Prudential Securities Inc. in New York has named Richard Schoninger senior managing director and head of investment banking.

Mr. Schoninger will have full responsibility for both policy and finance of the investment bank. He will report to Vincent Pica 2d, president of the capital finance group, and Tom Volpe, chairman of Prudential Volpe Technology Group.

Mr. Schoninger was head of the investment bank's real estate group, which he founded in 1992. He joined the company in 1990 as a director in the financial institutions group.

Clay Lebhar succeeded Mr. Schoninger as head of the real estate group. Mr. Lebhar, a managing director, joined the company in 1987.

NEW ENGLANDPeoples Heritage Bank in Portland, Maine, has promoted Raymond B. Lebel from assistant vice president to vice president, and it promoted two other executives to assistant vice president.

Mr. Lebel manages a branch in Lewiston, Maine. He joined the bank in 1968.

Nicholas H. Penfield and Gloria D. Page were promoted to assistant vice president.

Mr. Penfield manages the retail recovery department. He joined the bank in 1996.

Ms. Page manages new loan setups, payment processing, and participation loans in the commercial loan operations department in Lewiston. She joined the bank in 1995 and has 30 years of banking experience.

Peoples Heritage Bank is a subsidiary of $13.9 billion-asset Peoples Heritage Financial Group.

State Street Research and Management Co. in Boston said James M. Weiss, its chief investment officer for equities, will also become head of its equity group on April 1.He is to succeed Peter Bennett, who is retiring from the company in June, in charge of $24 billion of mutual funds and investment portfolios.

Mr. Weiss, 53, a member of the management committee, joined State Street Research in 1995 as deputy chief investment officer for equities and head of the growth group. Earlier he was president and chief investment officer at IDS Equity Advisors in Minneapolis. Before that he worked 21 years as a portfolio manager at Stein, Roe & Farnham, an investment management firm in Chicago.

State Street Research and Management is an investment management subsidiary of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of New York.

Mellon Financial Corp. has hired Steven Meister and Michael L. Munson as vice presidents and sales officers for its Boston-based Mellon Private Asset Management unit.Mr. Meister will work in the Miami office, and Mr. Munson will work in Boston.

Mr. Meister was president and founder of the Meister Financial Group, an investment firm in North Miami Beach. He has 13 years of investment experience.

Mr. Munson was a managing director at M&A Counselors and Fiduciaries in Hingham, Mass. Earlier he was an associate at the James M. Carabina P.C. law firm in Braintree, Mass., and legal coordinator at VR Business Brokers Inc. in Boston. He has 12 years of investment experience.

Mellon Private Asset Management has $87 billion of assets under management and administration.

MIDWESTKeyCorp in Cleveland has promoted Jack J. Kucler and Daniel J. Neistadt to executive vice presidencies in its electronic services division.

Mr. Kucler is to be both executive vice president and chief operating officer of the division, a newly created post. He was senior vice president and director of ATM services. He joined Society Bank's financial planning group in 1970. Society was bought by KeyCorp in 1997.

Mr. Neistadt was a senior vice president and will remain in charge of debit, merchant, and payroll services; the franchise ATM network; and official check services. He joined the company in 1969 and has been manager of its ATM network and senior productivity officer.

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