Sumitomo Bank Ltd. has cut its New York-based loan syndication team to two from six.
Alice Mills, a senior vice president, and Will Heishman, an assistant vice president, were laid off this week, and two vice presidents were reassigned. George Sherman joined leasing finance, while Seiji Sato went to international finance.
"Japanese and Asian banks no longer have as big an appetite," said a Sumitomo spokesman. "We have also concluded that we could perform syndications more efficiently through downsizing."
Salomon Brothers continues to staff up its nascent loan syndication team with former Chemical Banking Corp. executives.
This time, Salomon - the latest investment bank to develop a syndicated lending franchise - has landed Simone Dagnino, most recently of Smith Barney, as an associate. He started work two weeks ago.
Mr. Dagnino had worked with Mavis Taintor and Nazan Clohesy at Chemical on loan syndications, and at Salomon he will take responsibility for originating and structuring loans.
Market sources said Bear, Stearns & Co. is in the final stages of putting together a bridge loan fund with a large bank. Bear Stearns is one of the few Wall Street firms yet to offer bridge loans. Increasingly, these loans are seen as a critical weapon for investment banks in defending their high-yield bond territory.
Speaking of high yield, market sources said Goldman, Sachs & Co. took the relatively unusual step of pulling two such junk deals for media and telecommunications companies from the market recently, despite a liquid and active market.
The investment bank had tried to bring deals for U.S. One and Cable Plus to market.
"The overall market has been very selective with respect to some of the media and telecommunications deals out there," said a high-yield expert.
A junk bond investor said the market shows good discipline when marginal deals don't get done.