“Some of my best friends over the years are at Wells
Fargo. Now I’m working to make them best friends with
other banking and advisory services.”
Since joining WFCF in May, Marks has been criss-
crossing the country to connect with his team members.
“I’m talking to the folks who are closest to the clients.
I’m listening to their ideas and responding quickly so
we can do a better job of serving our clients.
“With all the different roles I’ve had, I’ve learned,
sometimes the hard way, that the best way to have
the best performing team is to have the most engaged
team,” he adds.
Creating a Team
Because of the many acquisitions, creating a common
culture is a challenge.
“What is fascinating to me, and I’ve held many
different roles across our company, is that we’re a collec-
tion of different cultures. This started when we acquired
Foothill. Many of our team members came from
Foothill, others from Wachovia. We’ve worked in lot
of difference places and people have built up different
experiences. We have to decide how is Capital Finance
at Wells Fargo going to be different from the organiza-
tions that we grew up in?”
As Wells attracts young people without an attach-
ment to an acquired bank, Marks says, “We’re building
a workforce that looks like our diverse client base.”
As he takes on this new role, is there anything that
keeps Marks up at night?
“I sleep really, really well,” he says. “What gets me
NADINE BONNER is editor of ABF Journal.
up early is there is so much more we could be doing.
I was in the gym at 5 a.m. and determined to run five
miles, but I wanted to get into office and get to work.”
Marks wants everyone to know, “We have built what
we think is the best-in-class commercial finance busi-
ness in the industry, which we combine with the broader
offerings for Wells Fargo including our advisory services,
our equity, capital markets and equipment finance.”
“We have a common leadership and a common set
of goals. We have to work hard every day to do it well.
That’s who we are today. It is a really proud history,”
says Marks, still a history major after all. abfj
acquired Andrew Tananbaum’s family business,
Century Financial, Marks worked for the current
chairman of White Oak Commercial Finance.
“Andy was a real kick,” Marks recalls with a laugh.
Marks was not hampered by his lack of a business
degree or MBA. Norwest put him through a commercial
banking program, and he began doing workouts when
he was 22 years old. Norwest expanded and thrived, but
it lacked a legacy name and national brand recognition.
The Wells Fargo name, on the other hand, was iconic.
Wells had started before the Civil War as a stagecoach
company and went on to provide financial services for
miners and settlers in the Western U.S. Even those
who did not use its financial services became fans from
1957 to 1962, when Tales of Wells Fargo — a television
show Wells didn’t even sponsor — visited their living
rooms every week, portraying Wells agents as heroes
of the Old West. So, in an unusual twist, when Norwest
acquired Wells in 1994, the Minnesota bank elected to
adopt the historic California name.
At the time of the Wells acquisition, the history
major was running international businesses and some
specialty lending businesses. He and his family left the
frozen plains of Minnesota for the California sunshine.
In the mid-90s, the bank sent him to Hong Kong.
A Year at Barclays
In 2008, after 20 years with Wells, Marks got an urge
to try something different. He went to work for Barclays
Bank and spent a year in London.
“London was great,” he says, but he missed Wells
Fargo. “I missed the people. I missed the culture. So
after the Wachovia acquisition, I came back.”
An unflaggingly optimistic executive, Marks adds,
“When you leave for a year and come back, the fresh
perspective you bring is great.”
Marks is not unrealistic about the difficult times that
Wells is facing now and the challenges that lie ahead.
At WFCF, he sees an opportunity to be a one-stop shop
for his clients.
“What is really different today, as Wells Fargo has
grown organically and completed diverse acquisitions,
is we have much larger market share, which is good,
but that’s not as important as the broader product
capabilities we can offer our clients. We can provide
the best-in-class ABL and other type products such as
our supply chain finance and factoring. We are also
able to work closely with our banking partners within
Wells Fargo, which offers our clients the opportunity
to be able to work with various groups like Wells Fargo
Securities that provide capital markets financing and
The key, he says, is, “how we connect our clients by
providing everything they want to choose from, even if
they don’t choose everything from us.”
He adds that WFCF needs to connect to other parts
of the bank to create new relationships.
“Many of our team members came from Foothill, others from Wachovia. We’ve worked in lot of difference places and
people have built up different experiences. We have to decide
how is Capital Finance at Wells Fargo going to be different
from the organizations that we grew up in?”