Liberty Mutual Slashes Staff of Bank Sales Unit
Talley, Karen, American Banker
Rocked by a slide in business, the division of Liberty Mutual Group that helps banks sell investments laid off nearly a tenth of its staff, including its chief financial officer.
The cuts in the Financial Bank Group of the Boston-based insurer were focused primarily among operations and accounting personnel, said Porter P. Morgan, president of the unit.
He explained that these areas had to be trimmed to compensate for a slump in sales through banks.
Paul Martins, the bank group's chief financial officer, was the highest ranking executive to be released. His responsibilities will be distributed among a number of Liberty executives, a company spokesman said.
A total of 10 positions were eliminated in the bank group's head office, leaving 90 employees Additionally, the bank group laid off two sales managers in the field who oversaw investment sales programs at two banks.
One of the sales managers oversaw investment sales at Anchor Bank, which is in the midst of merging with Dime Savings Bank of New York. As a result of the merger, Anchor is ending its relationship with Liberty. Liberty officials declined to name the other bank.
Within the past two weeks the bank group's regional vice president for the east and its director of training have resigned. But these departures were said to be for personal reasons. Liberty officials said the bank group plans to hire replacements.
Mr. Morgan, who was named president of bank group late last year after former president Ronald Robbins quit, said the cuts were made because "business is not as good as it was a few years ago."
Liberty and other companies that help banks sell investments spent much of the last two years staffing up and building new computer systems to handle increasing sales volumes.
But many of these, companies, including Liberty, were hit hard when sales dropped last year, as investors shunned mutual funds in favor of certificates of deposit and fixed annuities.
According to Kenneth Kehrer, a Princeton, N. …