In boom times and in bear markets, it's all about customers. That's Carrie Tolstedt's view. "I'm proud of our team's passion and commitment to helping customers," says Wells Fargo's senior evp for community banking. "There's no greater compliment from a customer than giving us more business." Despite the economic environment, community banking experienced double-digit growth in product sales in 19 of its 23 states during the first half of 2008.

Tolstedt is responsible for retail and business banking, including consumer and business deposits, Business Direct accounts, and Wells Fargo's national home equity group. Her corporate-wide responsibilities encompass enterprise marketing, including advertising, brand management, customer research, and merchandising, and diverse growth markets.

For financial reporting, Wells' Community Banking results include the Mortgage and Wealth Management Groups, which did not fall under Tolstedt's purview. While Community Banking's net income declined 18 percent to $1.23 billion in the second quarter from $1.5 billion in the year-earlier period, the decrease reflected a $1.1 billion credit reserve built largely to accommodate the deteriorating mortgage market. Revenue increased 22 percent to $7.55 billion; net-interest income improved 28 percent to $4.14 billion; average loans rose 16 percent to $215.9 billion; and core deposits grew four percent to $253.6 billion.

Retail bank household cross-sell reached 5.64 in the second quarter, up from 5.4 in second-quarter 2007, with 23 percent of households buying eight or more products. Core product sales jumped 18 percent to 5.67 million in second quarter 2008 from the similar 2007 period. Consumer checking accounts rose a net 5.5 percent in the second quarter, the strongest growth in three years. Small business checking accounts increased 2.4 percent year over year, and business-banking sales jumped 18 percent.

Meanwhile, customer loyalty has risen by seven percent since 2006, propelled by an 11 percent improvement in welcoming and wait time survey scores over the same period. "We continue to invest in the business by adding bankers and adding store locations," Tolstedt notes. "It all comes down to execution. Our team is passionate about helping customers succeed financially. The economy will be what the economy will be, and we have to focus on what we can control-the customer's success."

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