Wells Fargo to open upscale bank

Nov. 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Wells Fargo & Co. said it is opening an upscale bank with an office in Chicago that most U.S. wage earners, if not all, will likely never enter.

Named after Abbot Downing, a 19th century carriage builder who catered to the wealthy, the bank will open to customers worth $50 million or more, Scripps Howard News Service reported Saturday.

As new regulations put the squeeze on bank revenues, limiting fees banks can collect from the little guys, banks are opening their doors to the wealthy to increase profits. Last spring, U.S. Bancorp said it would launch a similar retail banking business, aiming for clients with at least $25 million in assets.

The head of Abbott Downing, Jim Steiner, said the bank would be "very boutiquey."

The bank would focus, he said, on baby boomers reaching retirement age but with large portfolios under transition.

"I think over the next five to 10 years, there's going to be more and more of those kinds of liquidity transactions," he said.

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