Banks & Finance


Company Profiles

The following companies are top employers in the banks and finance industry in North Carolina based on employment data from Dun and Bradstreet, secondary sources and personal communication with company representatives.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a bank holding company. Wells Fargo Bank is its principal subsidiary with assets of $1.3 trillion, or 89% of Wells Fargo & Company's assets. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the U.S. with more than 6,200 bank branches in 40-plus states (including 316 in North Carolina), and has offices in more than 35 countries, including China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the UK, and Vietnam (1; 3; 4). Community banking represents Wells Fargo's largest segment. Its wholesale banking arm handles corporate banking across the US and around the world; activities include investment banking and capital markets, securities investment, commercial real estate, and capital finance. Its wealth, brokerage, and retirement segment provides financial advisory services. The bank holding company also runs Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Wells Fargo Insurance Services.

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Total Employees (2012): 269,200
NC Employees (2012): 27,200
Total Revenue: $91.25 billion
Year Established: 1852
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking (522110)
Sources: (1; 3; 4)

Brands & Market Segments

The firm's three business segments are: Community Banking, serving consumers and small businesses; Wholesale Banking, whose clients include businesses with annual sales in excess of $20 million and financial institutions; and Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement, a provider of financial advisory services to clients, including ultra-high-worth families and individuals and their endowments and foundations through Abbot Downing (launched in 2012). The new division was formed by the merger of former Wells Fargo Family Wealth and Lowry Hill businesses, which had a nearly $33 billion in combined client assets (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

Mergers and acquisitions have been an important strategy for Wells Fargo. Over the years Wells Fargo has made acquisition both domestically and abroad. Its largest deal to date was the $15 billion acquisition of ailing Wachovia in 2008, which helped double Wells Fargo in size. The deal supplemented the bank's legacy presence in the West and Southwest and grew its presence to 15 additional states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast (1).

Wachovia has proven a rather good fit. Like Wells Fargo, Wachovia was a big mortgage lender. But the acquisition also allowed Wells Fargo to also diversify its business model. It brought in Wachovia Securities (renamed Wells Fargo Advisors), one of the nation's largest retail brokerages and wealth managers. Other positive results of the deal included strengthening Wells Fargo's balance sheet by boosting liquidity and capital (1).

Wells Fargo is also focused on strengthening its business lines. Recent deals have been aimed at beefing up its wholesale banking segment, which offers corporate trust, equipment finance, and institutional asset management through Wells Capital Management. In 2011 Wells Fargo laid out plans to go global. It enhanced its service portfolio with the acquisition of EverKey Global Partners, an investment banking boutique. That year Wells Fargo also boosted its corporate trust services with the acquisition of LaCrosse Global Fund Services from Cargill Incorporated. And in early 2012 Wells Fargo acquired UK asset-based lender Burdale Financial from Bank of Ireland (1). The Company has announced that it is going to withdraw from its eight joint ventures in mortgage lending over 2013 and 2014. Wells Fargo's decision to withdraw is due to the heavy and increasing regulations on mortgage joint ventures. As of 2013, these joint ventures accounted for 3.0% of the company's mortgage production (2).

Global Footprint

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is one of the largest banks in the US with more than 6,200 bank branches in 40-plus states, and has offices in more than 35 countries, including China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the UK and Vietnam (1).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). Wells Fargo Company Profile.
  2. IBIS World
  3. Wells Fargo Public Relations. (2014, March 17). Personal communication.
  4. Wells Fargo. “About: History.” Retrieved March 19, 2014.
Bank of America

Among the nation's largest banks by assets, Bank of America operates one of the country's most extensive branch networks with some 5,300 locations and more than 16,300 ATMs. The financial institution operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in more than 40 countries. Its four global regions comprise the US and Canada; Asia Pacific; Europe; and the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. The bank's core services include consumer and small business banking, corporate banking, credit cards, mortgage lending, and asset management. Its online banking operation counts 30 million active users and 13 million-plus mobile users. Bank of America is also one of the world's leading wealth managers - with more than $2 trillion under management – largely due to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the 2008-2009 U.S. financial crisis (1).

Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
Total Employees (2012): 267,000
NC Employees (2012): 19,000
Total Revenue (2012): $100.1 billion
Year Established: 1884
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking (522110)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

Bank of America sells its banking and non-banking financial services and products through five business segments: Consumer & Business Banking (CBB), Consumer Real Estate Services (CRES), Global Banking, Global Markets, and Global Wealth & Investment Management (GWIM). Its remaining operations are reported as “All Other” (1).

Its CBB segment comprises Deposits, Card Services, and Business Banking, offering both consumers and businesses a diverse range of credit, banking, and investment products and services. Its franchise network stretches coast to coast through 32 states and the District of Columbia.

CRES focuses on Home Loans and Legacy Assets & Servicing. Its Home Loans unit is responsible for ongoing loan production activities and the CRES home equity loan portfolio not selected for inclusion in the Legacy Assets & Servicing owned portfolio.

The Global Banking segment, which includes Global Corporate Baking, Global Commercial Banking, and Investment Banking, provides lending-related products and services, integrated working capital management, treasury solutions, and underwriting and advisory services.

Global Markets offers sales and trading services to institutional clients across fixed-income, credit, currency, commodity, and equity businesses (1).

Bank of America's GWIM segment operates a pair of primary businesses: Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management (MLGWM) and US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management (US Trust). MLGWM’s advisory business provides a high-touch client experience through a network of financial advisors focused on clients with more than $250,000 in total investable assets. US Trust, together with MLGWM’s Private Banking & Investments Group, provides comprehensive wealth management products and services targeted to wealthy and ultra-wealthy clients with investable assets of more than $5 million, as well as customized solutions to meet clients’ wealth structuring, investment management, trust and banking needs, including specialty asset management services (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

Rapid mergers and acquisitions in Bank of America’s predecessors, NationsBank and BankAmerica, characterized the bank’s strategy for decades. However, Bank of America has been working to shrink its branch network by about 10%, halting a two-decade expansion by the mega-bank. The closures reflect an industry-wide trend away from brick-and-mortar banking toward electronic banking. Shortly after acquiring Merrill Lynch, the company began implementing a restructuring plan to cut the combined group's total workforce by some 30,000 (approximately 10% of employees). The company also closed its corresponding mortgage and reverse mortgage origination businesses to better focus on its retail channels.
Bank of America has been exiting some international markets. In 2013 it sold its International Wealth Management business outside the US to Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer. The sale included Merrill Lynch Bank (Suisse) SA, which will be merged into Julius Baer. Other divestments include its Latin American asset management business to the Spanish group. In another deal, Bank of America sold its stake in Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco for some $4.5 billion, which it had gained in an exchange for the operations of BankBoston in Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay (1).

Lawsuits, unfortunately, have also been part of the Bank of America business. The company settled a lawsuit in 2012 for $2.43 billion over accusations that it misled investors about the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. In 2011 Bank of America agreed to another settlement, this time for $315 million over claims that Merrill Lynch made false statements about its mortgage-backed securities sold to investors. In 2012 Bank of America, along with Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial, and Citigroup, reached a $25 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice and 49 state attorneys general related to the “robo-signing” process, through which the companies were able to foreclose on homes at lightning speed without due diligence (1).

Global Footprint

Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. The financial institution operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in more than 40 countries. Its four global regions comprise the U.S. and Canada; Asia Pacific; Europe; and the Middle East, Africa and Latin America (1).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). Bank of America Company Profile.
  2. Bank of America Public Relations. (2014, March 17). Personal communication.

BB&T (Branch Banking & Trust) Corporation is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $182.7 billion in assets and market capitalization of $23.8 billion, as of June 30, 2013. Based in Winston-Salem, NC, the company operates approximately 1,851 financial centers in 12 states and Washington, D.C., and offers a full range of consumer and commercial banking, securities brokerage, asset management, mortgage and insurance products and services (2). BB&T is one of North Carolina's oldest banks and a leading originator of residential mortgages in the Southeast (1).

Headquarters: Winston Salem, NC
Total Employees (2012): 34,000
NC Employees (2012): 13,000
Total Revenue (2012): $10.7 billion
Year Established: 1968
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking (522110)
Sources: (1; 3)

Brands & Market Segments

As part of its business, BB&T operates through six segments: Community Banking, Residential Mortgage Banking, Dealer Financial Services, Specialized Lending, Insurance Services, and Financial Services. It operates in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Greenville, North Carolina; Davie, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Florence, South Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Covington, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; Columbus, Georgia; Clemmons, North Carolina; and Roseland, New Jersey. The company also operates investment bank Scott & Stringfellow (1).

In addition to standard services like deposits and loans, BB&T also offers insurance, mutual funds, discount brokerage, wealth management, financial planning, and business services such as leasing and venture capital. BB&T's bulk allows it to trump smaller competitors, yet the company maintains decentralized regional management of its banks, giving them a community bank feel. BB&T has offices in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, the Carolinas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana, and Washington, DC (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

The company has grown through acquisitions and market expansion. In 1995 it merged with North Carolina's fifth-largest bank, Southern National Corp., founded in 1897. With banking regulations loosening to allow different types of operations, BB&T in 1997 made several acquisitions, including banks, thrifts, and securities brokerage Craigie. BB&T's 1998 activities included three bank acquisitions that pushed it into metro Washington, DC. The company also increased holdings in fields such as insurance sales, venture capital for Southern businesses, and investment banking (through its acquisition of Scott & Stringfellow Financial, the South's oldest NYSE member). In 1999 Craigie was melded into Scott & Stringfellow. That year BB&T bought several insurance companies and small banks. The company bought several Georgia banks and Tennessee's BankFirst. In 2001 BB&T purchased South Carolina's FirstSpartan Financial, multibank holding company Century South Banks, Maryland-based FCNB Corporation, and western Georgia's Community First Banking Company. To bolster its presence in the Washington, DC, market, it bought Virginia Capital Bancshares and F&M National. BB&T purchased Alabama-based Cooney, Rikard & Curtin, a wholesale insurance broker active in 45 states, in 2002. Also that year it added about 100 branches in Kentucky after buying MidAmerica Bancorp and AREA Bancshares, and entered the coveted Florida market following its purchase of Regional Financial, the privately held parent of First South Bank (1).

Acquisitions continued the following three years, as the bank purchased First Virginia Banks in 2005. In 2006, it acquired banks in Georgia (Main Street Banks) and Tennessee (First Citizens Bancorp), and in South Carolina (Coastal Financial) in 2007. In 2008 BB&T bought failed Haven Trust Bank in Georgia. In another FDIC-assisted acquisition of failed Colonial BancGroup in 2009, BB&T assumed ownership of more than 350 bank branches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Nevada, as well as assets and customer deposits (1).

In one of its largest purchases in the insurance segment to date, BB&T in 2012 bought the life and property/casualty division of New Jersey-based wholesale insurance brokerage Crump Group. BB&T has also continued its strategy of purchasing niche financial services companies that offer other products that can be sold at its bank branches. In 2012 Grandbridge Real Estate Capital LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BB&T, acquired Dwyer-Curlett & Co., a top commercial real estate finance firm with three offices in Southern California. The deal has provided BB&T with the opportunity to expand into the California market and connect clients with its real estate capital solutions nationwide. The company also expanded its California operations with the acquisition of Precept Group, an industry-leading full-service employee benefits consulting and administrative solutions firm, and by buying Liberty Benefit Insurance Services of San Jose, California. In 2011 the company entered the metro Baltimore area with the acquisition of Atlantic Risk Management Corporation of Columbia, Maryland (1).

BB&T's Community Banking segment boasted a network of 1,832 banking offices at the end of 2012. BB&T expanded its banking franchise in Florida through the 2012 acquisition of BankAtlantic, a deal that brought in nearly 80 branches. The increase in offices was driven by the BankAtlantic acquisition and de novo branch openings, partially offset by the closing of low volume branches (1).

Besides buying other businesses, BB&T has worked to widen its geographic footprint. In 2012 the company opened 30 new financial centers in Texas that focus on commercial and small business lending in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin areas. It also expanded its insurance portfolio by adding flood insurance to its suite of online products and launched the BB&T LEAP Account, which is a prepaid transaction account specifically designed for teenagers and their parents (1).

Global Footprint

BB&T is headquartered in Winston Salem, NC, and keeps regional management of its banks with offices in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana and Washington, DC (1).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). BB&T Company Profile.
  2. BB&T. (2013). Retrieved from
  3. BB&T Public Relations. (2014, March 17). Personal communication.
PNC Financial Services Group

PNC Financial Services offers a wide range of banking and other financial services. Its flagship PNC Bank subsidiary operates about 2,900 branches in more than a dozen states in the mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, and Florida. In addition to retail and corporate banking, the company offers insurance, investments, personal and institutional asset management, and capital markets products and services. It owns boutique investment bank Harris Williams and about a quarter of money management giant BlackRock (1).

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA
Total Employees (2012): 56,285
NC Employees (est. 2012): 4,200
Total Revenue (2012): $16.6 billion
Year Established: 1982 (as PNC)
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking (522110)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

The diversified financial services organization provides a wide range of services retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government bodies (corporate banking, real estate finance, asset-based lending and other). It also offers wealth management and asset management services (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

PNC has recommitted itself to its core retail, corporate, and mortgage banking activities, and offers corporate and mortgage banking services nationally. The company is focusing on growing via acquisitions, customer retention, and acquiring new customers. On March 2, 2012, PNC acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding common stock of RBC Bank (USA), the U.S. retail banking subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (2). The acquisition extended PNC's retail banking franchise in the Southeast and cemented its place among the five largest U.S. banks (1). In 2011 PNC bought the operations of BankAtlantic in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. The deal included about 20 locations, as well as assets and deposits, and marked the bank's entry into Florida. Later that year, the company expanded in the Atlanta market with the acquisition of 30 branches there from Flagstar Bank. PNC is also looking to add new clients through building relationships with employers and universities (1).

Global Footprint

PNC Bank subsidiary operates about 2,900 branches in more than a dozen states in the mid-Atlantic, the Midwest, and Florida. PNC's major geographic markets located in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, and Virginia. It also maintains corporate & institutional banking offices in Toronto, Canada, specializing in real estate finance, asset-based lending, residential mortgage banking, and treasury management (2).

RBC Bank (acquired in 2012) is based in Raleigh, North Carolina and operated more than 400 branches in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina at the time of acquisition (2).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). PNC Company Profile.
  2. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (2012). Form 10-K for FYE December 31, 2012.
Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third traces its origins to the 1908 merger of Cincinnati's Fifth National Bank and Third National Bank. The company now operates 1,325 Fifth Third Bank branches in a dozen states in the Midwest and Southeast. Its largest markets are Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. In 2008, the company entered the North Carolina market with its purchase of First Charter and some 60 branch offices (1).

Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH
Total Employees (2012): 20,798
NC Employees (2014): 639
Total Revenue (2012): $7.10 billion
Year Established: 1975
Primary NAICS: Commercial Banking (522110)
Sources: (1; 3)

Brands & Market Segments

Fifth Third operates through four segments: branch banking (deposit accounts and loans for consumers and small businesses), commercial banking (lending, leasing, and syndicated and trade finance for corporate clients), consumer lending (residential mortgages, home equity loans, and credit cards), and investment advisers (private banking, brokerage, and asset management) (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

Fifth Third has expanded as a result of strategic mergers and acquisitions throughout its history. In 2001 Fifth Third bought money manager Maxus Investments and added some 300 bank branches with its purchase of Capital Holdings (Ohio and Michigan) and Old Kent Financial (Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois), its largest-ever acquisition. In 2007, it continued growing with its purchase of R-G Crown Bank from R&G Financial, which added some 30 branches in Florida, in addition to locations in Georgia. In 2008, the company entered the North Carolina market with its purchase of First Charter and some 60 branch offices. Other deals during this period included the purchase of 10 Atlanta-area branches from First Horizon National and the takeover of insolvent Freedom Bank in an FDIC-assisted transaction (which added another four Florida locations). In late 2012 it expanded in the St. Louis region through two new locations. Fifth Third seeks to strengthen its loan portfolio, and is on the lookout for strategic growth opportunities, either through opening new branches or through buying other banks or bank branches. The company has also targeted private banking, treasury management, and small business services as areas ripe for growth (1).

Global Footprint

Fifth Third operates over 1,300 branches in Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia (2).

  1. Hoover’s. (2013). Fifth Third Bank Company Profile.
  2. Fifth Third Bank. (2013). Retrieved from
  3. Fifth Third Bank Public Relations. (2014, March 17). Personal communication.