Magazine article American Banker

As Banc One Cuts, It Shoots for Bigger Share of the Wallet

Magazine article American Banker

As Banc One Cuts, It Shoots for Bigger Share of the Wallet

Article excerpt

There are tough times ahead for Banc One Corp., which is beginning a traumatic shift away from a decentralized structure toward a centralized one.

According to president Richard J. Lehmann, who last week received the additional title of chief operating officer, the Columbus, Ohio-based company probably will spend the rest of this year cutting jobs, controlling costs, and reaching for a greater share of each customer's wallet.

"One of the things at the branch level we've been working very hard on is building a sales culture," Mr. Lehmann said in an interview last week.

The 51-year-old former Citicorp executive said he hopes to do that through cross-selling - especially through lines of business such as consumer finance, mortgages, and credit cards - to existing middle-income customers.

Operating in Banc One's favor is the its recently unified and trained 12,000-member sales force which, analysts say, will have to start looking outward at the customers rather than inward at the reorganization.

But striking a balance between centralized and decentralized operations will be tricky, Mr. Lehmann said.

He noted that although employees will be selling many of the same Banc One products they have always sold, there previously wasn't much consistency.

"In the past, if a bank didn't want to do it a particular way in Kentucky, well, that was O.K.," Mr. Lehmann said. "Now it's all done the same.

"At the same time, we're not some bureaucratic, monolithic organization that is going to do everything the same way. …

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