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SunTrust to add advisers with savings from branch reductions

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SunTrust Bank will use savings from reductions in its branch network to invest in the hiring of advisers, the bank's CFO Aleem Gillani said at the Credit Suisse financial services forum last week.
Gillani noted that the bank will be adding "targeted talent that will play more of an advisory rather than transaction-oriented role for the more complex needs of its targeted mass-affluent client base." He did not specify how many more advisers would be hired.

In the slide presentation, Gillani disclosed that in addition to new "advisory personnel within branches," the bank's private wealth management group would be training and hiring new wealth advisers.

The bank plans to reduce the branch network another 10% over the next two years even after an already significant 18% reduction over the last five years, he told analysts.

In addition to hiring and training advisers, the bank will use the money to renovate old branches, expand and enhance the ATM network and make further investments in technology, he said.

SunTrust's wealth management businesses delivered a shaky performance in 2016, according the bank's latest earnings release. Revenue from trust and investment management was off 9% from 2015, while revenue from retail brokerage was off 6%.

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