Wintrust to build ‘community,’ network banks

By Becky Yerak
Posted March 8 at 12:36 p.m.

Wintrust Financial Corp., which has long downplayed its corporate name in favor of touting its individual community banks, plans to give each of its 15 lending institutions the “sub-brand” of  “A Wintrust Community Bank.”

The $14 billion-asset lender also disclosed on Monday that, for the first time,  customers at one of its community banks will be able to conduct  business at another one by late summer.

Wintrust has been pulling ahead of other local midsize banks in growth prospects and dealmaking. Cole Taylor Bank, for example, on Monday disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that its portfolio of loans to other banking institutions was showing increasing signs of stress.

“As the population of banks has gone down in Chicago, the Wintrust brand actually means something now,” Edward Wehmer, chief executive of Lake Forest-based bank holding company, said Monday at the Raymond James & Associates 32nd Annual Institutional Investors Conference in Orlando.

“The banks will soon be branded ‘Wintrust Community’ banks. That’s a big step for us because we can’t lose our position as the local alternative to the bigger banks, but our customers can have that small-bank delivery with with a big bank behind it. We’ll continue to be able to differentiate that way, but take advantage of our name and size.”

Wehmer predicted that 20 banks will fail in Chicago this year.

Wintrust  has branded wealth management and mortgage units.

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  1. jack (me) March 8 at 1:56 pm

    More corporate overbranding. I guess, then, that a local bank will be the “Northview B&T, a branch of Northbrook B&T, a Wintrust Community Bank.”

    Maybe enabling business across the company would help, though. When Northview merged with Northbrook, and I went over the then FDIC limit, they wired the money to Barrington B&T, another Wintrust Community Bank, to take advantage of the separate FDIC limit on the separate charter. However, when Barrington B&T quit paying competitive interest, I had to drive out there to get my money.

  2. Brad Andersen March 12 at 8:10 a.m.

    Congratulations to Ed and the team he has working with him. Wintrust is a truly remarkable success story. They continue to deliver on their promise of local community involvement and banking expertise.