What started as an internship at the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. while he was a student at UTSA, turned into a lifelong career in the banking industry for Lorenzo Garza, ’99.
Throughout his 24-year career, Garza has focused on the field of bank risk management working for Goldman Sachs, Scotiabank and the Federal Reserve in D.C. Wanting to return to his Texas roots to raise a family, Garza joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in 2009. Progressing through the ranks, he was named vice president of their banking supervision and regulation department this year.
“We try to make sure the entire banking system remains safe and sound,” said Garza, who is responsible for monitoring the more than 400 banking organizations in Texas. “My team deals with banking stability and identifying banks at risk of having trouble.”
In his new role, Garza manages 45 employees while setting strategy for his division and being responsible for talent management. “Throughout my career I’ve moved from the front line doing bank examinations to more of the analysis and risk monitoring across the entire banking system,” said Garza, who has led national financial stability and bank stress testing programs for the Federal Reserve.
Leading teams in the areas of banking surveillance, policy and specialty risk examinations, Garza identifies emerging risk and monitors bank health across Texas. His team briefs the Dallas Fed president on these risks and other banking topics for her consideration in monetary policy decisions.
“Nationally, we lead efforts in the energy sector out of our district in both traditional oil and gas as well as renewable energy,” said Garza.
He also works closely with banks and banking associations in Texas and across the country to keep abreast of the current state of the banking system as well as inform them about changes in banking regulations.
“I grew up in a military family, so it always gave me an appreciation for the role of government and the types of careers that existed,” said Garza, who majored in finance and international business at UTSA. “I was drawn to my career in the Fed because it allowed me to serve my country in a different way.”
His service was recognized in 2018 when Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, recognized him with the William Taylor Award, the organization’s highest distinction for banking supervision, which is given to only a few people each year.
A native of San Antonio, Garza was at UTSA when the Business Building opened in 1997. Active on campus, he was a member of the UTSA Ambassadors as well as the college’s Leadership Challenge program.
“To be successful as a manager or leader you need to have a sound understanding of the technical portion of your job, but then also develop those soft skills,” he said. “That is where being part of the student clubs and organizations at UTSA helped me develop and be comfortable in those areas. Those leadership competencies are things that I draw on today.”
Garza also credits the quality of the UTSA faculty for showing him how to apply the technical learning to real world scenarios. “They would apply what was happening in the real world economy to something we were studying in our textbooks,” he said.
As a first-generation student, Garza was also grateful for the career development support that he received. “UTSA did a great job helping students identify what they were good at, and what career paths might look like in certain fields. They helped me explore what life could look like after college. I think it is important for first-gen students to know what the path looks like, and what opportunities are out there. It takes hard work, but it is possible to be successful. I appreciate the opportunities that I’ve been given.”
Looking to give back to his alma mater, Garza regularly volunteers with the college’s professional development programs as well as actively recruits UTSA students for positions at the Federal Reserve.
“The Federal Reserve is a great place to work,” said Garza who also holds a master’s from Syracuse and a MBA from New York University.
Relishing the ever-changing nature of his work, Garza envisions a long career with the Federal Reserve. “Every economic cycle, every banking cycle, really keeps you on your toes,” he said. “More importantly, it requires continuous learning, which is important in any profession. That aspect of my job intrigues me and keeps my mind sharp. Much of this passion for learning can be credited to my time at UTSA.”