Magazine article American Banker

B of A Expanding Auto Loan Group, Hires a Ford Alum

Magazine article American Banker

B of A Expanding Auto Loan Group, Hires a Ford Alum

Article excerpt

Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday it has hired a former Ford Motor Co. executive to help run its auto lending business, which is expanding into nine northeastern states from Pennsylvania to Maine.

Tim M. Russi joined B of A Jan. 5 as the president of the auto group within its Jacksonville auto finance business. He will report to Floyd S. Robinson, the president of dealer financial services.

Mr. Russi has taken over duties Mr. Robinson had been handling for the past 18 months, a spokeswoman said.

The Charlotte company is preparing to close a deal this spring to acquire FleetBoston Financial Corp., which has no auto finance business. Once the largest auto finance company in the Northeast, Fleet sold its auto finance unit and a $2 billion loan portfolio to Sovereign Bancorp of Philadelphia in 1997 as part of a cost-cutting effort.

B of A has begun filling sales, service, and fulfillment positions in the Northeast and is scouting for sites for a regional retail credit center. In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Russi would not say how many people he would hire. The number will depend on "the talent that we're out recruiting and how the market opportunity evolves."

The auto group, which makes loans to consumers through dealers and helps dealers finance inventories, is one of the nation's largest indirect auto lenders, with a $17 billion portfolio and relationships with 4,500 dealers.

A B of A spokesman said the group has had a handful of relationships in the Northeast since May, when it bought the $600 million commercial auto loan portfolio from World Omni Financial Corp. …

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