As a young trust officer working for a community bank in Oak Park, Ill., Ralph Mandell embarked on a business trip to Switzerland in the late 1970s. He held periodic meetings with a private bank there while working on behalf of a trust.
He was struck by the personal relationships that prompted bankers to anticipate their customers’ needs. He thought this model of private banking based on highly personalized service, continuity and discretion was a concept that would work in Chicago.
In 1989, Mandell founded PrivateBancorp Inc. and its subsidiary, PrivateBank and Trust Co. The reasoning was clear: Fill a void that was occurring as the industry consolidated and customers were disenfranchised. The large banks had private banking departments, but these were line businesses within a big operation where there was little continuity of people.
The business model that Mandell created is based on three basic tenets: Focus on the client, utilize a staffing model that is unique in all of banking and execute better than everyone else. Focusing on the client and providing a unique experience, highly personalized service, continuity, confidentiality and discretion are all job No. 1.
By doing so, PrivateBank derives much of its business from client referrals. Its unique staffing model is efficient in the use of people. Its assets per employee and net income per employee far exceed that of its peers.
The company spurns hype, does virtually no advertising and has no display windows at its offices with signs promising free checking. The bank relies on its people and execution to separate it from all its competitors.
HOW TO REACH: PrivateBancorp Inc., (312) 683-7106 or www.theprivatebank.com