Magazine article American Banker

Reining in Branches Helps Banc One Improve Sales

Magazine article American Banker

Reining in Branches Helps Banc One Improve Sales

Article excerpt

The head of Banc One Corp.'s investment products business makes no bones about the miscalculations the company has made in its efforts to sell mutual funds.

"There was this arrogance that we could throw all these personal investment centers up in a year and right away compete head to head with Dean Witter and the like," said David R. Meuse, chief executive of Banc One Capital Holdings Corp. "It just doesn't happen that way."

Banc One, which announced plans in 1993 to build 1,000 personal investment centers in its branches, pulled the plug last year when it was 400 branches shy of that goal.

Now, after a tumultuous period marred by several key defections, the Columbus, Ohio-based banking company is reorganizing for a fresh try at building its investment sales business into a powerhouse.

Investment products are now the company's No. 2 priority - ranking right behind the core business of making loans, Mr. Meuse told an American Bankers Association conference in Miami. "A year and a half ago investments were still called 'alternative products,'" he said.

Banc One's brokers seem to be getting the message. Sales of "packaged investment products" - mutual funds and other pooled securities - were $180 million last November, said Mr. Meuse, who oversees investment products and brokerage. That's up solidly from $70 million a month in the first quarter of 1995.

One reason for the turnaround was Banc One's decision to give clearer marching orders to its affiliate banks, Mr. Meuse said. Traditionally, the holding company gave these units great latitude, delegating most decision making to its regional bank presidents. …

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