Bank of the West, a unit of BNP Paribas SA that ranks seventh in deposits in California, hired its second former Citigroup Inc. executive in as many weeks to help replenish its management ranks.
The San Francisco bank planned to announce Friday that Maura Markus, previously head of international retail-banking operations at Citigroup, joined Bank of the West as president and chief operating officer.
Her hiring for the bank's No. 2 post is a sign of BNP's commitment to the U.S. retail-banking market. The French bank is looking for ways to expand Bank of the West, including by possibly buying failed banks.
Ms. Markus's "retail background is particularly valuable to us, but the mandate is even broader," Bank of the West Chief Executive Michael Shepherd said in an interview.
Bank of the West has about $60 billion in assets and has endured the financial crisis relatively well, though it posted a net loss of $403 million last year. Like many lenders, the company is exposed to troubled home builders and consumers, and "there are a few investment securities I wish we hadn't bought," Mr. Shepherd said.
Bank of the West is expected to regain profitability this year, partly with efforts to sell more bank products to existing customers and to attract customers from rivals. Those tasks will fall on Ms. Markus, along with expanding the bank's wealth-management business and small-business lending. "We want to be bigger over time when we find the right acquisition," Ms. Markus said. Overall, "there is a commitment to growth."
Ms. Markus left Citigroup last year, after 22 years at the New York bank, amid a restructuring of its retail-banking unit. From 2000 to 2007, she was president of Citibank, the company's U.S. retail-banking business.
Last week, Bank of the West announced the hiring of Duke Dayal as chief financial officer. Mr. Dayal held the same post at Citigroup's banking operations on the West Coast. While many banks have retreated from at least some loans, Bank of the West "did a terrific job" in continuing to lend, Ms. Markus said in an interview. "That's the benefit of a smaller company. You have a more hands-on approach."