The biggest bank operating in South Carolina has restructured and streamlined its commercial lending business under a Charleston-based executive.
Wells Fargo & Co. announced that Thomas Anderson has been named to the top post for the newly decentralized division, which works with business and government clients with annual revenue of $5 million to $2 billion.
Suzanne Morrison, who heads up the Carolinas commercial division for Wells Fargo, said Anderson brings "passion and proven leadership" to the job.
Previously, Anderson was regional vice president of middle market banking for the Midlands and Lowcountry since 2014. That division and two others now report to one boss rather than three.
Anderson said the simplified chain of command creates “a lot of synergies” in setting strategy and identifying opportunities with businesses, government agencies and institutional clients.
“Now we’re more of a regional model,” he said. “Previously, it was more of a segmented model.”
The commercial lending unit has about 100 bankers and other workers beating the bushes in South Carolina. The primary offices are in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville but the division works with customers statewide, said Anderson, who was raised in Atlanta, has roots in Rock Hill and is a graduate of The Citadel.
"If I got to pick the perfect job, it's what I have now," he said.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo expanded its presence in South Carolina around the height of the 2008 financial crisis with its purchase of the wounded Wachovia franchise. It's the largest of the roughly 80 federally insured financial institutions that operate in the state based on deposits and branches.
In 2014, the banking giant made Charleston the home base for its Carolinas commercial lending unit by moving the division to downtown Charleston from Columbia. The head office for the two-state region was later relocated to Charlotte, where it remains.
Anderson started his banking career with Wachovia 20 years ago, giving him a prime seat to the industry's ups and downs of the past two decades. He can recall "the good times in 2000, the challenges in 2008 and the good times again."
That's not to mention the nationwide fake-account scandal from three years ago that rocked the consumer side of the bank and cost Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan his job. The fallout had no impact on the commercial division, Anderson said.
For now, "business is good" and as competitive as he's ever seen it in South Carolina, he said.
"Charleston is hot, but I spend two or three days a week traveling throughout all parts of the state, and I'm equally impressed with Columbia and the Midlands as I am the Upstate. ... You have big industry coming to each part."