Webster Bank's push to expand its wealth management business is making a difference in the bank's financial performance.
In the first quarter of 2013, wealth and investment services generated $7.8 million in revenue, up 7% from a year ago but down 1% from the previous quarter, the bank's holding company announced last month.
The increased revenue reflects the bank's renewed focus on its wealth management business, which was rebranded in March 2012 as Webster Private Bank. Since then, it has beefed up its team of private bankers, including hiring Daniel FitzPatrick, an executive from BNY Mellon Wealth Management, to head up the business.
Webster's chairman and CEO James Smith noted in the earnings call that Webster has immediate plans to open a dual retail and private banking office in West Hartford, Conn., as part of a strategic initiative to open dual facilities in attractive, high-net-worth markets. The new office follows the recent opening of a similar office in Greenwich, Conn. He also noted that "significant additional investment in senior talent" is ongoing, including the hiring of a chief investment strategist, new leaders for the lending and fiduciary teams and seasoned portfolio managers.
Overall, Webster Financial, the bank's holding company, earned $39.2 million, or 44 cents per share (diluted), for the first quarter. That's up 2% from $38.3 million, or 42 cents per share (diluted), for the same quarter last year.
"Webster's first-quarter results delivered a solid 16% increase in core pretax, pre-provision net earnings from a year ago," Smith said in a statement.