Wells Fargo opens Fort Wayne commercial banking office

September 3rd, 2015

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Wells Fargo opens Fort Wayne commercial banking office

Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:00 pm By Doug LeDuc

Up to 3,000 Hoosier companies have annual revenues ranging from $20 million to $2 billion and Wells Fargo serves enough of them in northeast Indiana to open its first middle market commercial banking satellite office in Fort Wayne.

The office opened in May at 111 E. Wayne St., in the same building where Wells Fargo has its business banking group. Lex Curry, who manages Wells Fargo’s regional commercial banking office in Indianapolis, said Fort Wayne got the satellite office partly because the bank found the perfect professional to build its business.

After nearly four year away from the bank, John Burda returned to Wells Fargo as the regional group manager with a mission to open the office and grow it.

“I bring a unique perspective because I’ve got an understanding from the other side of the desk of what corporate CFOs and business owners are actually looking for from their banks, because I sat on that side of the desk,” Burda said.

“The four years prior to joining Wells Fargo I was actually the corporate treasurer at Vera Bradley here in town. I sat on that side of the desk and I was working with a variety of banks trying to solve some of Vera’s issues and things that they were facing from a finance perspective.”

Burda was with Wells Fargo from 2009 to 2011, serving as the main point of contact for 30 business banking clients. Prior to that, he worked for the Northern Trust Co. and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has an MBA from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois.

The proximity of the satellite office to northeast Indiana’s businesses will make it easier for Wells Fargo to stay in close contact with them, Curry said.

Face-to-face meetings are important, because Wells Fargo takes a long-term view on building relationships, Burda said.

“We’re not really out there pushing specific products,” he said. “A lot of what we’re doing in the middle market area is very customized, so we have to get to know the business owners and have to get to know their finance professionals and it takes time to build those relationships.”

Wells Fargo’s regional commercial banking office in Indianapolis opened 11 years ago and grew to its current size one customer at a time without picking and choosing any particular industries to serve and without behaving any differently during any part of an economic cycle, Curry said.

That will be the approach the satellite office takes with its business development, he said.

“There are excellent operators and excellent management teams in every industry and we want to make sure that we have a chance to become their bank,” he said.

To compete for that business through the quality of service it offers, Wells Fargo also has developed a lot of proprietary commercial banking software, which it makes accessible through a convenient commercial electronic office portal, he said.

Just learning that Wells Fargo has opened a middle market commercial banking satellite office in Fort Wayne could be all it takes to prompt some potential customers to ask about its services.

And the office will benefit from referrals made by existing customers, Curry said.