For Raul Anaya, business and banking intertwined long ago. Anaya grew up watching his father, an immigrant from Mexico, run his own auto body repair shop in Brownsville, Texas. When Anaya later began working as a commercial bank teller, the conversations between bank loan officers and local business owners like his father fascinated him.
“That exchange and the ways in which the bank was helping small and large businesses in Brownsville really got me interested in banking,” Anaya confirms.
Now the head of business banking and president for Greater Los Angeles at multinational financial services company Bank of America, Anaya has come a long way since his days as a teller. However, he remains just as interested in the possibilities of supporting business growth through banking. Beyond serving his clients on a daily basis, he fully embraces his role as a leader within the bank and out in the community.
Anaya first joined Bank of America (then NationsBank) back in 1989, after graduating with a BBA in finance from the University of Texas at Brownsville. He completed a formal credit training program in Houston, where he spent the next ten years in the bank’s Commercial Banking Group developing successful relationships with local companies and growing his finance expertise.
“Early on, I learned a lot from my various mentors. They had a huge impact on my career,” Anaya says. With his mentors’ support, he climbed to a team leader role in Houston before being promoted to a market executive role, leading the San Antonio and then Phoenix markets. In 2005, Anaya moved to Los Angeles to run the bank’s Commercial Banking Group for Greater LA. He was promoted to market president in 2012, to Pacific Southwest Region executive in 2015, and to head of business banking—one of Bank of America’s eight major lines of business—in July 2020.
As his role at the bank became more prominent, Anaya gained experience assisting a wide range of businesses. “I started dealing with larger and more complex companies over time,” he says. “Working at Bank of America has exposed me to so many companies of different sizes and across different industries.”
Today, Anaya focuses on companies with annual revenues of $5 million to $50 million. “I like to call it Main Street because we’re working with companies that are generally family-owned and that were started by an entrepreneur,” he explains. “That’s what I love about leading business banking.”
Anaya’s love for his work shines through in his personalized and genuine approach to helping clients. He believes strongly in building relationships with business owners and their families and in taking the time to learn about their individual wants and needs. “I’m always asking questions and listening to my clients to get an understanding of how the owners want to grow their businesses,” he says.
Once he has earned a client’s trust, Anaya draws on his in-depth knowledge of finance to offer advice and solutions. Having weathered the storm of two previous economic downturns over the course of his career—he joined the bank at the depths of the Texas real estate depression in the early 1990s and led his team through the great financial recession of 2008—he’s ready to share best practices with business owners who may be facing their first period of economic stress amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Anaya extends the benefits of his expertise to junior members of his team as well, carrying on the tradition of mentorship that catalyzed his own career at Bank of America. Furthermore, as a member of the bank’s executive management team, he weighs in on the bank’s overall strategic direction, including on topics as growth initiatives, new technology investments, and environmental, social, and corporate governance policies.
Anaya plays a similar role at the regional level as president for Greater LA. In addition, he leverages the bank’s brand to effect positive change across the local community. “We help deliver local philanthropic dollars,” he elaborates. “In 2020, we delivered over $10 million in philanthropic support to over two hundred different nonprofits around our foundation priority, which right now is principally focused on economic recovery.”
Just as he does outside of the bank with his work at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, Anaya prioritizes inclusivity in Bank of America’s local outreach efforts. That means intentionally directing resources to people of color and other historically underserved communities. In parallel, Anaya executes internal initiatives designed to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion at the bank itself. “We were one of the first companies in corporate America to come out and address the racial disparities that were exposed by the pandemic with a $1.25 billion commitment to help address economic mobility and racial inequality,” he notes.
Anaya personally serves on Bank of America’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Council and, as the bank’s highest-ranking Latino, cochairs the Hispanic-Latino Executive Council (which consists of the bank’s most senior Hispanic-Latino executives in the United States). The aims of both councils complement Anaya’s own attitude toward diversity, which he has always viewed as a competitive advantage.
As he looks to the future at Bank of America and beyond, Anaya feels optimistic. He knows that he will continue to combine leadership, service, and authenticity to give back to both his clients and his community inside and outside the bank, no matter what.
“I always remember my roots as the son of immigrant parents,” Anaya says. “I view my success as an opportunity to pay it forward and to help others around me become better bankers, better leaders, and better individuals.”
A Broader Commitment to Greater LA
To deepen his community ties, Raul Anaya cofounded a local networking group for Latino finance professionals called Latino Deal Makers. Throughout his career, he has also regularly served as a board member (generally in a board leadership capacity) for various nonprofit organizations, including healthcare- and science-oriented organizations such as the AltaMed Health Services Foundation and the California Science Center Foundation. Now, as the first Latino board chair for the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, he is reimagining regional economic recovery through a lens of equity and inclusivity.