the tsl interview
Helping Wells Fargo Factor into the equation
By MicHele OcejO
Stuart Brister, president of
the trade capital division
of Wells Fargo capital
Finance, discusses the
being a bank-owned factor
Can you tell us how you got started in
Twenty-five years ago I started as a
management associate at Citizens and
Southern Bank in Atlanta, Georgia.
After my rotation through the Management Associate program, I was put
into the asset-based world, and I’ve
been here ever since.
Are there any unique challenges that
go with being a large, bank-owned,
factoring organization, perhaps issues with the parent understanding
the factoring business?
I think there could be challenges for a
bank-owned factor with a parent company that doesn’t understand factoring. That’s not the case at Wells Fargo.
Wells Fargo has a good understanding
of asset-based lending and factoring
and is committed to the business and
our growth. That understanding and
commitment has helped Wells Fargo
Capital Finance to become one of the
largest asset-based lending companies
in the United States.
In today’s environment I can’t
imagine not being owned by a bank
where you have the low cost of capital
and access to a balance sheet. I believe some of the challenges that our
competitors are experiencing are the
result of this very issue. As a result,
they are having difficulty both in their
funding, as well as the lack of a balance sheet to leverage.
does this mean for U.S. factors?
Knowing the market in China very
well, I would say that the ability to
operate a factoring company has to be
based on some kind of secured asset-based principles. One of the primary
considerations is to have something
similar to a uniform commercial code,
or UCC, and China does not have one. So,
I believe it will be quite difficult to provide true factoring services without the
ability to protect your security interest.
While I think there is a tremendous
opportunity in China, we, along with
all the national banks, have worked
with correspondent banks in China
instead of acting as competitor to
them. We haven’t found it to be a
good strategy to do it on our own.
Following Wells Fargo’s acquisition
of Wachovia, the various Wells Fargo
and Wachovia Commercial Finance
Units are now under one umbrella
with a new name, Wells Fargo Capital
Finance. How has the integration
gone? Has the new structure had any
impact on what was formerly known
as Wells Fargo Trade Capital?
While it is an ongoing process, I would
say that the integration has gone very
well. It has been a lot of work, and now
that our business leaders are all in place,
Wells Fargo Capital Finance is positioned
as one of the strongest asset-based
lenders in the United States.
Recently IBM announced it had re-
ceived a license to do accounts receiv-
able financing in China. This is the
first time a non-Chinese company has
been granted such a license. What
Considering the credit crunch and
economic situation of the past year,
have you seen industries coming to you
for factoring services that you had not
traditionally seen in the past?
I would answer that by saying yes.