Banks usually must struggle to recover market share in the wake of a large merger, but Unionbancal Corp. has shown no sign of a setback since its April 1 merger-of-equals, executives said recently.
Stephen L. Johnson, spokesman for the San Francisco-based company, said retail revenues so far this year are 6.5% from the same period last year, while wholesale revenues are up 6%, after adjusting for the merger.
Such numbers are in line with Unionbancal's premerger growth rate, since pro forma results for the quarter ended March 31 showed a 7% increase in revenues and a 32% increase in net income.
Unionbancal, California's third-largest bank company, with assets of $27.5 billion, was created when the Japanese parent companies of Bank of California and Union Bank merged April 1.
"We're undergoing extraordinary growth," said Unionbancal vice chairman Richard C. Hartnack, who runs the bank's retail and small-business divisions.
Mr. Hartnack said the company's revenue growth was due to solid marketing. But analysts said Union was probably also benefiting from the April 1 merger of Wells Fargo & Co. and First Interstate Bancorp, which boosted Wells' assets to $100 billion and solidified its No. 2 position in the state but was expected to prompt customer defections.
"I think it's sort of fortunate that they're doing this at the same time as Wells Fargo-First Interstate because I think that is the source of where their consumer account growth is coming from," said James Marks, an analyst in San Francisco at Hancock Institutional Equity Services.
Consumer banking growth is affecting every major product line, according to Mr. Hartnack. Union Bank of California now sells at least one bank product to 8% of the 11 million households in California. By yearend, it expects to increase this market share to 9%.
Union also expects to boost its share of consumer deposits in the state from 3% to 4%. Mr. Hartnack said about one-fifth of the bank's new customers are subscribers to its recently inaugurated personal computer banking service. These customers tend to have higher incomes and cost less to serve than other bank customers.
Unionbancal has been criticized by analysts for cutting too few jobs and for accepting too much dilution to shareholders. (A minority interest in the company is publicly traded.)
But Mr. Hartnack said the company's torrid growth justifies its light hand on layoffs.
Analysts added that greater-than-expected growth should temper concerns about earnings dilution.
"What this will do is probably help them earn back the dilution from the merger a little bit faster than some of us might have been expecting," said Bear, Stearns & Co. analyst Lawrence R. Vitale.