Wells Fargo’s Southern New Jersey regional headquarters has moved into a new Carnegie Center location, vacating its old offices at 32 East Front Street in Trenton. Regional president Brenda Ross-Dulan, pictured at right, says the new location, with 22,671 square feet, is a better fit for the office, which has 75 to 80 staff, versus the old location, which was more than twice the size.
Wells Fargo had administered its nine-county Southern New Jersey region from the Trenton headquarters for about seven years, leaving in mid-August. “Every so often, we review our business operations and really look at properties and see how we can more efficiently and effectively utilize properties and operate more efficiently,” Ross-Dulan says. “When we were looking at our regional headquarters, we realized that the space no longer suited our current or evolving needs.”
The headquarters is home to the administrative staff for the community banks in the region, plus a wealth management team that caters to customers who have enough money to call their money “wealth.” Ross-Dulan says a key advantage of the move was that three floors were consolidated into one, so team members can now communicate better when one customer needs help from multiple divisions. “We want to satisfy all of our customers’ financial needs,” Ross-Dulan says. “Here we can access many of our business partners to ensure we get all of their needs satisfied by bringing everyone together so that they can strategize.”
Ross-Dulan says finding a building that could house the whole staff in one place was a big part of the search for a new HQ location. “As you could imagine, trying to get everybody in the same place, options were a bit limited. We did look at a few locations.” She says the bank ultimately settled on Route 1 because of its location on a major transportation corridor, and its access to the Princeton Junction train station.
“We also see the greater Princeton market as a tremendous opportunity to increase visibility and get as actively involved and committed and contributing to the local economy as possible. It allows us to symbolically demonstrate our commitment to the greater Princeton market,” which, she added, is “home to a business community as well as a nonprofit community.”
The bank has not abandoned Trenton, despite moving its headquarters. It still has multiple banking locations (which Wells Fargo calls “stores”) within the capital city’s borders, with about 40 employees working there. Ross-Dulan says the bank has donated about $340,000 to local charities in addition to $700,000 given through the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to help the Trenton-based community development nonprofit Isles.
Ross-Dulan is the highest-ranking employee at the location, and she is no stranger to nonprofits or involvement with the community. She has received numerous leadership awards, and sits on the boards of NJTV, the Coopers Ferry Community Development Corporation, the Princeton Chamber of Commerce, and the state Chamber of Commerce.
Born in Miami, Ross-Dulan was raised there by a food service worker father and a mother who ran a day care center. It wasn’t a love for banking that propelled Ross-Dulan to the upper ranks of corporate America. “I don’t know if anybody really desires to go into banking,” she says. “It sort of evolved for me. I was a math geek in school. In eighth grade, I took a career class, and actuarial science came up. After that, I started thinking, ‘Wow, I’m great at math, and I’m pretty shy, so this is probably a great profession for me.”
She enrolled at Howard University on a full scholarship, though the school didn’t offer an actuarial science program. She ended up in business administration, combining courses in statistics and business, and worked in the insurance industry after graduating. She then went back to Anderson School of Management at UCLA and got her MBA.
She was introduced to banking in graduate school, when she worked as a finance intern at J.P. Morgan. She and was recruited by First Interstate upon graduation and joined the company in 1990, staying on board when it was purchased by Wells Fargo. She has held a variety of roles at the bank, working her way up from financial analyst to regional president.
Ross-Dulan, who lives in the Princeton area and has two teenage children, says she is looking forward to working in the Carnegie Center location. She says the company is planning to host an open house for the community in the near future.
“We’re very excited about the impact we are going to have on the local business community and local nonprofits,” she said. “At Wells Fargo, we really believe we are only as strong as the community we do business in.”
Wells Fargo, 302 Carnegie Center, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 800-869-3557. Brenda Ross-Dulan, regional president. www.wellsfargo.com.