Bank of America is mapping out a national strategy for its commercial banking business.

The San Francisco-based bank last week appointed Barbara Rambo to the new post of national head of commercial banking. A group executive vice president, the 45-year-old Ms. Rambo was previously responsible for the bank's California commercial banking division.

Ms. Rambo, who could not be reached for comment, will oversee retail banking, credit, deposit, capital markets, cash management, investments, and personal banking for middle-market clients. Before her appointment, strategies for serving that market were charted regionally.

Bank analyst George Salem of Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. said the shift away from a regional approach "makes a lot of sense" for Bank of America.

"The middle market is less fierce than the big corporate market, and in addition, it fits well with the clients of Robertson Stephens," Mr. Salem said. "It's perfect for them in terms of the types of companies" Robertson Stephens serves.

Earlier this year, BankAmerica Corp., Bank of America's parent, bought Robertson Stephens, a San Francisco investment banking firm.

Brian Eisenbarth of Collins & Co., San Francisco, added that there's "growth potential" for the bank in the middle market, as long as "they keep their costs down."

"It seems like they're spreading their reach into the local markets now that things are going well, but they're going to have to carve out a specific piece in order to make it worth their time."

The commercial banking move is in line with a reorganization of global retail banking announced by Bank of America in August. The reorganization was designed to appoint functional business managers to set national strategies for the bank.

Under that plan, Robin Foote was hired from First Chicago NBD Corp. to head relationship marketing. William Goodyear, a Midwest marketing executive, was named head of global private banking and trust.

Ms. Rambo will also manage regional commercial banking offices and oversee auto dealer corporate services, which provides wholesale financing to auto dealerships. She will report to H. Eugene Lockhart, president of global retail banking.

Ms. Rambo sits on the board of directors of The Gymboree Corp., BankAmerica Business credit, and BankAmerica Capital.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.