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Wells Fargo CEO Finds a Home Among Commercial Banking Clients

Since its launch two years ago, Wells Fargo's Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Internet portal has attracted over 13,000 business clients.

Wells Fargo announced that it has signed up more 13,000 customers--roughly one-third of its commercial banking clients--to its Commercial Electronic Office (CEO) Internet portal, which launched almost two years ago.

"This is an incredible penetration in a short period of time," said Danny Peltz, senior vice president of the wholesale Internet solutions group at Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, Calif.

The CEO service provides business users with a single sign-on to the entire range of Wells Fargo banking products and services. But it's not just about having all of the bank's products and services in one place - it's about having the appropriate products and services for a particular user.

The CEO portal manages access privileges, so that the employees of each Wells Fargo customer can only conduct business in accordance with well-defined rules. "As an example, you may want employee A to only be able to initiate wires, and you may want employee B to only be able to proof wires up to $100,000, and employee C up to $500,000," said Peltz. "Customers have to decide what products and services they want, and what access privileges they want to give to their employees."

Accordingly, the CEO portal changes the way that companies do their banking. "We're able to help them save time by changing their workflows and behavioral patterns in working with the bank, in a more efficient manner over the Internet," said Peltz. "It provides the customer more control over their services, and the ability to access information in a real-time manner and make decisions."

Wells Fargo has kept the technology deployment hurdles low, requiring only a standard Internet browser that supports 128-bit encryption. "There's no other software needed for them to perform transactions," said Peltz.

That's a change from past systems based on client-side software installations. "Some of our customer are still on legacy 'fat client' services, and we are working with them to migrate their workflows and their data to the new channel," said Peltz. "More and more customers will begin to use it."

From Wells Fargo's perspective, adoption of the CEO portal strengthens customer relationships. "It helps us, obviously, in our cross-sell efforts," said Peltz, who also said that helping customers improve workflow "creates a strong relationship over time."

"We do see this as a competitive advantage," added Peltz.

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