Making a Splash

NB|AZ® Makes Business Flow Swimmingly for Family-Focused Entrepreneurs

When Bob and Kathy Hubbard’s kids were growing up, they had to answer the phone at the house as “Hubbard Family Swim School.” With eight children, it meant the phone rang a lot. It also meant friends on the other end of the line were often confused about where exactly they had called.

They had called a home—but it was also a business, one that every family member has had a hand in over the years and many still do to this day. Two decades after its quaint beginning, Hubbard Family Swim School is preparing to open its fourth location in the Valley later this year.

“We both had an entrepreneurial spirit,” Bob Hubbard says of him and Kathy, who have worked together full-time since 1992. “Back then, we felt it was time to chase a personal dream and build our own business.”

Despite starting at home, the Hubbard family business doesn’t bring work home, which is one of the reasons Hubbard believes the company has had such success. It’s a commitment they made to themselves and the business years ago.

“We never break away from a family gathering to do business,” he says, pointing to a recent family dinner that brought together about 30 people, many of whom work for Hubbard Family Swim School. “When we’re with family as a family, we’re there and we drop the curtain. If there’s work, we do work within a work timeframe.”

Hubbard says swimming instruction is unlike the homebuilding industry, where he made a pit stop earlier in his professional life. With swimming, experience breeds invaluable expertise.
“I can’t swing a hammer for beans, but I could manage people who know what they’re doing,” Hubbard says. “But here, it’s so intimate, we’re so hands-on, you have to know the ‘whys.’”

Those “whys” built the foundation for the decision the Hubbards made to bank with National Bank of Arizona. Hubbard felt the bank understood his motivation, his commitment to family, and his appreciation for fostering a true relationship with a financial institution.

Besides, Hubbard knew his relationship manager Kevin Cooney from years of volunteering at the school where Cooney’s children attend alongside his own grandchildren.
“We were doing a new project and testing the waters, so we decided to open it up to other conversations. They wanted our business,” Hubbard says. “They understand our business and they understand the family nature.”

Cooney says the Hubbards were attracted to the flexible lending structure of National Bank of Arizona as they looked at future growth plans, but noted they also appreciated the personal service the bank offered them, recalling the time they were signing loan documents at the Hubbards’ home as the company held one of its quarterly meetings.

“Bigger banks take place at a centralized location. Your personal contact is at the sales point and you never hear from them again. This is continuous,” Cooney says. “I have a text message and phone call relationship with Bob. My job is not over by a long shot in this relationship.”

Hubbard, though, says he really appreciated that NB|AZ exhibited an interest in the long haul. They were able to look beyond the current conversation.

“They’re forward thinking,” Hubbard says. “It’s important, in my mind, to do business with people like that.”