Regional and community banks are carving out niches as asset managers by offering perks and personal services to affluent customers whom bigger rivals often overlook.
Banks are looking to the relative safety and profitability of their wealth management divisions to boost earnings. But with that strategy comes increased regulatory and ethical scrutiny of this business line.
The San Francisco unit of French bank BNP Paribas is in the "early part" of its plans to enlarge its asset-management operations, but Bank of the West already has tripled its number of financial advisors and has doubled its number of wealth-management customers, according to executives. In a joint interview, Bank of the West's John Bahnken and BNP Paribas' Sofia Merlo discuss their future growth plans and how the parent company works with its U.S. subsidiary to determine wealth-management strategy.
About 80% of Bank of the West's wealth management customers are existing customers from elsewhere in the bank, according to John Bahnken, head of wealth management for the San Francisco bank. In a joint interview, Bahnken and Sofia Merlo, co-head of wealth management for parent company BNP Paribas, discusses customer acquisition strategies and how the business works with Bank of the West's retail bank.