B of A Postpones Software Conversion Project

CHARLOTTE - Bank of America Corp. said on Wednesday it is postponing software conversions at its 1,000 California branches so it can focus resources on other projects.The company now does not expect to have its banking software running in the Golden State until 2001, a delay of at least half a year from the original target date of May 2000. Bank of America said that to meet the original deadline, it would have had to divert resources away from projects such as Internet banking, a customer service initiative, and next year's advertising campaign. The bank still intends to replace branch signage and computer hardware in 2000.

R. Jay Tejera, with Ragen MacKenzie Inc. in Seattle, expressed disappointment, saying that the system at California branches is "surprisingly inefficient and unprofitable. I believe investors are looking forward to seeing the new system in place as soon as possible."

Robert Stricker, the bank spokesman, said the bank believes its money can be better spent on other initiatives. He said loan and deposit growth in the western region has outpaced the rest of the country this year.

- Louis Whiteman

Warburg Hires Lehman Exec for Global Post

NEW YORK - Warburg Dillon Read, the investment banking arm of Switzerland's UBS AG, said Wednesday it had hired Christopher Ryan from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. as global head of banking products.Mr. Ryan, 38, will be responsible for building up global syndicated lending, acquisition finance and loan portfolio management. He was the head of loan syndication and trading at Lehman.

- Laura Mandaro

1st Union Unit Offers Web Currency Service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - First Union Securities said Thursday it has started offering foreign exchange trading over the Internet.The firm's foreign exchange customers are now able to check exchange rates for 20 currencies and execute trades through First Union's Web site, during business hours. It plans 24-hour-a-day service next year.

- Laura Mandaro

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