Wells Fargo hopes for more UK expansion

Tim Wallace
Follow Tim
Wells Fargo has historic roots in the US, but has had a UK presence for more than 100 years
GIANT US retail bank Wells Fargo saw profits edge up in the final quarter, led by steady loan and deposit growth.

The bank has expanded into areas such as asset-based lending in the UK, and has plans to expand the business further, on the basis that mid-sized firms have traditionally been under-served by large international banks.

Wells Fargo recorded net income of $23.1bn (£15.2bn) for 2014 as a whole, up five per cent on the year.

And in the final quarter, net income came in at $5.7bn, up two per cent on the same period of 2013.

Wells Fargo’s wholesale banking chief Timothy Sloan said he has plans for a strong expansion in the UK – but with sales to companies, rather than the high street market which has seen a wave of new entrants.

“We don’t see a big opportunity in retail banking outside the US, because most markets are is already overbanked from retail perspective,” he told City A.M.

“We think we would get a better return on the wholesale side.”

In the UK “Burdale and Wells Fargo Capital Finance have doubled the number of clients in the past two years.”

He also hopes the bank will appeal to US and UK firms which want to export across the Atlantic or to other countries where Wells Fargo has a major presence.

“We surveyed our US customers, and the UK turned out to be the number one choice of the highest number of mid-market clients – above Canada or China. The historic ties run deep,” said Sloan.

The bank’s shares closed down 1.2 per cent after the financial results were published.