Due in large part to its location in the center of the East Coast of the United States, accessibility, and its high “quality of life” ranking, Charlotte has always been a major player in the world of finance. In recent years the city has experienced a great deal of growth in this sector and has become one of the top banking and financial services hubs in the world.
Major Financial Institutions
Charlotte is currently the number two banking center in terms of size in the United States – second only to New York City. Bank of America, the second largest bank in the country, calls the Queen City home and has its headquarters located in the city’s Uptown business district.
In 2008, San Francisco-based banking giant Wells Fargo merged with Charlotte-based financial services company Wachovia and made Charlotte its regional headquarters for East Coast Operations.
In 2013 MetLife – a Fortune 50 insurance and financial services company – began creating 1,300 U.S. retail headquarters in the Charlotte area.
Detroit-based Ally Financial moved some of its operations to Charlotte in 2009; the company maintains a large corporate center in the Uptown area, occupies over 200,000 square feet of space in three Charlotte locations, and citied the availability of top talent in the area of financial services as one of the main reasons for the move.
Other large financial services companies with a significant presence in the Charlotte area include AXA Equitable, First Third Bank, LendingTree Inc., and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC.
The banking and financial services industry has a huge economic impact on the city of Charlotte. Overall assets held by banks in the Charlotte metropolitan area are estimated to be over $2.1 trillion as of 2016, and the industry pumps tens of billions of dollars into the local economy via wages and salary, taxes, and property investment every year. The financial services sector accounts for around 80,000 jobs in the city; Wells Fargo and Bank of America are ranked number two and three respectively as the city’s top employers, with the two banking giants accounting for over 40,000 jobs alone. Companies providing support services to the financial services industry (for example, local call centers) account for an estimated 20,000 additional jobs.
The Future of the Industry
With the worst of the global financial crisis hopefully behind us the future of the financial services industry is bright, and this is particularly true for Charlotte. Wells Fargo and Bank of America alone added around 1,000 jobs to their Charlotte operations in 2015, and more growth is planned in the future. Because of the city’s reputation as a U.S. financial hub, and a city government that is very business friendly and works aggressively to attract international investment and companies, financial services companies from across the globe including France, Germany, India, Japan, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have located offices in Charlotte.
The bigger the banking and financial services sector in Charlotte gets, the larger it is likely to become. While it is doubtful that it will ever overtake New York City, Charlotte is poised to remain number two for many years to come. Professionals and those interested in starting a career in the financial sector need look no further than the Queen City when it comes to their career.