Banking Trends & Trendsetters
Themes from Federal Reserve research and FLORIDA TREND'S interviews with senior bank executives in Florida.
• Shelley Freeman
Florida president of community banking
Summer weekends: Driving from her home in Aventura to the Panhandle. "I'm certainly getting to see a lot of Florida end to end."
Compared to L.A.: Miami's a lot more compact and has less traffic.
Interests: Beach, walking the dog on the beach, theater, movies
Gadget-crazed: BlackBerry, Kindle and iPad
Last book read: "Every Last One" by Anna Quindlen.
[Photo: Mark Wemple]
With family in Florida and with many a vacation spent with them and at Disney in the last 40 years, Shelley Freeman says she always intended to move here. She even bought property in the Panhandle for some day.
Her plans accelerated drastically with Wells Fargo's acquisition of Wachovia in 2008. In January 2009, she was brought from Los Angeles, where she headed community banking in the metro, to lead Wells' Florida operations.
Wells is adding bankers "as quick as we can." She tells prospects: "Working for Wells Fargo is like playing centerfield for the New York Yankees ... and I'm a Yankees fan, by the way. I probably shouldn't say that. It's a great brand, a great company and a great place to work."
Freeman joined Wells in 1996 after a career in marketing and high net worth services with Lehman Bros. For San Francisco-based Wells, she ran marketing and other functions in private client services and was regional president in Los Angeles. She remains national co-leader of the bank's affluent customer support strategy.
Freeman is encouraged that Wells' Florida checking accounts grew a net 7.3% in the second quarter. Next year, Wachovia branches in Florida will take the Wells name. The company recently signed a lease for its community banking state headquarters in Miami at the towering new Met2 office building, to be renamed the Wells Fargo Center.
Freeman, 52, says she has no doubts about Florida's future. "As things get better in other places, things will get better in Florida. Florida is the place people have come for generations to fulfill their dreams. That's not going to change."
And, she adds, "They'll buy our inexpensive real estate at prices they haven't seen in a long time."