Chase vs. Wells Fargo High-Net-Worth Accounts: An Overview

For high-net-worth individuals (HNWI), finding the right bank is of utmost importance. When managing such large sums of money, even small variations in returns, fees, rewards, and benefits can make a significant difference. For this reason, most big banks maintain self-contained departments that cater strictly to HNWIs. These special banking divisions offer a host of services not available to traditional clients, such as a dedicated wealth management representative, concierge banking, discounted mortgages, and perks and rewards on credit cards.

Two of the oldest and most well-known banks in the United States, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), each offer private banking services to account holders who maintain balances above certain thresholds. Chase offers its Private Client Banking, while Wells Fargo has named its program The Private Bank, calling individuals involved Private Clients. The programs are strikingly similar; both feature mortgage perks, higher yields on certain deposit accounts, and more personalized service, yet subtle differences exist between the two banks, most notably Wells Fargo imposes a $1 million account balance minimum to become a Private Client, while the minimum balance at Chase is only $250,000, only requiring $100 to open.

Chase Private Client Banking

Chase offers Private Client Banking customers discounted mortgage interest rates of varying levels based on the customer's total deposits and investments with Chase. These discounted rates apply to fixed-rate mortgages for the life of the loan and to adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) until the first adjustment. Private Client Banking customers also receive a $750 discount on closing costs. Their loans close faster because they receive priority processing and access to a special senior underwriting team. Interest rate discounts for Chase private clients apply to home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) as well as traditional mortgages.

At Chase, private clients receive wealth management services from JPMorgan. These services include financial advisory services, mutual funds, securities-based lending, annuities, and college planning, which includes tax-advantaged 529 plans. Private Client Banking customers receive a private client advisor and access to the firm's global strategy and global solutions teams.

Chase offers access to their Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which offers a $300 travel credit annually. They also offer their Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which collects double points on travel and dining worldwide. 

Chase Private Client service offers a dedicated Private Client Advisor to assist with planning and executing investments.

Wells Fargo Private Bank

The mortgage rewards for Wells Fargo Private Clients cover different territory. Like at Chase, clients receive special interest rate pricing based on deposit account totals. Private Clients with an existing mortgage who make a large lump-sum principal payment have the option to recast their remaining balance. This process adjusts the amortization table for the remaining term and allows more of each subsequent payment to go to principal versus interest. The bank's cash purchase option enables customers to take advantage of cash-only real estate deals and still finance their purchase. The buyer pays cash for the property, and can then apply for a mortgage with Wells Fargo within 90 days. With good credit, Private Clients can purchase a property with a jumbo loan and put only 10.01 percent down.

Wells Fargo Private Clients receive personalized wealth planning, investment management, trust services, and private banking. Additionally, clients with unique assets, such as small businesses, oil, gas and minerals, and investment real estate, enjoy access to hands-on management from experts in these niches.

Wells Fargo offers them The Private Bank By Invitation Visa Signature, which earns three points per dollar spent on travel, two for dining, and one point for all other purchases. Like most other HNW cards, it carries no annual fee, and the perks extend the more you spend. 

When managing such large sums of money, even small variations in returns, fees, rewards, and benefits can make a significant difference.

Unlike the personalized investment advisor service offered by Chase, Well Fargo offers only a contact form to fill out, and a bank representative will call you to discuss. On its website, there is plenty of information about what you can invest in, but it does nothing to assuage the worry or add the kind of comfort and guidance a beginner investor might look for from their bank.

Key Takeaways

  • While both banks offer an abundance of benefits for HNWIs, it comes down to the specific services that a client feels can provide the most benefit.
  • A client heavily involved in real estate investing who is in frequent need of creative mortgage financing might look to Wells Fargo.
  • Meanwhile, those who actively trade stocks and concern themselves more with the brokerage side of a bank's business may be better off with JPMorgan Chase.