David Paul says there are plenty of wealthy people in the region, even if their affluence isn't always visible.
"This should be where the book is written for the 'Millionaire Next Door,' " said Paul, senior vice president of wealth and asset management at Bank on Buffalo Investment Advisors.
It's his task to identify those prospects and build relationships with them, as Bank on Buffalo expands into private banking and wealth management services. The bank opened its first three branches last year and is trying to diversify its business.
Paul previously developed private banking and wealth management businesses in upstate New York for Citibank, HSBC and First Niagara. He said it's not unusual for him to meet with people who dress unassumingly and drive modest cars, who pull out financial statements "with $2 million to $3 million in stocks and bonds."
Other banks serving the region offer wealth management services, including M&T's Wilmington Trust and KeyBank. But Paul believes there is a smaller-dollar segment of the market that Bank on Buffalo can target. Competitors won't necessarily ignore those customers, he said, "but they're not going to be overly excited about that opportunity. We want to do hundreds of those."
Paul said he already knew many of Bank on Buffalo's employees through his previous jobs when he joined a few months ago. That level of familiarity makes it easier for employees from the bank's different business segments to jointly call on a prospect, he said.
Bank on Buffalo is trying to build name recognition in a competitive market, but also has the backing of a Pennsylvania-based parent, CNB Financial. Paul said the type of business he leads needs time to grow.
"This takes 24 to 36 months to reasonably build this out in a meaningful way," he said.