Global Finance announces the best US regional private banks. 

Author: Joel Kranc

If a pandemic, war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions and overall market turmoil has shown the regional banking world anything, it’s that a connection to a customer base and customized solutions are key differentiators for growth. “Banking customers are expecting more from their banks,” comments Deloitte in announcing its 2023 Banking and Capital Markets Outlook. “They are clamoring for a superior cross-channel experience and hands-on guidance during challenging times. These heightened demands will require banks to go beyond a product lens and create customer experiences that are data-driven, consistent across channels and complete with personalized advice.” The 2023 award winners are taking that message to heart.


MID-ATLANTIC

Fifth Third Private Bank

Consultation and customization are key drivers of Fifth Third Private Bank’s success and dedication to clients. In 2021, the private bank’s assets under management reached $38 billion, and year-over-year loan growth was 4%. Deposits grew by that same number. But last year’s creation of Fifth Third’s Business Transition Advisory Team (BTAT), a Private Bank team dedicated solely to preparing business owners financially and personally for their business transitions, really expanded the reach and services to a greater segment of the market. BTAT advisers work with the Private Bank, Commercial Bank and Fifth Third’s other lines of business to meet clients’ needs.

“This dedication is manifested in our client relationships,” says Kris Garrett, group regional president and head of Wealth and Asset Management at Fifth Third Bank. “Our relationships are deeper and more meaningful because of our investment in time, insight and customized wealth strategies. We understand what’s important to clients, uncover risks and spark critical conversations. It’s all part of the ongoing, consultative value of a relationship with Fifth Third Private Bank.”

Digital banking is also in Fifth Third’s DNA, as clients who use Fifth Third Private Bank’s digital Life360 platform have a stronger overall relationship with the bank. These Private Bank clients have higher loyalty scores and Net Promoter scores, and rate higher in the category of “Extremely Satisfied.”

MIDWEST

Old National

A merger between Old National Bancorp and First Midwest Bancorp has created the powerhouse under the banner of Old National. Combined assets are $46 billion, with $34 billion of AUM. Founded on community banking principles, Old National has also been recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for 11 consecutive years.

Old National has recently expanded into the Nashville, Tennessee area with the hiring of seven wealth management professionals. The experienced team, with an average tenure of over 20 years in wealth/investment services, will be led by Steve Cook, who will serve as market president. This group will lead and operate a new wealth management office under the 1834 brand, the new high net worth brand of the Old National Wealth Group.

NORTHEAST

Fieldpoint Private

Fieldpoint Private, having taken this same award last year, is always innovating. The bank is making investments to increase capacity to serve entrepreneurs and their families, from New England to Florida. This has resulted in bank asset growth of nearly 40% in the past year and Fieldpoint’s status in the top 5% of fastest-growing banks in the US on an organic, non-M&A basis. Also, a new business model has been introduced to serve as a boutique private bank serving the independent-adviser community and its clients. With knowledge of local markets and a new business model, Fieldpoint can roll out new technologies giving advisers a real-time view of client accounts and transactions. This boutique private banking solution for approximately 10,000 independent investment advisers and their clients in the US will represent at least $5 trillion in assets, with a significant coefficient of bank loan and deposit assets.

Also, in May 2022, Fieldpoint announced the launch of a sophisticated full-service trust company, Fieldpoint Private Trust, in response to widespread demand from clients, advisers, bankers and others. Executive chairman Tim Tully said, “People are looking for a new kind of trust company, where investment advice is independent rather than self-serving, and where wealth advisers and their long-term trusted client relationships are placed at the center. It’s also vital for an effective trust company to be domiciled in a location that empowers clients to benefit from the most progressive and advantageous trust laws.”

SOUTHEAST

Synovus

Synovus Financial has approximately $57 billion in AUM and operates 270 branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Its strategy is to understand the client picture as a whole and build a team around that client and their goals. A single point of access also helps Synovus home in on the needs of wealthy clients and strategies to grow wealth.  Synovus’ Trust and Family Office offers clients estate planning and settlement, asset management and trust administration. It has a new online platform that allows clients to view account information, including performance, projected income and customizable account groupings. “We demonstrated ongoing progress this quarter as we continue to execute our strategic growth plan,” says Synovus President and CEO Kevin Blair. “Our strong third-quarter performance is a result of increased productivity; deepened, more profitable client relationships; and prudent expense management.”

SOUTHWEST

PNC Private Bank

Along with its purchase of BBVA, PNC Private Bank has taken a long, hard look at its more than 250 investment advisers. In June, the bank adopted a more regionally focused structure that reflects its national expansion and growth while aligning with its “Main Street Bank” model. The idea is to focus on local organization of its businesses. “Since growing our footprint in the Southwest region of the US, PNC Bank as a whole has worked diligently and expeditiously to meet the needs of our customers and clients there,” says Don Heberle, head of PNC Private Bank. “The PNC Private Bank team in the Southwest understands the unique nuances of serving clients in the region while at the same time staying true to the core of our approach: helping clients achieve the ‘why’ behind their wealth.” The bank also created a new position, head of US markets, whose responsibility is to look after sales and client experiences throughout the country. PNC now also serves seven regions, up from its previous five.

WEST

City National

City National Bank, headquartered in Southern California, with most of its branches located in Los Angeles metro or the Bay Area, also has locations in Washington, DC, and five other cities, including New York City and Minneapolis. City National Bank’s acquisition by Royal Bank of Canada in 2015 enables it to offer “big bank capabilities” to its clients. City National Bank had $91.2 billion in assets as of July, $79 billion in deposits, $59.1 billion in AUM and $83 billion in assets under administration. The bank opened seven branches in Los Angeles in 2021, during the height of the pandemic. The branch expansions are part of a larger growth spurt underway at the bank—LA County’s largest in assets. City National also expanded its private banking team to advise wealthy customers in Philadelphia and Morristown, New Jersey; and it appointed a former Wells Fargo executive, Abel Moñtaez, to head up the private banking line.