To the Editor:

It is great to read that at least some bankers and consultants are catching on to the importance of branding (special report, June 11, page 6). It's been a long battle and I hope more jump on the bandwagon.

But there are still huge questions.

Chase Manhattan, for example, devotes many pages in its annual report to branding and relationships, but when it comes to the bank's relationship card it can't seem to decide whether it is a NYCE, MasterCard, or Mondex card.

It seems to me that two fundamentals should guide bankers.

First, if you support national or global brands, don't be surprised if customers eventually relate to these brands rather than your own.

Second, Madison Avenue tends to focus on national or global brands, but local or regional brands can be equally powerful in those respective spheres.

Bankers should not confuse the global acceptance that major brands confer with the need to submerge those brands for local or regional purposes.

Finally, if rumors of Justice Department undoing of credit card duality are correct, banks should be focusing on demonstrating that they, rather than MasterCard or Visa or the regional networks, are the primary competitors. Banks have been great in creating these successful bureaucracies; the problem now is to control them.

Joseph E. Wallace


System B Division


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