Magazine article American Banker

Big-Bank Veteran Finds Small One Isn't Slow Lane

Magazine article American Banker

Big-Bank Veteran Finds Small One Isn't Slow Lane

Article excerpt

Life at a small bank doesn't leave much more time for drawing than it did at a bigger institution.

That's what Jean L Tardy-Vallernaud, executive vice president at $300 million-asset Mercantile National Bank in Los Angeles, is finding out.

Mr. Tardy-Vallernaud, who had held executive posts at Banker's Trust New York Corp. and FirSt Interstate Bancorp, joined the bank six months ago as executive vice president in charge of private banking international, financial services, and consumer banking. And he has found little time for his hobby - drawing - other than to squeeze in a Tuesday night class and quick sketches between flights.

He says he wouldn't have it any other way.

The 48-year-old banker said he thought hard about the future of banking in the year he spent consulting after the international private banking division he had overseen for First Interstate was sold. He determined that big banks will continue to consolidate, medium-size banks without a niche market will have trouble surviving, and small banks with good niches will prosper.

He looked for a job like the one he had at First Interstate, where his division was encouraged to be entrepreneurial. "I wasn't quite sure that as large banks continue to restructure, another opportunity like that would be available."

While a consultant to Mercantile, Mr. Tardy-Vallernaud said, he was able to judge the bank firsthand. He found that it had overcome loan problems. …

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