SunTrust CEO points to Rich­mond’s im­por­tance

Rogers says changes are a ‘re­con­fir­ma­tion’ of the bank’s in­vest­ments here

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - BUSINESS - BY JOHN REID BLACK­WELL jblack­well@times­dis­ (804) 775-8123

SunTrust Banks Inc.’s de­ci­sion to fold its Vir­ginia di­vi­sion into a broader Mid-At­lantic di­vi­sion does not change its busi­ness strat­egy in the state, the com­pany’s top ex­ec­u­tive said Thurs­day dur­ing a visit to the Rich­mond re­gion.

“I would not say it is a re­align­ment — I would say it is a re­con­fir­ma­tion of the in­vest­ments we have made here,” said William H. Rogers Jr. the At­lanta-based com­pany’s chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

SunTrust an­nounced the change in Septem­ber and named Dan O’Neill as pres­i­dent of the Mid-At­lantic di­vi­sion, which also in­cludes Mary­land and the Dis­trict of Columbia. The change fol­lowed the de­par­ture of Vir­ginia di­vi­sion pres­i­dent John Stallings, who took an ex­ec­u­tive role with Rich­mond-based Union Bank & Trust.

SunTrust is one of the largest em­ploy­ers in the Rich­mond re­gion, with more than 3,000 em­ploy­ees in the area, and Rogers said he ex­pects the com­pany will grow in the re­gion.

“Rich­mond has been, for a long time, an im­por­tant mar­ket for us,” he said.

“I can’t say for cer­tain whether we will have more peo­ple here in the next few years, but I can say we will have more in­vest­ments here,” he said. “We are cre­at­ing a lot more ca­pac­ity in our com­mer­cial bank­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Rogers’ visit to Rich­mond in­cluded vis­it­ing clients and em­ploy­ees and par­tic­i­pat­ing in one of the Univer­sity of Rich­mond’s C-Suite Con­ver­sa­tions, a se­ries of dis­cus­sions at the Robins School of Busi­ness in which stu­dents in­ter­act with busi­ness lead­ers.

“What we have found is Rich­mond is a great place to re­cruit,” Rogers said af­ter the UR event. “It is a busi­ness-friendly en­vi­ron­ment. You have a lot of univer­sity en­gage­ment and grad­u­ates with a lot of skill sets.”

Rogers also was pro­mot­ing a pro­gram that SunTrust is of­fer­ing to busi­nesses to help their em­ploy­ees im­prove their fi­nan­cial well­ness.

The “Mo­men­tum onUp” pro­gram of­fers in-per­son ses­sions and on­line re­sources to help peo­ple es­tab­lish fi­nan­cial goals, start an emer­gency sav­ings fund and man­age ex­penses

“I think com­pa­nies have done a good job talk­ing about phys­i­cal well-be­ing, and we have made a lot of ad­vance­ment,” Rogers said. “But if you poll em­ploy­ees, about three-fourths of them don’t think that we care, as in­dus­tries, about their fi­nan­cial well-be­ing.”

SunTrust first pro­vided the pro­gram to 15,000 of its own em­ploy­ees be­fore of­fer­ing it to busi­ness clients. “It has had a lot of the re­sults that we wanted to see — im­proved re­ten­tion, im­proved per­for­mance and en­gage­ment,” Rogers said. “We view em­ploy­er­driven fi­nan­cial well-be­ing as a re­ally key com­po­nent of suc­cess.”


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