Bank Watch

TIAA CEO sees growth in Charlotte, but likely more in other locations

TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson, right, talks to business students at UNC Charlotte on Wednesday.
TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson, right, talks to business students at UNC Charlotte on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte

The chief executive of TIAA said the New York-based financial services provider expects “probably only marginal growth” this year in its Charlotte hub, while other U.S. sites may expand faster from acquisitions.

With more than 3,000 workers, Charlotte remains TIAA’s largest employment center outside of New York, where it has about 2,000 employees. During a visit Wednesday to Charlotte, CEO Roger Ferguson said he expects TIAA to maintain “a really strong presence” in Charlotte “even as we grow around the country.”

“I suspect because we’re doing acquisitions ... that we may grow more rapidly other places,” Ferguson told the Observer at UNC Charlotte, where he spoke to business students.

TIAA, whose services include managing retirement assets for university employees and other nonprofits, has expanded its presence in Charlotte and elsewhere under Ferguson, who became CEO in 2008.

The company, which changed its name from TIAA-CREF last year, has had a presence in Charlotte since 2001, when it opened a campus in University City. TIAA also has operations in Ballantyne.

In September, TIAA announced an undisclosed number of nationwide layoffs, including some in Charlotte.

Ferguson, 65, who plans to retire in 2020, has pushed the not-for-profit corporation into new areas, such as online bank TIAA Direct, which started in 2012 and serves consumers of all types.

In a deal announced last year, TIAA said it was buying Florida-based EverBank Financial, in a move to boost TIAA’s banking business. The $2.5 billion acquisition is expected to be complete in the first half of this year.

“I expect the company to continue to grow,” Ferguson said. “I think some will certainly be in Charlotte. But a lot of our growth has been from acquisitions and bringing in new people in other locations.”

Ferguson, a former Federal Reserve vice chair who lives in Washington, D.C., and commutes to New York, said he tries to visit Charlotte three to four times a year.

“We love this campus,” he said. “We find good talent in the talent pool here.”

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts