Magazine article American Banker

Banc One Downplays Mutual Fund Setbacks; Says Defections Won't Hobble Program

Magazine article American Banker

Banc One Downplays Mutual Fund Setbacks; Says Defections Won't Hobble Program

Article excerpt

Banc One Corp.'s ambitious investment-products program remains on track despite a series of defections from its management ranks this summer, says chairman John B. McCoy.

In an interview last week, Mr. McCoy said the departures of retail investments chief Paul F. Walsh and several other top executives made it necessary to revamp the trust, investment, and insurance businesses.

"We had to restructure because we did not have another Paul Walsh," Mr. McCoy said. The overhaul, in which Mr. Walsh's former responsibilities were split among several executives, was announced last Wednesday.

Despite the setback, Mr. McCoy said, he continues to see mutual funds and other investment services as a key part of the Columbus, Ohio-based banking company's retail strategy.

"We believe these businesses have the ability to grow in excess of normal banking business, which grows about 12%," Mr. McCoy said.

Although much depends on. what happens with the mutual fund business next year, "given a decent market, growth could be 20% to 25%," he predicted.

Banc One, an $84.5 billion banking company that is widely considered an innovator in retail financial services, has moved aggressively into mutual funds, insurance, and brokerage services in recent years.

Banc One markets these offerings through 600 personal investment centers that it has set up in bank branches since late 1992. The "Pics," as they are known, have been successful enough that plans are under way to boost the number to 1,000 by the end of 1995.

Mr. Walsh joined Banc One in 1990 to lead the effort. He resigned last month, citing disagreements with Mr. McCoy over "philosophy and strategy."

His departure, and a spate of exits that preceded it in June, has prompted some analysts to question the future of the Banc One's aggressive push to sell investment products. …

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