Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WHAT'S NEXT: KELLY MADDEN; A Q&A Session with a Wachovia Executive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WHAT'S NEXT: KELLY MADDEN; A Q&A Session with a Wachovia Executive

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTOPHER CALNAN, The Times-Union

Wachovia Corp. appointed Jacksonville's Kelly Madden as its North Florida regional president last month after 17 years with the bank.

The appointment comes as Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia prepares to complete its acquisition of SouthTrust Corp., creating the largest bank in the Southeast.

Despite her years as a banking executive, Madden hasn't lost sight of what's important: the customer.

Madden, a mother of two, says the new position is her "dream job." But all her remarks about Wachovia and banking in general seem to come back to customer service.

What was your reaction to being named regional president?

I was thrilled and excited. I've been with the company for 17 years and I've spent 11 years of my career in middle management. We returned to Jacksonville three-and-a-half years ago. . . . If you could put me in the perfect job for me, this is it. It's the union between wholesale banking and retail banking and community service. It's like a three-legged stool. I can't think of a better place to do that in the First Coast area.

Was becoming a regional president your goal?

I think you always have to have a vision about what you want to do next. My time in retail banking and wholesale banking has prepared me to this. I can now focus on a five-county area. It's really nice to be able to focus on just this community, and I look forward to that.

Are you planning to use your position to make any changes?

There are a lot of things we do really well. For me, it's about taking it to the next level with customer service. That's at the core of everything we do. We want to be the best people. We want to offer unmatched service and advice. We want to make sure we're helping our customers achieve their financial goals, not just be an order-taker and provide you with a checking account.

Does the industry trend of mergers affect customers?

I think there's a myth out there that big banks can't serve customers. Wachovia has been singled out over the years for customer service. It's important to our company, and Ken [Thompson, Wachovia's chief executive officer] says, "We begin and end every day with customers as the centerpoint. …

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