Magazine article American Banker

Silicon Valley Hopes Expansion Helps Lure Clients

Magazine article American Banker

Silicon Valley Hopes Expansion Helps Lure Clients

Article excerpt

Silicon Valley Bank of Santa Clara, Calif., which does business mainly with technology and life sciences companies, hopes its new full-service lending office will keep would-be clients from turning to larger banks.

The new office, which opened on Monday in Palo Alto, allows bank employees to visit clients about a third more frequently than they did before, and to reach them faster, the bank says. A spokeswoman said that about 50 employees have been transferred to the new office from Santa Clara.

Silicon Valley also has a small bank branch and a broker-dealer subsidiary in Palo Alto. Kenneth Wilcox, the bank's president and chief executive officer, said that even though the former technology boomtown has seen better days, "you wouldn't know it by driving on the highway; it is still packed."

Given the area's doldrums, and Silicon Valley's own, it would seem an odd time for an expansion, but the $4.1 billion-asset bank -- whose assets have dropped 27% since the start of the year -- hopes that by being in more places at once, it can keep entrepreneurs from going to other banks just for convenience's sake, Mr. Wilcox said.

A large number of branches may make a big banking company like Bank of America Corp. or Wells Fargo & Co. look more appealing, but Silicon Valley specializes in credit for start-up companies -- something not all entrepreneurs realize, he said.

"Having more offices closer to the client can make it less likely that we might lose an opportunity up front," Mr. …

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