By: Greg Ryan

March 3, 2017

KeyBank gives Boston commercial office a second shot

KeyBank has reopened a commercial lending office in Boston after shuttering the previous version in the immediate aftermath of the recession.

The Cleveland-based institution (NYSE: KEY) has put Jed Hall, formerly at Brown Brothers Harriman in Boston, in charge of the office. Hall joined KeyBank in late 2015 and has spent the past year-plus building up toward the office relaunch. Late last year, it brought on two former colleagues of Hall’s to round out the local commercial banking team.

KeyBank is opening a commercial banking office in Boston.

The office will serve middle-market companies, especially family-owned businesses and those in the manufacturing and healthcare fields, according to Hall. The team will target companies with revenue of $25 million to $250 million, a lower end of the middle market than it sought before the office closed in 2009, he said.

This time around, the team will report to Key’s community banking division, rather than the corporate bank, as had previously been the case, Hall said, adding that it won’t rely as much on investment banking fees and services.

“We’re using Key’s balance sheet to build lending relationships and to grow the overall value of the relationships from there,” Hall said. “For me, it may not even be a debt-based opportunity, it could be a Treasury, foreign exchange or leasing opportunity.”

The bank has added five corporate lending relationships over the past year or so, according to Hall.

Key does not have a retail banking presence in Greater Boston, but it does have capital markets, commercial real estate and asset-based lending personnel. After the local commercial lending office closed in 2009, the bank was covering commercial banking in Boston from its New York and Portland, Maine, offices. “Boston is pretty provincial, and you’ve got to have brick-and-mortar here to even be taken seriously,” Hall said.

He envisions adding business bankers and an administrator to the corporate banking team in Boston later this year.