Now that the infrastructure is in place, Umpqua Private Bank is ready to scale the business, says Kelly Johnson, the executive vice president of the wealth management division.

Since the private bank was established in Portland in August 2009, it has gained more than 300 clients with an average of $1.4 million in deposits, loans and trust and investment assets. It is now looking to branch out beyond Portland to San Francisco and Seattle, where many millionaires, the bank’s target client, reside. 

“The growth really has begun to accelerate,” Johnson said in a telephone interview.

Johnson has ambitious growth goals for the private bank. He is aiming to grow the bank’s overall portfolio balances of about $425 million to more than $4 billion in the next five years, a goal he says is “very achievable” with the right hires.

Over the next five years, Johnson plans to add 20 to 25 private bank advisors to the current five now on staff. “That takes our business from where we are today to more than 10 times in five years,” Johnson said.

The private bank advisors, who serve as primary relationship managers, are supported by a team of professionals that Johnson worked hard to build. He took advantage of the economic downturn in 2009 to hire top talent for the team, which includes trust, financial planning, investment and other specialists. “We were blessed to start the business when many companies were contracting their businesses,” he said. 

Johnson joined the Umpqua Bank in January 2009 from RBC Wealth Management to lead the then newly formed wealth management division. Since his arrival, he has focused on establishing the bank’s core service components, which consists of wealth management, fiduciary services and financial planning.

The financial planning services, in particular, have been a great growth vehicle for the bank. “We know that if someone does a financial plan with Umpqua, there is a 70% likelihood that they are going to be a client of Umpqua Private Bank within nine months,” Johnson said.

Johnson also noted that financial planning fills a critical service gap for the high-net-worth individuals that the bank is trying to reach. The bank’s “sweet spot” are those clients with $1 million to $5 million in investable assets, a segment that has been neglected by banks, according to Johnson. “As money center banks continue to move up, there continues to be a gap in the $1 million to $5 million space,” he said. 

Umpqua is planning an aggressive expansion into San Francisco and Seattle to pursue this market segment. San Francisco is the nation’s No. 1 market in terms of millionaires.  It is home to 250,000 households with more than $1 million in income, or five times the number of million-dollar households in Portland, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Johnson said. Seattle ranks 13th, with 90,000 households in that income range.

Johnson plans to hire a market leader in each of the two markets this quarter, and they in turn will build their respective teams. 

In addition to Umpqua Private Bank, Johnson oversees Umpqua Investments, the bank’s brokerage business, which has roughly $2.3 billion in assets under management and some 40 financial advisors. The brokerage business had operated as a separate entity under a different name. Johnson oversaw its integration into the bank

“What we’ve been doing is integrating our Umpqua Investments people into the bank culture,” he said.  

Johnson credits the team for the progress the private bank has made, saying that they have worked hard to knock down barriers between banking and investing. “We’re all working hard to cross-pollinate and develop relationships across the division,” he said.

The private bank has also made great strides in working with Umpqua’s commercial and community banking groups. “We’re working closely together and ultimately it’s showing substantial connectivity and referrals going back and forth both ways,” Johnson said.