Banking

SunTrust to keep expanding in Charlotte, exec says

A SunTrust branch on Rea Road in Charlotte in shown in this file photo.
A SunTrust branch on Rea Road in Charlotte in shown in this file photo. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

SunTrust’s new Charlotte-area president said he expects the Atlanta-based bank will keep expanding its local employment as it pushes to do more business in the region.

John Reid, who was named to his role a little more than two months ago, told the Observer in an interview Friday that SunTrust remains “under-penetrated” in Charlotte, a market it entered in 2004. As the company takes advantage of “significant opportunity” to increase its market share across business lines, that should lead to more hiring in Charlotte, he said.

“I think we could quadruple our business in Charlotte, and that’s just going to naturally take additional employees,” said Reid, 52, who previously worked as Mid-Atlantic corporate banking head for HSBC before stepping into his new position.

SunTrust has bulked up its Charlotte presence since entering North Carolina through acquiring Tennessee’s National Commerce Financial. In 2015, it deepened its local roots by opening a regional headquarters in SouthPark. Reid, who is based in that headquarters, said SunTrust now has about 500 employees in the metro area.

In Charlotte’s fiercely competitive banking sector, SunTrust has struggled to increase its market share by deposits. The highest place it’s held is fifth, slipping in 2014 to its current sixth place. Bank of America and Wells Fargo have long remained the dominant players, at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

Reid said years of banks being swallowed up in the Charlotte region have played a role in market share performance. He said he doesn’t get caught up in deposit-based rankings but, instead, is focused on continuing to meet clients’ many needs through “holistic” relationships. He said SunTrust is differentiating itself in the market through a “one-team” approach to serving clients.

“If we do those things correctly, the deposit market share over time will take care of itself,” he said.

Charlotte is a very familiar market to Reid, who said he grew up here and went to college in the state, at Elon and Wake Forest universities.

His roughly 30-year career has included jobs with Charlotte’s First Union and Wachovia, predecessor companies to Wells Fargo, where he’s also worked.

As for future SunTrust job growth in Charlotte, Reid declined to give specifics. But he said Charlotte remains a thriving region and that he expects the company’s local growth to continue and plans to add to his team over the next couple of quarters.

Such plans come as Charlotte business leaders and clients remain in growth mode, although the economy is not expanding as quickly as some might have hoped, Reid said.

“I believe the clients we have are feeling good,” he said.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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