Donald L. Boudreau is about to take the spotlight after a relatively low-profile period as a Chase Manhattan Corp. vice chairman.
The 36-year veteran of Chase-dating back to the "old Chase" as opposed to the company that emerged from the Chemical Banking Corp. merger in April 1996-is preparing for a major presentation to investors and analysts in November.
It is to be the unveiling of one of the highly touted benefits of the megamerger: the results of an 18-month-long effort to build a data base marketing capability.
"In a nutshell, we will expose how we will use technology to provide us with a competitive advantage," Mr. Boudreau said in an interview last week.
The limelight will bring new attention to Mr. Boudreau, 56, who has been in charge of consumer credit since the merger.
He oversees an $80 billion-asset group of activities, including a $26 billion credit card portfolio, $29 billion mortgage portfolio, and $21 billion consumer finance and auto lending unit.
Mr. Boudreau's consumer credit units, analysts estimate, will produce $4.5 billion of revenue this year, more than a quarter of the $336 billion- asset company's total.
Mr. Boudreau, who has spent his entire career at Chase, said he is not a typical member of the top management group. Thirteen of the 18 members of the team came from Chemical Banking Corp. and-or Manufacturers Hanover Corp., its previous acquisition. One comes from Chemical's historical affiliate, Texas Commerce Bank.
Before the merger, Mr. Boudreau was head of Chase's national consumer banking and commercial banking in the New York metropolitan region. He also spent time abroad, living in London while he ran Chase's international operations.
He started as a teller trainee at a Chase branch.
"He knows the business from the bottom up," said Michael Mayo, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston.
November's presentation will be the first time in recent years that Chase has called such attention to the national consumer business.
"It's an effort, I think, to get people interested," said David S. Berry, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. "Wholesale banking has always gotten more billing."
Mr. Boudreau will be talking about the massive customer information file that Chase is using to study the habits of 17 million customer households. If the imposing size of the data base can be matched with sophisticated analytical, management, target-marketing, and decision-support techniques, then Chase will move to the forefront of the data warehousing and data mining movement.
Mr. Boudreau said he would like to demonstrate in November "noticeably" higher response to direct-marketing efforts-in some cases twice the response rates of the past.
The improvement is the result of a system that tailors product pitches to desirable customers, said Mr. Boudreau.
Chase executives have said they want to increase the portion of customers using more than one Chase product from 10% to 20% over the next three years.
Analysts said successful data base management will help Chase build revenues while reducing operating costs.
"One advantage will be to allocate more resources to the most profitable customers, which will help the bank run more efficiently at a lower cost," Mr. Mayo said.
"I expect to see a lot of bells and whistles," Raphael Soifer, an analyst at Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co., said of Mr. Boudreau's forthcoming presentation. "Meaningful numbers might be too much to hope for."
Mr. Boudreau said the new technology's effects are already evident in key units like mortgages, cards, and auto finance.
Chase is the third-largest mortgage originator in the United States, behind Countrywide Home Loans and Norwest Corp. It is also the third- largest servicer. The unit accounts for 9% of retail revenues, and 14% of retail net income, according to analysts.
A year ago Chase considered selling its originations business because it was falling short of performance standards. But by slashing infrastructure and installing automation software-Chase now has 120 mortgage offices nationwide, has equipped one-third of its agents with laptop computers, and runs its back office on a combined system-the company has achieved a turnaround, Mr. Boudreau said.
"We fixed what was dysfunctional, and we changed the way we do the business," Mr. Boudreau said.
Credit cards-Chase is No. 4 behind Citicorp, MBNA Corp., and the merged Banc One Corp.-First USA Inc.-account for 33% of retail revenues and 12% of net income from retail operations but have suffered from declining credit quality over the last few quarters.
Mr. Boudreau said the credit problem peaked in the second quarter, at a 5.99% writeoff rate, and he estimated the portfolio will end the year between 5.60% and 5.70%.
Revenues will grow over the next year through more targeted direct mail solicitations using the customer information file, he said.
Acquisitions of card portfolios are also possible.
"We are generally in a growth mode, and we are looking at other portfolios to buy," Mr. Boudreau said. "We will be a player in the consolidation of the card business. Our tenet is to play an active role by buying."
He declined to comment on recent reports that Chase was close to buying the Bank of New York portfolio. Industry sources have said Bank of New York was not satisfied with Chase's latest bid and had asked investment bankers to find others.
Automation in auto lending will also help, he said. With an $11.1 billion portfolio, Chase is the top bank in auto lending and leasing and fourth when captive lenders led by General Motors Acceptance Corp. are included.
Kiosks being installed in the 6,000 auto dealerships with which Chase has relationships will cut loan approval time to five minutes, Mr. Boudreau said.
Lease customers will get customized packages, complete with preprinted applications using information culled from Chase's customer files, to encourage them to buy the car outright or sign another lease with Chase when their lease expires.
Chase already snares 40% of its lease customers this way, Mr. Boudreau said.
"We will show the investor community that this is not just vaporware," he added. "This is real data and real information."