Magazine article American Banker

Northern Trust Looks Outward with Aggressive Expansion Plan

Magazine article American Banker

Northern Trust Looks Outward with Aggressive Expansion Plan

Article excerpt

Facing a saturated local market, Northern Trust Corp. is planning a national expansion focused on providing personal trust services in fast-growing regions.

Chief executive William A. Osborn said in an interview that he plans to boost the Chicago-based banking company's network of offices to about 75 during the next three years, from 54 now.

While Mr. Osborn said he expects the expansion to be concentrated in four states where the $21 billion-asset company already operates - Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas - he made clear that Northern is also eyeing new territory.

"I expect we will be in more states than we are today by the end of 1999," Mr. Osborn said. He declined to be specific, saying only that the company would enter "a few more" states.

Northern Trust has operated outposts in states other than its Illinois home base since entering Florida in 1971, Arizona in 1974, and California in 1988. But its biggest inroads in new markets came in the early 1990s, reflecting the banking industry's increased willingness to look far afield for growth opportunities.

Analysts applauded Northern Trust's effort to continue building its out of- state presence, a drive that has already enabled the company to derive about half its trust fees from outside Illinois.

"They've tapped out the market in Chicago," said Michael Durante, an analyst at McDonald & Co. Securities. Northern and Harris Trust and Savings Bank "own the place," he said.

Added James Schutz, a Chicago Corp. analyst: "The greater growth is going to come from outside Illinois."

Till now, the company has expanded chiefly by opening offices, but Mr. …

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