Wells Fargo moves business lending hub for eastern South Carolina to Charleston

Wells Fargo said it is seeing big demand from business borrowers near and along the South Carolina coast.

Growing demand from business borrowers along the coast has prompted Wells Fargo to shift it commercial banking hub for eastern South Carolina to Charleston

The office previously had been in Columbia, said Stan Gibson, head of commercial banking for the Carolinas for the San Francisco-based financial giant.

It now operates from Wells Fargo’s local headquarters at 177 Meeting St. in the city’s historic district. It’s headed by recently promoted regional vice president Thomas J. Anderson Jr., who has been with the bank and its Southeast-based predecessors for about 15 years.

The Charleston office is responsible for the area east of U.S. Interstate 95, from the Grand Strand down to the Georgia line.

Gibson, who moved to Charleston last year, attributed the relocation to the “double-digit growth” Wells Fargo has seen in that part of the state from its “middle-market” commercial borrowers. They include manufacturers, agribusinesses, health care firms, hospitality companies and commercial real estate ventures. Their average annual revenues in the $150 million to $1 billion range. Wells Fargo said a typical loan for those customers runs anywhere from $15 million to $25 million.

“We put our resources where we feel the opportunity for growth is greatest,” Gibson said.

He added that the Charleston office has local authorization for the coastal territory, meaning larger loans don’t have to be sent to a committee outside the region or the state for approval.

“It’s managed locally,” Gibson said. “I think that’s a real differentia tor for us.”

Wells Fargo expanded its South Carolina footprint in big way around the height of the 2008 financial crisis, with its purchase of ailing Wachovia Bank.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.