U.S. Bank has high hopes for wealth management

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Wealth management is expected to be one of the high-growth areas for U.S. Bank, the bank's CEO Andy Cecere told analysts at the Deutsche Bank Global Financial Services Conference in New York City on Tuesday.

"Every bank talks about wealth being a priority and it is for us too," he said.

Cecere saw the greatest growth coming from the bank's own customer base, saying that its penetration of customers has the potential to be much greater.
While the penetration could be better across all market segments, the emerging affluent, or those with $200,000 to $3 million in assets, offered the largest opportunity, according to Cecere.

"That's where our focus is," he said.

To address the needs of this market segment, U.S. Bank is implementing a digital advice platform called Future Advisor that automates the decision-making process around investment and asset allocation. It also reorganized its brokerage unit "to be partnered with the bank," Cecere said.

As part of the reorganization, individual financial advisers and their assistants were paired with a private banker, allowing them to "offer the entire bank to the customer base," as Cecere put it.

"The wealth business has made a lot of technology investments over the last few years and I think that they're well-positioned," he said.

U.S. Bank's wealth management business posted solid revenue growth in the first quarter. It generated $193 million, up 6% year-over-year, according to the bank's latest earnings release. The business is part of wealth management and securities services, which earned $109 million on $577 million in revenue.

Cecere noted that lending to the wealthy has been a boon for the bank's lending business. "There was a belief that people with money don't need to borrow money. It couldn't be further from the truth," he said.

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Andy Cecere U.S. Bank