When it comes to private banking, what UMB Financial Corp. lacks in product, it plans to make up for in service.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based banking company created a new private client group staffed with 32 "financial concierges." The concierges are formerly members of UMB's trust, retail banking, and commercial lending departments.

"We want to manage the relationship and put the experts in place to do that," said Sheila Kemper Dietrich, the UMB senior vice president directing the private client group.

"We know folks are going to want investments that our advisers can't do. Everything cannot be provided in terms of product by this bank, but we will provide everything in terms of services."

Previously, private banking at UMB meant servicing retail clients who had several accounts and complicated finances. But the efforts were never coordinated.

Meanwhile, small financial planning firms were pitching themselves to UMB clients as nimble experts who could do everything from picking investments to doing taxes.

The new private client group is now setting its sights on the bank's core business customers: family-owned businesses.

It will cross-sell the family members everything from investments, Mastercards, and debit cards to mortgages and swing loans.

For investments it does not offer, UMB plans to align itself with other financial institutions. The bank, for instance, only has $1 billion in proprietary mutual fund assets, but it provides custody services to 340 mutual fund portfolios managed outside of UMB.

"Too many banks are pushing proprietary product and don't go that extra step through private banking services that will monitor investments," said Keith Sjogren of Toronto-based Taddingstone Consulting Group. "That concept needs to be put up front by more banks."

The company's "most significant source of fee income" is the trust department, according to its 1996 annual report. The department, which has 350 employees and 5,700 accounts, manages approximately $10.5 billion in discretionary trust assets.

"We're saying we are already coordinators. Banks are the only ones that currently can package all the elements in one place, loans, mutual funds, etc.," Ms. Dietrich said. "We can provide better service and more profitability by using the overhead that already exists in the bank."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.