BankAmerica Corp. has become the latest to put a single executive in charge of payment-service coordination.

The Charlotte, N.C., banking giant last week announced formation of a group aimed at integrating its retail and corporate payments initiatives, with group executive vice president Chris Callero heading it. Mr. Callero is based in San Francisco and will remain there.

The strategic technology and integrated payments services group reflects a growing recognition of complexity in the payments business.

In a similar move, Wachovia Corp. put executive vice president Janet W. Smith in such a role in July, and the higher profile of these issues is evident in the participation of BankAmerica chief executive officer Hugh McColl and several peers on the board of the Bankers Roundtable's Banking Industry Technology Secretariat.

These newly created payments posts are indications of "above the silo" thinking, said Bert Ely, an Alexandria, Va., consultant, referring to the walls between business units that bankers are trying to break down.

The advent of electronic bill payment and presentment systems, for example, is seen as requiring both retail and wholesale input and planning, in contrast to the more straightforward payment systems of the past.

Mr. Callero, 46, said his group will assure that $595 billion-asset BankAmerica approaches its 32 million customers in a strategically sound and consistent manner.

"We need to establish a more holistic view of how we" serve customers, he said.

The strategic payments group will oversee electronic commerce, electronic bill presentment, and the delivery of services through cable television, telecommunications lines, and any other remote delivery channels.

Mr. Callero will take on several responsibilities held by Janey Place, a close associate of Mr. McColl who has announced her resignation as executive vice president of strategic technologies, effective at yearend. She has given no public explanation for her decision and was not available to comment for this article.

Mr. Callero's 27-year career began in the mailroom of the old BankAmerica. By 1983 he had risen to head of item processing for Southern California.

He became executive vice president and head of consumer lending in 1992. Two years later he formed a home- and auto-financing group. He was promoted to group executive vice president in 1994, and in 1997 his responsibilities were expanded to group head for deposit and payment services.

Mr. Callero reports to Kenneth Lewis, president of consumer and commercial banking, and James Dixon, president of technology and operations.

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