U.S. Trust's Connecticut subsidiary is following the trust bank's expansion blueprint by seeking to add credit products to its host of financial services.

To do so, U.S. Trust Company of Connecticut will apply for a state banking charter. The company says it anticipates approval of full banking powers by the end of this year.

The Stamford-based unit, which manages $1 billion of investment assets, is now limited by its charter to investment and trust management.

In adding lending services, the three-year-old Connecticut trust operation is mirroring the expansion tactics U.S. Trust has employed since the early 1980s in other states. Beachheads were secured and then built upon in Florida, New Jersey, Texas, California, and Oregon.

Hitting those markets has helped U.S. Trust's overall assets under management balloon from $17.1 billion in 1990 to over $41 billion today.

"We're really following suit with what U.S. Trust affiliates have done around the country,"said U.S. Trust Co. of Connecticut president W. Michael Funck.

Four years ago, U.S. Trust hired Mr. Funck, formerly of Irving Trust Co., with a specific mandate to develop business in Connecticut.

He is opening a new office in West Hartford tomorrow and one in Greenwich in early April.

The Stamford staff of 23 will grow with the addition of credit officers. While waiting for the regulatory nod to offer credit products in Connecticut, the unit has referred private banking clients to private bankers in the New York office.

U.S. Trust faces steep competition in Connecticut from local banks such as Putnam Trust, a Bank of New York subsidiary in Greenwich that manages $2.4 billion.

There are also various competitive investment management boutiques sprinkled through the affluent Fairfield County.

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