The head of the newly merged brokerage operations of California Federal Bank and Glendale Federal Bank is looking to increase overall sales by a third next year.
Deborah Bernot, the president of Cal Fed Investments, Sacramento, Calif., projects $1 billion in sales of mutual funds, annuities, life insurance, and other products in 1999.
The brokerage businesses, which were merged Nov. 13, should have combined sales of $650 million this year, she said. (The banking companies merged Sept. 11. Golden State Bancorp, whose name the merged company took, owned Glendale Federal; First Nationwide Holdings owned California Federal.)
The sales increase is expected to come about partly through the addition of more platform sales representatives at branches of the former Glendale Federal.
Insurance sales should be boosted by the addition of insurance specialists, who will train and back up platform and dedicated brokers and sometimes get directly involved with customers, Ms. Bernot said.
Another big factor will be an increased emphasis on developing relationships with employees of companies the bank does business with, Ms. Bernot said.
For example, when the bank does a 401(k) orientation, its representatives will describe the other products and services available to the individual employees, including things like insurance and mutual funds.
"We want to make sure we are focused on providing group products to businesses and have more employees use bank products and services," she said.
Ms. Bernot started the investment products business at First Nationwide Bank, San Francisco, about a decade ago. When First Nationwide bought California Federal last year, Ms. Bernot continued to head the brokerage business, which took the Cal Fed Investments name.
Ms. Bernot and her management team led the successful integration of those units and created a stronger entity through measures like improving the compensation system, said Kenneth Kehrer, a consultant in Princeton, N.J.
"I expect this integration to go fairly smoothly," Mr. Kehrer said. "They have had a lot of experience pulling together diverse organizations."
One of the key challenges for Ms. Bernot this time around is to build up the platform sales team at the former Glenfed branches.
Cal Fed Investments has 115 full-service brokers, whom the company calls "financial consultants," and 1,000 platform reps certified to sell mutual funds, annuities, and simple kinds of life insurance.
Of those 1,000, only 140 are from Glenfed. As many as 400 platform reps will be added at the former Glenfed branches by the end of next year, Ms. Bernot said.
Reporting to Ms. Bernot is Jack LaSalle, national sales manager, who had the same position at Cal Fed before the merger. He oversees two divisional sales managers: Vic Perrella, who handles Northern California and Nevada, and Rob Amdahl, who covers Southern California.
Mr. Perrella was previously a sales manager with Cal Fed, and Mr. Amdahl was in charge of Glenfed's brokerage business. Rick Burrows, who was national sales manager under Mr. Amdahl, is now sales development manager. He handles training and related projects.