Wells Fargo is ramping up its commercial banking business in Wichita with the hiring of four commercial banking veterans.
Officials of Wells Fargo said the new hires reflect the San Francisco-based bank’s decision to further develop its commercial banking business here, beyond the book of business the Kansas City office has been serving in Wichita for about a decade.
Developing that business means having local staff in place, “building relationships with senior management teams,” said Steven Liggett, Wells Fargo senior vice president and regional manager of the bank’s Kansas City Regional Commercial Banking Office. “It’s all focused around people and building relationships. We just couldn’t do that out of our Kansas City office as regularly and consistently as we needed to.”
Ligget said the bank’s commercial lending hires here are: Scott Ochs, team leader and senior relationship manager; Sueanna Budde, credit manager; Rich Trease, senior relationship manager; and Monica Towns, relationship associate and customer service manager.
Ochs and Budde were most recently at Bank of America, while Towns was at Emprise Bank — and before that at Bank of America — and Trease was at GE Capital.
Ochs will report to Liggett.
“We’ve been covering Wichita out of Kansas City … and it just became obvious it’s time (to have permanent staff in Wichita),” Liggett said. “The biggest issue for me was finding the right people.”
“It couldn’t have been a better group of people” that Wells Fargo has hired, Liggett added.
He said in the past year Wells Fargo’s commercial banking business in Wichita has grown about 30 percent.
Wells Fargo operates 125 regional commercial banking offices across the country that are “fairly decentralized in their decision-making,” he said. They generally serve businesses between $10 million and more than $1 billion in annual revenue.
Liggett said Wells Fargo does have a unit that serves businesses with smaller revenue, and “what I’m being told is that they’ve got interest in putting people on the ground (in Wichita) as well, sometime in the next 10 to 12 months.”
Right now, “we bring people out of Kansas City if those opportunities come up,” he said.
Liggett said the Wichita commercial banking office is currently housed in temporary leased space at Terradyne Country Club.
“I’m really letting the team figure out where they want to be, and it looks like downtown,” he said. “(But) we’re really just starting the search for that.”
Wells Fargo, which has $1.3 trillion in assets, came to Wichita in 2008 following its acquisition of the troubled Wachovia Bank, which gave it two bank branches in the city, at 6321 E. Central and 455 S. West St.
The bank also has a presence through its brokerage business, Wells Fargo Advisors, which came to town through its acquisition of Wachovia Securities. The bank also operates Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which has had the longest presence of all Wells’ operations in the city.