Banks’ Wealth Management Teams Unite Services

YOUNGSTOWN – Although investing is one of the most visible aspects of wealth management, many other services can help people increase and protect their wealth. And for banks, having expertise in all of those areas means they can offer a complete range of services.

“It’s banking, investing, business administration and insurance. All of that comes together to create a total plan for their estate and for what they want to do with their life,” says Bill Shivers, regional president for Huntington Bank. “We don’t say, ‘This is a private banking customer’ or ‘This is an insurance customer.’ That’s not what we do. We work across all potential means of our customers.”

Uniting those services is a way to expand the established brand of a bank. If customers are already familiar with business lending or checking services, then they know what to expect from a wealth management adviser or private banker.

“When you work with us in wealth management, the majority of our services …  are delivered by Farmers. There is a professional at Farmers who’s delivering that service,” says Mark Wenick, chief wealth management officer for Farmers National Bank and Farmers Trust Co. “We’re not referring you to an outside vendor or someone we have a fee sharing arrangement with or someone who’s unaffiliated. If you like what you get with Farmers and the culture and the feel, that’s pervasive across all our lines of business.”

At Premier Bank, wealth management services are part of the “total package” of working with customers through their entire financial life cycle, says Karen Cohen, vice president and senior trust officer. That could begin with a savings account when a customer is old enough to open one and run through estate planning. At Premier, the wealth management team works with those who already qualify for private banking and those with “high wealth potential – say, a young professional who we expect to need comprehensive financial services as he goes through his career,” she says.

Premier Bank’s wealth management services address private banking, investment and trusts.

A client may have “many accounts that need to be consolidated. All the areas complement each other and add strength to Premier’s ability to do just about anything you need in the financial realms,” Cohen says.

By taking advantage of wealth management services through a bank, customers are connected to all its other offerings, adds Bill Moss, director of portfolio management at Premier. That could mean coordinating with a loan officer or private banker to arrive on the best course of action.

“There’s a wall between the trust department and the bank. But at the end of the day, when we’re sitting with a high net worth client, they have a private banker and a lender … who can partner together to figure out the best solution,” Moss says. “If a client wants fixed income but they’re paying 5% on a loan, it probably makes more sense to pay that loan. Those partnerships can address that.”

One of the most important aspects, is ensuring customers understand their wealth management plans. Beyond ensuring one can live comfortably, Moss says, wealth management is also a tool to ensure children and grandchildren can as well.

“Where I step in after Karen [Cohen] handles the bulk of planning is to remind people that it’s not just, ‘OK, I’m retired. So it’s time to start taking cash.’ There’s generational wealth to consider and people are living longer in retirement. So that’s not appropriate,” he says. “We need people to be comfortable with their approach and how we’ll manage their funds so they can enjoy their lives. We’re a complementary piece to ensure reality is on track with expectation.”