The executive in charge of trust and investment sales at Wheeling, Ill.-based Cole Taylor Financial Group has resigned to take a similar position at a larger bank.
Richard S. White Jr., 62, started work last Tuesday at Birmingham, Ala.- based SouthTrust Corp. as an executive vice president for trust, private banking, and brokerage. Mr. White is being replaced at Cole Taylor by T. Scott McCartin, chief investment officer.
"My roots have always been in the South," said Mr. White, who grew up in Atlanta.
At $17.3 billion-asset SouthTrust, Mr. White is in charge of harnessing the private banking, trust, and brokerage services that the bank offers. His position is indicative of a trend among banks to consolidate these departments under one executive.
"There's a tremendous amount of synergies between private banking, trust, and brokerage," explained Mr. White.
The bank is trying to develop a uniform culture among these three divisions, which are often seen as competitors rather than allies. SouthTrust and other banks, including First Union Corp., First Chicago NBD Corp., and Signet Bank Corp., want their employees to cross-sell the services of each of these three departments.
"Integrating services across business units is a hot topic now among banks," said consultant David Master, managing director of Optima Group, Fairfield, Conn. Fueling the transformation is a renewed focus on the wealthy by banks' competitors, brokerages and the insurance industry, he added.
Most banks are not set up well to serve the affluent market, Mr. Master said. Many banks historically have organized themselves around products, not business lines.
While that structure works for selling simple products, such as certificates of deposits or annuities, it does not foster the type of sophisticated relationships wealthy customers demand.
"As you move up the net-worth scale, people have multiple needs, and more often than not they are meeting those needs outside the bank," Mr. Master said.
Indeed, Mr. White's first task is to instill a sales culture among officers and investment representatives in the departments he supervises. That way, the bank's brokerage, trust, and private banking units will start acting as if they are in a brokerage house, not a traditional bank.
SouthTrust also hopes to make its proprietary Vulcan Funds the "centerpiece" of its retail investment business, said Mr. White.
"What the banks have that you won't find with larger names is an intimacy with their customers," Mr. White said about competing with money managers and brokerage houses.
"Bank customers and the investment representatives, for instance, can meet with the portfolio managers. That's an advantage the proprietary funds have," he said.
Mr. White's experience in the commercial banking industry spans 37 years. At $508 million-asset Cole Taylor, he not only oversaw trust and retail brokerage, but he was also the architect of the company's insurance sales program.
Before joining Cole in 1995, he was a senior executive vice president and senior trust and investment services executive for Premier Bancorp, Baton Rouge, La.
He began his career in 1958 as a trust officer with Hamilton National Bank, Chattanooga, Tenn.