In a year that has been nothing short of remarkable for the number of large banks that initiated major changes in their technology and operations groups, Banc One Corp. may have topped them all.
No senior executives have left the Columbus, OH, company's technology and operations unit, Banc One Service Co., but the chief technology officer, Bob Barrett, has had his duties substantially redefined, while Michael Hansen, the former number two at KeyCorp's technology unit, was brought in to supervise check processing and cash management. Data processing is now run by Dale Terrell, formerly a senior vice president with the service unit.
All of these changes are closely tied to a renewed effort by the $87-billion-asset superregional to sell more products through its branch network, according to Richard Headley, the technology subsidiary's chairman and chief executive officer.
The moves will better "align the services corporation with the parent company," says Headley, who has had his current post for two years, but is now assuming a more active role. Previously, Headley spent 17 years in various line management jobs at Banc One.
Until this spring, the real nuts-and-bolts work of the service unit had been left to Barrett. Headley, meanwhile, worked in the background, steadily implementing a standardization of Banc One's computer and check operations. Banc One is in the midst of rapidly shrinking the number of operating units and computer systems that support them, and Barrett is now responsible for ensuring that every employee and department sticks to a limited set of common software applications and computer hardware.
Two years ago, when Headley was assigned his current job, chief executive John McCoy and other senior managers were just beginning to draw up plans to replace Banc One's traditional Uncommnon Partnership with a far more common one.
Abandoning the Uncommon Partnership was a dramatic change for Banc One, which prided itself on the autonomy it delegated to executives of its more than 80 subsidiary banks. That arrangement also allowed many of the banks it acquired to hang on to their old computer systems.
That made new product introduction time-consuming and costly. The Common Partnership should not only speed up product introduction but lower distribution and training costs.
That should help Banc One generate more revenue. As Headley puts it, "The business of banking (today) is all about revenue."
Banc One's moves have received a positive reception from Wall Street. "The heart of what has always made Banc One so good is that they are a tremendous marketing organization," says Salomon Brothers analyst Carole Berger. "Give these guys something to sell, and they know how to do it."