James Bemis is a principal at Montague DeRose and Associates, LLC. He joined the firm in 1999 after nearly 20 years of municipal finance experience as an issuer, investment banker, and commercial lender. He has participated in more than $100 billion in bond issues and financings for states, counties, municipalities, redevelopment agencies, water, wastewater and electric utilities, transportation agencies, educational institutions, and multi-family, senior citizen, and nonprofit housing issuers.
Bemis is considered the municipal finance industry’s premier financial advisor in variable rate debt, having served as financial advisor on some of the largest variable-rate bond programs in municipal finance, including the $4.2 billion variable-rate portion of the 2002 California Department of Water Resources power supply revenue bonds, the State of California’s $4 billion in general obligation variable-rate demand bonds, and the $3 billion variable-rate portion of the State of California economic recovery bonds.
Currently, he provides ongoing advice on several of the industry’s largest variable-rate bond programs, including those for the State of California and the California Department of Water Resources. He has negotiated letters of credit and other liquidity facilities for the State of California, State of Washington, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District, Port of Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Tacoma Power, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, as well as many other municipal issuers.
Additionally, Bemis is one of the industry’s foremost experts in transportation finance. Since 1999, he has been lead financial advisor on many transactions for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. This experience includes a number of toll road and bridge projects, and public-private partnerships (PPPs). In addition, Bemis has advised the Washington State Department of Transportation and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority on transportation projects. Bemis has also spoken at public finance conferences on transportation finance and PPPs.
Bemis began his finance career in 1979, while employed by the City of Oxnard, completing more than a dozen financings totaling more than $500 million as a municipal employee. He worked for a dozen years as a commercial bank officer, providing credit and liquidity for two international banks, Sumitomo Trust and the Industrial Bank of Japan. During this time, he developed both banks’ public finance marketing program, including providing credit enhancement, bond purchase agreements, and liquidity facilities for government and non-profit organizations. After joining the municipal investment banking firm of E. J. De La Rosa and Co. in 1993, he was responsible for business development and client relationships.
Bemis currently serves as advisor to the United States Department of Transportation, the State of California Treasurer’s Office, the Washington State Treasurer’s Office, the State of California Department of Water Resources, City of San Diego, Los Angeles County, City of Los Angeles, and the Sacramento County Regional Sanitation Districts.
Bemis received bachelor of arts degrees in economics and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master of business administration degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.