In economic development, individual regions tend to focus their efforts on specific industries. In this series of posts, we’re examining why several individual industries have focused their expansion efforts, ultimately, in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County.
Mention the financial services industry in some circles and the reaction could be quite strong. Even in Winston-Salem we have endured the uncertainty associated with the struggles of a major banking institution. However, that uncertainty has only served to demonstrate the area’s steadfast presence in the industry. As the dust clears and optimism slowly gains, a quick look around the banking landscape reveals a thriving array of financial organizations.
How is this possible? What makes W-S such a positive environment for banking? Here are few possible reasons.
Look around Winston-Salem and you will see the hallmarks of our booming manufacturing past. Unlike other areas, though, Winston-Salem seems to have taken great care to ensure that the wealth generated by our early-to-mid 20th century industries seeded new areas of economic growth. This long-term view is embedded in the culture here, contributing to its laid-back lifestyle, and more importantly, its preference for conservative financial practices. A thought not lost on the successful banks in the area, leading to…
With the rise of multiple banks in the area, Winston-Salem became a bit of a financial center. Home to several major players in different segments of the banking industry, the area typically attracted the institutions that were more focused on substance than style. The result is not just an array of banks, credit unions and savings and loans that are models of strength, service and steady performance; but a backbone of financial services infrastructure and support expertise that makes other financial centers drool.
This last one seems a bit obvious, but there’s an important point here. After all, why do banks enter a new market? Because there are potential customers already in that market in the form of consumers and businesses that need banking and financial services. Banks go where they see growth. And, for the most part, financial institutions see Winston-Salem as a place where families and businesses want to be.
As I wrap up this series of articles on industries that love Winston-Salem, I have to acknowledge that there are other industries that are attracted to the Twin City. I think the four that I’ve discussed in this series represent the most significant, especially in recent years.
Who is next? I have a few ideas. What do you think?