The FINANCIAL -- Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking announced on October 23 that it has promoted three executives within its Illinois commercial lending operations.
The company named 21-year banking veteran Chris Nay to lead six teams statewide as division manager, effective immediately. Reporting to Nay, Michael Bleecher now manages one of Wells Fargo’s four Middle Market Banking groups serving the Chicagoland area. Diana Williams now reports to Bleecher as loan team manager.
Based at Wells Fargo’s South Wacker Drive hub in Chicago, Nay directs more than 70 experienced commercial lending professionals. His teams deliver Wells Fargo’s localized loan decision-making approach to privately held, middle-market companies with revenues of $20 million and higher. Bleecher manages 11 team members, including Williams, who leads a team of five portfolio managers and financial analysts, according to Wells Fargo.
“With more than four decades of experience among them, Chris, Michael, and Diana are well-versed in the financial needs of our Illinois clients. They will have an immediate impact in their new roles,” said Monica Cole, executive vice president and North Region head for Wells Fargo Middle Market Banking. “Wells Fargo works hard to develop and maintain a deep bench that’s ready to take on key leadership roles.”
Illinois is a growing Wells Fargo commercial lending market, because the state is home to more than 6,500 middle-market businesses that generate nearly 20 percent of all business revenue, according to the National Center for the Middle Market. Wells Fargo’s Middle Market Banking offices in Chicago, Naperville, Highland Park, and Peoria provide more than 80 Wholesale Banking services to clients across industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, distribution, and technology.
Nay, Wells Fargo’s new Midwest commercial lending leader, brought 20 years of industry experience when he joined the bank in March 2016 as part of Wells Fargo’s acquisition of GE Capital. While at GE, Nay served as senior managing director for the food, beverage, and agribusiness group. He also oversaw more than 100 team members as managing director for commercial lending and leasing in the Central U.S. Nay graduated from the University of Kansas. While there, he worked for Ernst and Young and earned his CPA license.
A 12-year Wells Fargo veteran, Bleecher has served in a variety of commercial banking roles, including relationship manager and, most recently, loan team manager. Known for developing junior bankers, Bleecher also has built strong relationships with clients and worked closely with the commercial business development team. A native of Chicago, he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Williams brings more than 10 years of commercial lending experience to her new role. She started her Wells Fargo career in 2007 as a financial analyst. After completing Wells Fargo’s Commercial Management Training program in 2011, she served clients as a relationship manager until being promoted to portfolio manager two years later. Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The three new leaders are among nearly 5,000 Wells Fargo team members who live, work, and support customers in Illinois. In 2016, they volunteered 22,278 hours and donated nearly $1.7 million in communities statewide. Wells Fargo donated nearly $2.8 million to 353 Illinois nonprofits and schools that same year, including $736,750 for community development, financial literacy, housing, and small business projects. The bank has invested nearly $643.2 million in Community Reinvestment Act-qualified community development loans and investments for affordable housing, community services, and economic development.