Personal Finance Author, Now at Bank, Eyes Upscale Clients

American Banker, December 12, 1984 | Go to article overview

Personal Finance Author, Now at Bank, Eyes Upscale Clients


SEATTLE -- The new executive vice president in charge of personal banking at Rainier National Bank expects his unit to increase its loans from $60 million this year to $100 million by the end of 1985. Thomas J. Porter Jr. thinks he can achieve that 67% increase by convincing his upscale clients that they need help managing their money.

Mr. Porter is well-suited to the promotion of financial planning; he literally wrote the book on the subject -- "The Touche ross Guide to Personal Financial Management."

After almost a decade as a professor of management control and information systems at the University of Washington (he has a doctorate in business from Columbia University), Mr. Porter in 1975 joined Touche Ross & Co. as national director for executive financial counseling services. About 50,000 people attended financial planning seminars he developed there during his nine-year tenure. Now at Rainier, Mr. Porter plans to use the bank's branches and its staff of experts to offer a complete line of services to affluent clients.

"I am a person concerned about financial planning," Mr. Porter said in an interview.

Rainier Bank, with 500,000 customers, gives him a big pond in which to fish for new clients, and he is already preparing bait to catch "upscale, credit-driven customers who need, in a broad sense, financial planning."

"We're going after the professionals: CPAs, lawyers, medical-dental, corporate [executives], and the professional athlete," Mr. Porter said. He expects to reach them by employing specialists who know and understand each profession. "The more you get to know the markets, the more easily you can identify needs."

Drawing on his own experience at Touche Ross, Mr. Porter noted, for example, that when an accountant is offered a partnership he is required to make a substantial capital investment. "He may need a loan," Mr. Porter suggested enthusiastically.

Partners in law firms, he said, often receive bonuses at the end of a successful year; Rainier will happily loan them money in anticipation of that windfall. To reach professional athletes, the bank has hired Blair Bush, center for the Seattle Seahawks football team, as a full-time representative during the off season. …

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