You wouldn’t know it by talking to the soft-spoken leader that she is, but Iris Chan, head of commercial banking at Wells Fargo, has turned cross-selling into an art. “Wells Fargo is very strong in middle market business,” according to Judson Murchie, an analyst at Aite Group. “They tend to emphasize client relationships. They’ve done a great job with cross selling. Somehow they have figured out how to reach deeper into customer needs.”
Commercial Banking is the largest component of Wells Fargo Wholesale Banking, but its financials are not publicly divulged. Still, Commercial Banking reached cross-sell of 7.8 products per middle-market commercial banking customer—a record performance. The larger Wholesale Banking entity reported record revenues of $2.5 billion in second-quarter 2008. Net income slid 10 percent to $557 million from $621 million in the similar 2007 period, pulled down by a credit loss provision of $245 million. Even so, net interest income rose 15 percent to $1.02 billion, average loans jumped 32 percent to $107.6 billion, and core deposits increased by 14 percent to $65.8 billion—impressive numbers in the midst of a financial market recession.
Chan’s focus on customer needs was reflected in a December 2007 Greenwich Associates’ study, which showed Wells Fargo Commercial Banking leading its peers in customer satisfaction, highest number of lead relationships, and above-market-standard relationship management performance scores. In 2007, 32 percent of Greenwich survey respondents named Wells Fargo as their most important provider of financial services; 30 percent of those surveyed rated their satisfaction as excellent.
Chan’s commitment to a diversified, high-quality commercial credit portfolio has paid off with an AAA rating from Moody’s for Wells as a whole: The bank is the only one in the U.S. and one of two worldwide to have garnered the highest possible credit rating from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
And last year she implemented a strategic sales planning process to document, track, report and coordinate initiatives between Commercial Banking and its business line partners. The move increased cross-sell revenue by 18 percent, and led to a cross-sell ratio of nearly eight products per relationship. Chan also created a Web site to provide real-time calling results for all sales professional and relationship managers, resulting in a 20-percent year-over-year increase in new business sales.
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