Magazine article American Banker

New Industry Landscape A Theme at Meeting of Consumer Bankers

Magazine article American Banker

New Industry Landscape A Theme at Meeting of Consumer Bankers

Article excerpt

By COPE, LIZ MOYER^DEBRA

As leading consumer bankers gathered in Florida, the talk inevitably centered on the mergers that have reshaped the industry this year.

Most of this year's biggest deals have closed, and banks are settling down to the task of integrating businesses and cultures, speakers said during last week's Consumer Bankers Association convention in Aventura, which drew 250 people.

Yet conference speakers saw some signs of strain as they looked to NationsBank Corp.'s merger with BankAmerica Corp. and Citicorp's merger with Travelers Group for clues about how the deals will play out.

"The recent management changes at BankAmerica are not necessarily a harbinger of harmony ahead," said James J. McDermott Jr., chairman of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. He said merging companies will increasingly be judged on their managerial skills, as well as their marketing prowess.

The keynote speaker, Citigroup co-chairman John S. Reed, flew in from a management retreat at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va, where the groundwork was being laid for the staff shake-up that was announced late Sunday. (See article on page 1.)

Mr. Reed made no secret of his frustrations with the poor third-quarter showing of its newly integrated corporate banking business, which includes Salomon Smith Barney. "I really wish my job were only to run the consumer sides of our business," he said.

Even so, he was generally upbeat about the prospects for the new company, declaring: "These companies are going to come together. There is not going to be any problem."

Problems or not, observers said, Citigroup is shaping up as a compelling model for financial services companies, with its combination of consumer, wholesale, and investment banking and insurance. …

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