Wells Fargo offers small business owners one-stop shopping

Wells Fargo, which has more branches in the Triangle than any other bank, is putting the finishing touches on a revamp of the way it works with businesses and small business owners.

Within the next 30 days, the banking giant expects to have completed the conversion of about 30 of its personal bankers in the Triangle into “business advocates” who can provide one-stop shopping for small business owners.

“In talking with our small business owners, they didn’t like talking to two people – one to handle their business needs and one to handle their personal needs,” said Greg Winkler, regional business banking manager for the eastern half of North Carolina.

The new business advocates provide “one point of contact” for both business and personal banking, Winkler said. “They’re really personal bankers plus business advocates.”

The conversion, which involved training personal bankers to handle business banking issues, began more than a year ago and is part of a broader revamp of Well Fargo’s business banking team in the Triangle.

For small businesses – up to $2 million in annual revenue – with more complex banking issues, or for small business owners who prefer separating their personal and business banking, Wells Fargo has added four business specialists locally, Winkler said.

Those new positions are in addition to the 17 business banking relationship managers in the Triangle who work with larger businesses with between $2 million and $20 million in annual revenue.

Wells Fargo also has added five business development officers – another newly created position – in the Triangle over the past two years. They devote 100 percent of their time trolling for business clients in the Triangle.

“The one thing that has made this successful for us is that all of them are seasoned, tenured, experienced bankers,” Winkler said.

Winkler said the business development officers have enabled Wells Fargo to boost its business loans in the Triangle for business with up to $20 million in revenue by more than 25 percent over the past year.

“We’re taking market share,” he said.

Staff writer David Ranii