A native of Springfield, Mo., Glen Malan moved to Wichita from Detroit in 2014 to take a position with Commerce Bank.
Malan, 50, was promoted last month to executive vice president of the Commerce Trust Co., a division of the bank, for its Wichita region. Malan had worked in the bank’s wealth management position since moving to town.
Eagle business reporter Bryan Horwath spoke with Malan to get his thoughts on his new role and the city he has called home for the past two years.
Q: What are your responsibilities in your new role?
A: I work in a co-regional manager role with my colleague Gaylyn McGregor, who manages the private banking and sales component. I manage the fiduciary and investment management piece of the Commerce Trust Company. My job is, quite simply, to give our clients the best experience they can have, whether that’s investment management or the administration of a trust or estate administration. The majority of my role is helping people with estate plans and business succession planning.
Q: With regard to estate planning and business succession planning, those are important happenings in people’s lives. There can be a lot going on family-wise in those situations and a lot of emotion. How do you handle that?
A: Estate planning and business succession planning go hand-in-hand. The approach that we’ve taken is a holistic approach. As we develop relationships with clients over several years – or even a few decades – we become very knowledgeable of the family dynamics. We learn a lot about the hopes and wishes of the family. Our role is to help clients identify their goals. We memorialize those goals in writing and help develop what I consider to be a template.
We help put a plan in place and then help them communicate that plan with their legal counsel. In many cases, we’re kind of an extension of the family.
Q: You’re fairly new to Wichita. What’s your opinion of the city?
A: I’ve found Wichita to be a wonderful big small town. After coming from a large metropolitan area, I’ve found the quality of life to be fantastic here. There’s so much to do in Wichita.
People often think that smaller communities mean less access or less activities, but I’ve not found that at all. Being back in the Midwest, you appreciate how warm and inviting people are. In a larger metro area, because of long commutes and the hustle-bustle, people become inward focused. In a smaller community, you get the feel that you’re more invited. I felt invited into the community very quickly here.
Q: What are your thoughts on the overall state of the banking industry?
A: There are two camps: Some say the banking industry is over-regulated, while some say it’s not regulated enough. I think the industry has definitely been scrutinized, and I think that it’s a healthy banking environment. That includes retail banking and the trust operations and investments.
The banking industry is changing a lot as generations change, as the baby boomers continue to age. Millennials certainly have a different idea of what banking is, less concerned with brick and mortar, more concerned about mobile and online banking. We’ve seen that in our own bank. Nontraditional used to be telephone banking, now it’s taking a picture of a check and depositing it through your phone.
I think the changes are good, though. It’s about understanding a new generation.
Q: In the Wichita market, there are a lot of banks, credit unions and financial institutions. I’ve heard some call Wichita an overbanked area. Is it?
A: I don’t think this is an overbanked market. I think there’s a place for every player in the market. With trust companies, clients gravitate toward trust companies or investment management firms based on product offering and reputation.
At the end of the day, it’s also about the human experience. I don’t think the human experience, as it relates to wealth management, will ever go away. People want to feel valued, and they want to know that they’re getting the best value.
At the end of the day, I think there’s a place for every bank in Wichita.
The Glen Malan file
Profession: Commerce Trust Co. vice president
Hometown: Springfield, Mo.
Outside the office: Music Theatre of Wichita board member