Hoping to boost consumer banking business in its home state, Comerica Inc. has tapped a former American Express executive, Fenton R. "Pete" Talbott.

Mr. Talbott, 54, was most recently senior vice president of financial products and services for American Express Travel Related Services Co. He was named Comerica Bank of Michigan's executive vice president of community banking.

A 20-year veteran of financial services companies, Mr. Talbott has also worked for First Boston Corp., BankAmerica Corp., and Citicorp.

Mr. Talbott's charge at Comerica, a $35 billion-asset Detroit company with a reputation for lending to large companies, will be improving the bank's consumer retail business, including small-business lending.

Of Comerica's 400 bank branches, 280 are in Michigan. Analysts say no large Michigan banking company dominates the retail business in the state.

While at American Express, Mr. Talbott led a strategic review of the financial services industry. The review reinforced concerns bankers have had for the past few years over competition from nonbanking companies.

"I'm not sure banks are behind," Mr. Talbott said in an interview. "But they've clearly lost some market share to the Fidelitys of the world and the Schwabs of the world.

"There's a dramatic shift in the way people think and the way they invest for the future," he added. "Rather than saying you're saving for a rainy day, people are investing for a rainy day."

Prior to heading the products strategy division for American Express, Mr. Talbott was chief executive of the company's Acuma Ltd. financial planning subsidiary.

Before that, he spent two years heading retail at BankAmerica.

"His resume looks very impressive," said Michael Moran, an analyst with Detroit-based Roney & Co. Mr. Moran said Mr. Talbott's experience in administrative and retail jobs fits into Comerica's strategy of muscling up its consumer business, which it announced last March.

Mr. Talbott, who joined Comerica last month, reports to vice chairman John Lewis.

Although Mr. Talbott's position at Comerica is a new one, he fills a vacancy left by former executive vice president Edward J. "Chip" Miller, who oversaw all retail banking operations. Mr. Miller left the bank early last year and is now a senior vice president for commercial banking at Standard Federal Bank, Troy, Mich.

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