First Interstate Bancorp has had its share of staff cuts, but its private banking and trust divisions continue to grow.

Last month, the Los Angeles-based banking company announced two executive appointments, one in Arizona and the other in California.

Thomas N. Slonaker was named executive vice president of the trust and private client services group in Scottsdale, Adz. He had been chief investment officer and head of the investment management group.

Brian A. Maki was named manager of the Los Angeles private client services office of First Interstate Bank of California. He joins the company from the Los Angeles office of Yasuda Trust and Banking Co., Tokyo.

Each man brings approximately three decades of banking experience to his new position.

Russell K. Snow Jr. executive vice president of the trust and private banking unit, said the addition of high-level executives is a strong indication of the contribution wealth management services is making to First Interstate's bottom line.

Fee revenues from trust and private banking doubled in 1993, Mr. Snow said. He expects fees from these businesses to grow by about 40% this year. "This is a core business for the corporation," Mr. Snow said.

Mr. Maki most recently served as vice president of entertainment industries for Yasuda Trust.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Maki spent 25 years with BankAmerica Corp. in various capacities.

During his tenure he served as a senior account officer in two of the San Francisco-based company's private banking offices in Southern California.

In his new post, he is responsible for providing high-net-worth clients with investment management, personal trust, and other private banking services.

Mr. Maki manages a staff of 10 and reports to vernon Kozlen, manager of First Interstate's. private client services division.

Mr. Slonaker has more than 30 years of experience in investment and portfolio management.

Before being tapped to run the investment management division, which was created in October, he was a manager for First Interstate's own portfolio.


Chase Manhattan Bank has contracted with Avistar Systems of Palo Alto, Calif., to provide video conferencing for its private bank.

The system allows private banking clients to meet with Chase investment advisers around the world and lets Chase executives located worldwide hold conferences without traveling.

"We think this technology gives us a real competitive advantage," said James W. Zeigon, executive vice president of Chase's private bank.

"Our professionals in San Francisco, London, New York, and Geneva can discuss investment opportunities in real time with our clients in a way that is high tech and high touch," Mr. Zeigon said.

The banking company.plans to expand the service, which is currently being used in a pilot test, early next year.

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