Following a strategy of expansion in key wealth centers, Chemical Banking Corp. is putting private banking offices in two additiional cities.
The recent launch of a Chemical private banking office in Naples, Fla., will be followed in October by an opening in Greenwich, Conn., according to John R. Fox, Chemical's managing director for private banking.
Mr. Fox said the openings support the bank's strategy of expanding in key locations - an offshoot of a plan to concentrate on profitable businesses.
Last December the bank announced it was embarking on a two-year broad restructuring aimed at cutting costs. At the same time, Chemical said it was focusing on investing in "high-growth businesses" that included credit cards and private banking.
Private banking, which includes various personalized services for the affluent, is seen as a double-digit growth business for Chemical, according to the bank.
"Management support for private banking has never been better," Mr. Fox said.
Chemical's domestic private banking targets are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, and California Mr. Fox said. He added that about 60% of this country's wealth, as well as many of Chemical's clients, are concentrated in those six states.
In Florida, Chemical already had offices in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Miami. Given that many of Chemical's affluent clients move to Florida, there is potential for even more business in that state, Mr. Fox said. There are plans for as many as three other Florida offices in the future, he said.
The Greenwich location is Chemical's first full private banking office in Connecticut. The bank has had an office in Stamford for 10 years servicing middle-market clients.
The Greenwich office will be staffed by 10 executives and it will offer specialized lending, trust, and money management.
That office made sense, Mr. Fox said, because about 1,000 households with private banking ties to Chemical live in affluent Fairfield County, which includes Greenwich.
Offices like the one in Greenwich and which operate as federal saving bank branches, Mr. Fox said, are a relative inexpensive way to get a foothold in attractive areas and look for possible acquisitions.
But Mr. Fox warned that a lot of institutions are trumpeting their services to the wealthy. He said Chemical, with 171 years in private banking and well over $47 billion in assets under management, is well positioned to capture that market.
"This is the kind of business that takes a lot of generations to develop," Mr. Fox said.