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Wells Fargo logs growth in Rochester market

Rochester Business Journal
January 3, 2014

See correction below.

The Rochester market provided double-digit growth for Wells Fargo & Co. in the 12 months since it established a presence in commercial banking here, and the San Francisco-based bank continues to explore further expansion in the area, officials say.
 
"It's gone very well," said Richard Ferrari, senior vice president of commercial banking in Rochester.
 
"This is a long-range business, and Wells is here for the long haul. We've been very well-received by the market. We've made contact with a lot of key players. We've been booking business and growing and have a very big pipeline."
 
Wells Fargo initiated commercial banking here in November 2012 from its Wells Fargo Advisors LLC office on Pittsford-Victor Road.
 
The bank declined to provide financial details on activity in the Rochester market, but the Rochester and Buffalo markets have grown by at least 10 percent in 2013 in loans, credit facility, revenues, profitability, treasury management, international services and product referrals, Ferrari said.
 
"Rochester has grown significantly, even more so than Buffalo, because we're essentially a startup," he said. "We've become large and meaningful."
 
The Wells Capital Finance LLC division, Ferrari said, financed the software purchases of Kodak Alaris Document Imaging, a Rochester-based business that plans to employ as many as 1,000 people.
 
"We have a very strong focus on technology and software, which ties into what's going on in the Rochester area," he said. "Alaris is an example.
 
"This area is very technology-oriented, and many of the new businesses are technology-based. The repopulation of Kodak and the Eastman Business Park is being driven by technology, so we're well-positioned there and should see a lot of growth."
 
Wells Fargo is the leading lender and business services provider in the agribusiness sector, Ferrari said.
 
"That includes all the food and beverage processing, which is a huge industry in this area," he said. "We're involved with many of the food processors, as well as food and beverage."
 
Wells Fargo has played a lead role in acquisitions involving Constellations Brands Inc., which is based in Victor, Ontario County, Ferrari said.
 
"We're an excellent international provider, very strong in Canada," he said. "This is per capita one of the strongest areas for international business."
 
Wells Fargo is the fourth-largest bank in the nation, with total assets of $1.5 trillion.
 
It posted record net income of $18.9 billion in 2012, up 19 percent from 2011, and record earnings per share of $3.36, also up 19 percent from the year before, according to a 2013 proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
Wells Fargo Bank N.A. ranked third in the Rochester market behind M&T Bank Corp. and First Niagara Bank N.A. with $5.5 million in 7(a) loans issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
 
Wells Fargo Advisors ranks fourth on the Rochester Business Journal's most recent list of brokerage firms with 47 local brokers and 67 total employees.
 
A retail branch network in Rochester remains a possibility, Ferrari said.
 
"We want to be here in a much bigger way, and we will get here in a bigger way," he said. "The current regulatory environment makes it very hard to do substantial acquisitions, and that continues to be the case. We will find a way, somehow, to get more resources on the ground."
 
As head of commercial banking, Ferrari deals with middle-market businesses with revenues of $20 million to $1 billion.
 
Wells Fargo also is the leading provider of residential mortgages nationally, he said.
 
"That's a big consumer business," he said. "And our Wells Fargo Advisors, which is basically a retail area, is one of the top financial advisory firms (nationally).
 
"We have a significant amount of clients. So it's going to happen where we ultimately find a way to provide a full level of consumer service."

1/3/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.

CORRECTION: In an article about Wells Fargo & Co.'s Perinton office in the Jan. 3 edition, a local company financed by Wells Capital Finance LLC was misidentified. The company is Calero Software LLC in Henrietta.


1/10/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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