Leslie Hannafey, Natwest Markets' new senior banker in charge of East Coast financial institutions, has some heavy lifting ahead of her.

Until late last year, Natwest, the investment banking arm of London-based National Westminster Bank. PLC, did not house a financial institutions group. Now, the firm hopes to muscle in on the Wall Street fraternity that controls the lucrative bank mergers and acquisitions advisory business, and it is looking to Ms. Hannafey to help lead the way.

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