On September 7, the University of Texas–El Paso (UTEP) announced the launch of the UTEP Banking Academy, supported by significant contributions from regional and national banks and financial institutions. Part of UTEP’s College of Business Administration, the Banking Academy was created to address the shortage of banking professionals in the West Texas and Southern New Mexico region and improve the participation of Hispanics in banking management roles.
Founding partners of the Banking Academy include El Paso-based WestStar Bank, which contributed $1 million. Other banks that made significant contributions include GECU, Bank of America, the Texas Bankers Association, Sunflower Bank, International Bank of Commerce and Commerce Bank, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“We can open more doors to opportunity for our students by building strong partnerships with industry,” says Heather Wilson, president of UTEP. “We are deeply grateful to our donors for making the UTEP Banking Academy possible.”
“We are pleased to partner with the banking community in creating excellent career paths for our outstanding students by building a curriculum that aligns with the workforce needs of the banks and financial institutions in the region,” says James E. Payne PhD, dean of the College of Business Administration. “We are so grateful for their investment in our students’ future.”
With 90 percent of College of Business Administration’s students being Hispanic and a vast majority bilingual, finance faculty have designed the Banking Academy to leverage the unique talents of UTEP students to prepare them for a variety of careers with banks and financial institutions.
“Our banks serve a growing Hispanic population with diverse needs,” says Rick Francis, WestStar Bank chairman and CEO. “Partnering with UTEP to launch the Banking Academy is a win/win—for banks facing a shortage of highly qualified bankers who understand and can meet those needs, and for UTEP students looking for outstanding professional career opportunities. I’m glad to see so many of our peer banks partner with UTEP in launching this academy, and I encourage other financial institutions that have not yet done so to join us in making this critical investment for our industry.”
The core curriculum underlying the UTEP Banking Academy includes financial statement analysis and valuation—covering techniques to analyze a firm’s book and market values; commercial bank management with a focus on asset and liability management, stress testing and liquidity ratio analysis; commercial bank lending—covering loan structuring, evaluation of business tax returns, global cash flow, problem loan detection and other topics aligned with the Risk Management Association credit essentials certification curriculum; and current issues in banking, including compliance, cybersecurity and cross-border banking.
The University of Texas–El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 94 percent of the university’s nearly 25,000 students are minorities, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 168 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.