Citicorp has a new leader in its Florida operations.

This week, Patrick J. Kelly takes the helm as chief executive officer of Citibank Florida FSB, a unit of Citicorp. He will run Citi's 34-branch Florida retail network, reporting to Stephen Liguori, senior vice president and head of Citi's U.S. branch operations.

He succeeds Frits F. Seegers, who recently moved to Singapore to head up Citi's retail operations in Asia.

Mr. Kelly, whose most recent job was head of private banking for Citi in the South, is responsible for boosting revenues and deposits in Florida amid tough competition from rival out-of-state banks and other financial services companies.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Kelly said his first task will be to "get as close to people as possible" and "understand what the client base looks like and what fuels the business."

Analysts said Mr. Kelly has a tough task ahead of him, as competition intensifies to win over Florida's affluent, and increasingly younger, population.

In recent years, a handful of banks have swooped into Florida, seeing an attractive growth market, analysts said.

NationsBank Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., which recently bought Barnett Banks Inc. in Jacksonville, leads in market share, with $52 billion of deposits, or 26% of Florida's deposits, according to Sheshunoff Information Services.

First Union Corp., also based in Charlotte, has the second-largest market share with $29.7 billion of deposits, a 15% share, according to Sheshunoff.

Citibank, in contrast, ranks seventh, with $2.8 billion of deposits in the state and a 1.4% market share, according to Sheshunoff.

The $330 billion-asset New York bank entered Florida in 1988, with the acquisition of a failed savings and loan. Many of Citi's other non-New York branch networks across the United States were acquired in a similar fashion in the 1980s, but analysts said Citi has not found a consistent strategy for running its U.S. retail business.

1997 was the first profitable year for Citicorp's confederation of U.S. bank subsidiaries-with hubs in densely populated markets like Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, and Washington.

"Citi appears to be making a concerted effort to pay attention to its non-New York branches for the first time in many years," said Lawrence Cohn, an analyst at Ryan Beck & Co. "But they have to rethink where they are going."

The bank's Florida retail network is concentrated mostly in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, but Citi recently opened electronic banking centers in Jacksonville and Tampa.

Mr. Kelly said the bank hopes to expand its presence in central and northern parts of the state by converting what are primarily electronic centers into full-service hubs.

Citi also just opened a large back-office center in Tampa that could serve as the launching pad for expansion along the state's western coast, he said.

Mr. Kelly would not comment on plans for cross-marketing bank products with other financial products offered by Travelers Group. Citi and Travelers announced a $70 billion merger in April and said cross-sales would help fuel revenues at the new company.

"I have not thought about what the merger might mean to me at the local level," he said.

Mr. Kelly has been in charge of private banking in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina since 1996. He said that in his new post he hopes to apply some of the same techniques he used to run private banking, especially having bank officers work directly with customers.

"I want to have that same culture in the retail bank," he said. "The whole leadership team needs to be out there getting to know customers."

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