Which business line saw the most growth in 2016?
I have the greatest interaction with the community banking line of business, which is our community, retail, consumer and small business focus. As I look at 2016, we benefitted from that distribution because our focus has always been on not only acquiring new customers, but also taking care of our existing customers. We want to build lifelong relationships and the best way to do that is to take care of your existing customers.
What are the expectations of the small business segment?
About 96 percent of businesses are small. They are the largest employer of people. In South Florida, it’s no different. We know that we have a high concentration of small businesses. We have people with entrepreneurial spirits who want to start businesses. Our expectation is that this will continue to grow. For us, it’s a really important segment of our business customer base. Recently, we launched through our Wells Fargo Works website, a new addition to give small businesses more access to credit. Through our small business credit center, now people who are in business can expand and grow. They can acquire other businesses and use our website to learn about what they need to apply for a loan. Once the loan is approved, they can learn about what options they have to use it. We found that, because we pay attention to our small business customers, we know that there is a huge need to develop access to credit in this way. Our expectation is that it will continue to be like it was in 2016.
How might recent regulatory changes, such as the Dodd-Frank, affect institutions in South Florida?
The administration needs time to get settled. We always value consumer protection. We know that good regulation is important. As we look ahead, our hopes will not change. We hope the regulation put in place will protect consumers, expand business and continue to allow us to provide products and services that are important to our customers and our communities.