Wells Fargo thinking big commercially

By Becky Yerak
Posted Sep. 7, 2010 at 12:59 p.m.

Wells Fargo & Co. has only eight retail branches in the Chicago area, but the San Francisco-based megabank has big growth plans for its local commercial and private banking arms.

It’s also looking for more space in the Loop area.

It has about 50 commercial bankers in the Chicago area, but plans to beef up that staffing by about 50 percent in the next year. Its local business customers include Freedman Seating, which serves the public transit industry and employs about 500, and Stoller Wholesale, a family-run wine and spirits distributor.
Wells Fargo’s private bank team in Chicago has grown in the last three years to 35 employees from five. It estimates that its private bank will employ 50 in Chicago by year-end, 80 by the end of 2011 and 150 by the end of 2012. It serves clients with at least $3 million in investable assets.

Wells Fargo has about 265,000 square feet in seven buildings in the Loop. It would like to be able to consolidate into one building, leaving room for growth, so it’s looking for 250,000 to 300,000 square feet.

Wells Fargo has about 6,000 workers in Illinois, including about 2,500 in the Chicago area.

Chicago is the headquarters for its Midwest commercial banking unit, which has 18 offices in nine states. Nine other units with a presence here include insurance services, corporate banking, First Union Rail Corp. and international banking.

Commercial banking customers have annual revenue of at least $10 million; the U.S. corporate banking group in Chicago handles large corporations.

But Matt Hilton, Chicago district manager for Wells Fargo Bank, said it hasĀ  “no immediate plans” to open additional retail bank branches in the Chicago area, but “continually” reviews its network to look for “opportunities to expand.”

Wells Fargo’s eight retail branches are in Huntley, Palatine, Schaumburg, Niles, Glenview, Evanston, Elmhurst and Westchester.

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One comment:

  1. R. Satre Sep. 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Nice to see somebody is hiring. A lot of open commercial space in the loop right now, they will probably get a grear bargain!