After moving to a new suite of offices, executives in the New York trust department of Chase Manhattan Corp. may also change the way they work with clients.
Chase is looking at having the trust division reflect more closely its private bank, which is broken up into teams of executives. The private banking teams work with categories of clients, such as corporate professionals, wealthy families, and entrepreneurs.
"While trust officers may support those teams, we're looking at more closely aligning them with those groups," a Chase private bank spokeswoman said.
The potential for adjustments in client services comes after the retirement in late July of Thomas E. Roepe, the head of New York trust and estate administration.
Mr. Roepe, who worked in the trust department of Chemical Bank Corp. before its merger with Chase, had four team leaders in New York working for him. Those leaders now report to Julian S. Bub, the executive in charge of domestic trust administration.
"Tom's departure has given us the opportunity to look at the organization to see if there are ways to improve," the spokeswoman said. "We are consistently reviewing our organizational structure to ensure we have the best possible structure to serve our clients."
Under the possible realignment, Chase's trust administrative staff, which has been working as a centralized group, may also be divided to support the teams, the spokeswoman said.
Individual trust officers in the bank, created by the merger of Chase and Chemical, have accounts representing different kinds of clients. The old Chase's clientele tended to be more international and entrepreneurial, while Chemical's was made up more of owners of small domestic companies.
The combined department, overseen by global trust and fiduciary executive Terence A. Todman, manages nearly $40 billion in trust assets.
Also in late July, 90 people in the New York trust department moved from their former Chemical offices to join 130 counterparts in the new Chase.
"We're on schedule with the merger as far as the trust department is concerned," she said. "The last hurdle will be the conversion to one accounting system, which will take place at the end of October."
Initial changes in the trust department, including Mr. Todman's appointment, were announced shortly after the close of the merger in April 1996. Observers say recent changes show that the formerly separate organizations are truly coming together.
"The problem was the time required to make two systems compatible," said Samuel S. Polk, a partner of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. "It's the logical second step after the merger."
Milbank Tweed, a New York-based law firm, had worked with both predecessor banks. Mr. Polk added that senior executives in the new Chase were already acquainted, and they work "very well together."
Although having different offices may have been inconvenient, he said, logistical pains were not noticed by private clients.