This excerpt taken from the STI 10-K filed Feb 28, 2006.
We further institutionalized our Company-wide sales culture. Today, the key components of a world-class sales organization are very much in place at SunTrust. This includes frequent sales meetings in all geographic banking regions and all business lines with specific sales and referral goals, tracking and measurement mechanisms, and most importantly, incentives that align employee, client, and shareholder interests. Our sales people increasingly take a 360 degree view of each clients needs and look across business lines to deliver the full range of SunTrust products and services. A visible result of this focus is significantly higher levels of referrals and cross-sales. One example of this: an emphasis on cross-selling home equity, deposit and other consumer products to mortgage clients resulted in over 100,000 of these products being sold to those clients, a substantial increase over 2004.
We are seeing the benefits of our merger with the former National Commerce Financial Corporation (NCF) in significant new business opportunities as well as operating efficiencies that exceeded our initial projections by almost a third. The merger was legally completed in late 2004 with the highly visible conversion of customer accounts and launch of the SunTrust brand into former NCF markets taking place in April 2005. By any standard, the conversion was smooth and successful, providing the latest example of SunTrusts skill at merger integration.
To increase our market reach, we announced plans to expand into the demographically attractive Charleston, South Carolina area, where over the next three years well open 16 traditional and in-store branches to complement our presence in other parts of the state. In early 2006, we signed a new strategic banking agreement with Wal-Mart that provides for enhancement of our partnership over the next three years. We also announced plans to acquire 11 in-store branches in Florida Wal-Mart Supercenter stores in a move that bolsters the highly successful partnership we have with Wal-Mart throughout our footprint.
We accelerated implementation of performance initiatives within our five key lines of business. Some examples include:
We intensified our focus on talent management, a structured process that takes traditional succession planning to a higher level by explicitly aligning talent development with business strategies. Specifically, the capabilities of more than 5,600 key managers across the Company have been assessed in the context of defined leadership competencies, future potential and performance. The result is not only bench strength for top positions throughout the organization today, but meaningful development plans for an upcoming leadership generation. More broadly, our disciplined approach to talent management is reflected in an unusually high degree of success in hiring, retaining, and rewarding strong candidates in all areas of our organizationincluding the critical and evolving risk and compliance-related fields.