Centura Banks Inc. shuffled its top management-electing Cecil W. Sewell chairman and CEO, as well as a five-member management team of three vice chairmen, a new chief financial officer, and a chief knowledge officer responsible for the bank's technology operations-with the intention of making the $6 billion-asset state-chartered bank a financial services supermarket earning about half its revenue from non-interest income, doing little product pioneering. "The pioneers get the arrows and the settlers get the land," Sewell says. "We like to be early settlers."

Reaching the 50 percent figure means hard work for Rocky Mount, NC- based Centura. Non- interest income totals about 28.7 percent of the bank's total income; Centura's 1996 net interest income was $250 million, while non-interest income was about $101 million. H. Kell Landis III, one of the three new vice chairmen, will be responsible for a new Financial Services Group, charged with reshaping the bank's income stream.

To reach the goal, Centura will stick to manufacturing and holding what it knows-commercial and industrial loans, for instance-and "retailing" other products in which it has less expertise, like mutual funds and annuities, says Sewell. "There are products that we have manufactured in the past; in the future we will offer both (our) manufactured products, and products that we're delivering (but) someone else has manufactured," he says. "We have to be indifferent as to which (products) the customer purchases, and have to give the customer what's good for them."

Landis acknowledges his job won't be easy. "Whenever I hear (Sewell) state that goal (of 50 percent non-interest income), I agree with him that it's a worthy and ambitious goal; we're a long way from there. We have to fundamentally change the whole income stream of our company."

To do that, Landis's group is actively growing the trust and investment management business, including selling retirement plans, especially 401(k) plans, to its core small business customers; underwriting insurance, both personal and commercial (as a state-chartered bank, Centura can underwrite insurance); growing a leasing business; making sub-prime non-conforming loans through a newly-acquired subsidiary; growing its mortgage originations and servicing division; and offering cash management and merchant point-of-sale products.

Included in the Centura fiefdom is a strong in-store banking effort (167 locations) and heavy emphasis on telephone banking, which Landis says he intends to turn into a profit center, selling retail and small business loans, personal lines of credit, home mortgages, and insurance.

While branch closings are not immediately contemplated, Landis says that, as Centura makes investments in new distribution channels, he expects people to use electronic channels more and become less branch dependent. FB

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