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Reflections On A Great Banker

In the early 90s, when the music stopped and the real estate markets collapsed, I was CFO of a Washington DC’s largest owner/developer. I was charged with establishing new banking relationships to help the company navigate the crisis, and it was then that I met Carl Reichardt, who was then CEO of Wells Fargo. Wells came to the rescue, and became our lead banker, and the bonus was that I had an opportunity interact regularly with Carl.

He was a Bankers Banker who knew how to balance strong credit discipline with overarching support for clients, and by the way, establishing Wells as one of the healthiest among the majors. Carl passed away over the weekend and the Wall Street Journal reflected on his life and days as a banker. Aside from his credit and relationship skills, Carl declared war on costs. He was not into other bankers palatial offices or private-jet jaunts to mingle with princes and pop stars. He sold the corporate jet, and at one meeting asked why it was necessary to put documents in ring binders when paper clips would do.

There is so much to be learned from how Carl managed the business at Wells. Every once in a while you have the opportunity to work with someone special, and for me, Carl Reichardt was one of them.  A truly great banker.

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