite movies, “It’s a Won­der­ful Life.” But on the con­trary, he’s more Ge­orge Bai­ley than Mr. Pot­ter. “An­gel is a spe­cial per­son,” said Pavel Lukes who nom­i­nated Reyes. “He’s a role model to young peo­ple and many peo­ple owe him for their pros­per­ity. He is a fan of Taos busi­ness peo­ple.”

When it comes to get­ting ac­co­lades for tak­ing chances on lo­cal en­trepreneurs or peo­ple who just need a hand get­ting over a hur­dle, Reyes feels that it’s the bank help­ing the com­mu­nity, not just him. He’s self-ef­fac­ing when talk­ing about how peo­ple have no­ticed his will­ing­ness to go out on a limb to help oth­ers in any way he can.

“I’m hum­bled,” he shared with no hes­i­ta­tion, no reser­va­tion. “What feels re­ally good is that I was able to come back home know­ing that I wanted to make a big dif­fer­ence in my com­mu­nity, and hav­ing this op­por­tu­nity to make de­ci­sions that have a pos­i­tive out­come. Some­times we un­der­stand that we might be get­ting over our skis a lit­tle bit, but we be­lieve in the cus­tomer, in the busi­ness and in the com­mu­nity. I re­ally feel good about know­ing that we want to sup­port the un­der­dog. When it comes back to us that’s great, but re­ally it’s them who should get the credit.” It isn’t just from be­hind a banker’s desk from which Reyes touches the com­mu­nity. When his son, An­gel Jr., and daugh­ter, Eliz­a­beth, were kids, Reyes was a Lit­tle League and soc­cer coach. He also served on the Lit­tle League board. For nine years he was the chair of the Taos Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion and is presently the chair of TCF’S Real Prop­erty Foun­da­tion.

Through his time as TCF chair­man, he learned there are peo­ple in Taos who had real es­tate they wanted to do­nate, but there wasn’t a clear way to deal with it. “It’s kind of hard to do,” Reyes ex­plained. “We’ve had the op­por­tu­nity of late to help peo­ple who’ve made be­quests, and we fig­ure out how to re­ceive that prop­erty.” Ul­ti­mately, they liq­ui­date most prop­er­ties and then those funds be­come an en­dow­ment to sup­port TCF.

If Reye’s plate wasn’t full enough, he’s the vice chair­man of the New Mex­ico Mort­gage Fi­nance Au­thor­ity. Its mis­sion is pri­mar­ily to pro­vide ac­cess to af­ford­able hous­ing for New Mex­i­cans, whether it’s through home own­er­ship or af­ford­able

Be­hind the scenes

rents as well as as­sist­ing the home­less and other in­di­vid­u­als. One such apart­ment project was re­cently com­pleted be­hind Taos High School. It’s part of the low-in­come hous­ing tax credit, which in­volves a sub­com­mit­tee he also chairs called the Al­lo­ca­tion Re­view Com­mit­tee.

“Tax cred­its are the largest tax sub­sidy the state of New Mex­ico re­ceives to pro­vide hous­ing to its con­stituents. There is a huge need for that,” he stated with con­vic­tion.

All of his chair re­spon­si­bil­i­ties run on vol­un­teered time. The NMMFA was a gover­nor’s ap­point­ment in 2011. This sum­mer, he ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to serve on the New Mex­ico In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­nity Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion board. And if that still isn’t enough to jug­gle, Reyes headed to the Univer­sity of Colorado in July to serve as an in­struc­tor for third-year­bank­ing-school stu­dents to help them un­der­stand the roles of se­nior-level man­age­ment in a sim­u­lated environment.

In the be­gin­ning

Be­fore be­com­ing the chair­man of the board and CEO, Reyes, a spry 46, was named pres­i­dent of Cen­tinel Bank in 2003. Prior, he held the ti­tle of CFO in 1998. And it all started from be­hind a teller’s win­dow.

The born and bred Taoseño at­tended the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico’s An­der­son School of Busi­ness where he earned a busi­ness de­gree in 1995. Four years later he grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Colorado School of Bank­ing.

His ini­tial pur­suits, how­ever, were squarely aimed at the mil­i­tary. Be­fore UNM, he earned an as­so­ci­ate of arts de­gree and was a reg­i­men­tal com­man­der at New Mex­ico Mil­i­tary In­sti­tute in the early 1990s. He also served many years with the New Mex­ico Army Na­tional Guard. Reyes wanted to go into the “reg­u­lar” Army and was hop­ing that his wife (Deanna, also from Taos) would be a teacher for the Depart­ment of De­fense.

“And then we had our son. At the time, I was scratch­ing my head think­ing, ‘Do I do the mil­i­tary? What do we do?’ We de­cided to come home.”

His sis­ter and brother-in-law owned the Taos restau­rant Jac­quelina’s. He took over the man­ager reins and through that job made con­nec­tions with the Cen­tinel Bank own­ers. They pitched the idea of work­ing at the bank. They saw some­thing in Reyes. They had been watch­ing him for a while. And those great banker’s hours? Well, that was too good to pass up. His first day was the day af­ter La­bor Day in 1996.

It wasn’t long be­fore he was work­ing along­side the CFO and within two years, she was get­ting ready to re­tire. He took over her po­si­tion and the rest is his­tory. Since then, he has won nu­mer­ous lead­er­ship awards.

“Ti­tles and awards weren’t re­ally of in­ter­est to me. It was just a real in­sa­tiable de­sire to want to learn, lever­age my busi­ness

de­gree and just hav­ing a lot of fun,” Reyes re­flected. “I al­ways felt I was sprint­ing a marathon, try­ing to learn a lot of things very fast — there’s still a lot to learn and there’s still a lot to give. Find­ing that bal­ance is al­ways the im­por­tant thing of what I do and how I ap­proach my day.”

Out of the of­fice

Speak­ing of marathons, Reyes likes to run, lit­er­ally. He runs long-dis­tance races, but his big­gest com­pe­ti­tion is with him­self and his watch: “I set a lot of per­sonal goals to im­prove the time by which I com­plete a cer­tain dis­tance.”

What started as a fit­ness pur­suit with his wife and in­spired by his daugh­ter, he found him­self train­ing for the Bull of the Woods marathon this past sum­mer. He’s con­quered the Up and Over at Taos Ski Val­ley for four straight years, which is “su­per tough.” Peo­ple ask him what he thinks of that race and the an­swer is al­ways, “I think I’ve tasted my aorta.”

Frankly, Reyes never thought he’d en­ter a marathon. Run­ning has be­come a kind of sanc­tu­ary to him. When solo train­ing, he’s come to re­al­ize those hour to two-hour runs are a good time to think, process and re­flect. “I get a lot of soli­tude and I come back with a lot of great ideas. I’m re­ally in­vig­o­rated, so the ben­e­fits of run­ning are re­ally good. But, then there’s this whole other side of be­ing able to eval­u­ate chal­lenges, process ideas and just take ad­van­tage of the time.”

The back­bones

Reyes is the youngest of five sib­lings (Luis, David, San­dra and Richard). His par­ents, the late Luis and Olivia Reyes, in­stilled the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion. He gives a lot of credit to his fam­ily for his suc­cess and for the type of per­son he has be­come.

“What (his par­ents) left me with is a great value sys­tem, tremen­dous work ethic and the ac­knowl­edg­ment to serve oth­ers,” Reyes stressed. “I re­ally be­lieve that my pas­sion, where I get my en­ergy, is from ob­serv­ing the suc­cess of oth­ers and help­ing do what­ever I can to help some­body else. The cir­cle doesn’t have to come back. I think suc­cess breeds the suc­cess of oth­ers.”

An­gel Reyes poses for a por­trait with his wife, Deanna, be­fore an early morn­ing run at the Rift Val­ley Trail in Taos. Run­ning, he says, is a good time to think, process and re­flect. Mor­gan Timms

“Cer­tain things catch our eye, but pur­sue only those that cap­ture the heart.” - An­cient In­dian Proverb

Taos Pue­blo Gover­nor Gil­bert Suazo Sr.

Taos Moun­tain Casino is proud to honor those who both ex­em­plify the best of the past and who help us weave it into the fu­ture. These peo­ple are our own links in what con­tin­ues to be an un­bro­ken cir­cle of tra­di­tion at Taos Pue­blo.

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