Magazine article American Banker

Bank One Chief: Branches Key to Fund Sales

Magazine article American Banker

Bank One Chief: Branches Key to Fund Sales

Article excerpt

Branches will be banks' biggest advantage in the 1990s for selling mutual funds and other retail products, says John B. McCoy, chief executive of Banc One Corp.

Just 10 years ago, when direct mail and telemarketing were proving successful, Mr. McCoy was thinking about jettisoning branches, he told more than 200 bankers recently at a conference sponsored by the Council on Financial Competition in Washington.

But no more.

Banc One credits a sizable portion of its fund sales to the existence of a large branch network. "A lot of it is just the customer walking in saying, give me the facts," he said.

Wire Houses Follow Suit

Even top telemarketing firms like Fidelity Investments are moving toward branches.

"They are opening offices on the ground floor because they can't get the customer," he said.

"Some lights go on [in an investment center], and the customer just walks in," he said.

The lights are going on in Columbus-based Banc One's 400 largest branches in the form of personal investment centers. These are areas within branches dedicated solely to the sale of investment products.

And banks have to sell funds because customers demand them, Mr. McCoy said.

But, he warned, banks also have cultural obstacles to overcome in gearing up these programs that brokerage houses don't have to deal with.

Paying generous commissions to securities salespeople who work near traditional banking employees can generate friction, he said. …

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