Executives from Keycorp are hitting the road this week to introduce the bank's new family of mutual funds to branch employees.

The Albany, N.Y.-based company will market the Victory family of funds throughout its 10-state network of 900 branches.

The lineup consists of two money market funds, three taxable bond funds, a tax-exempt municipal bond fund for New York, and an equity fund.

The fund family's name sounds an awful lot like that of Keycorp's chairman, Victor Riley - but that's just a coincidence, executives insist. The name, they, say, was chosen through a contest among employees.

The Victory funds, which currently have $600 million of assets, were seeded by converting trust assets and through limited sales over the last few months.

"We see this developing very rapidly into a core product for Key," said Ralph M. Carestio, executive vice president for financial services.

Indeed, Mr. Carestio predicts that the funds will grow to $2 billion of assets by the end of next year.

The bank already has plans to boost the family by adding more portfolios, including an international equity fund and an aggressive growth fund.

Major Marketing Push

To help meet sales projections, Keycorp plans a major marketing push in 1994.

Mr. Carestio declined to disclose how much the bank plans to spend, but did say the amount is "the most the corporation has devoted to a nonbank product."

Keycorp will also boost its brokerage force by yearend to 200 from 170. The brokers will continue selling the funds of outside companies, as well.

Keycorp initially offered the Victory funds without loads as a way of accumulating assets.

With the retail rollout, the bank added loads of around 4.75%.

The loads will supply commissions, and help get brokers behind the products, said John Mastriani, chief executive of Keycorp's trust and investment management group.

"If we want to compete with the Franklins and the Putnams of the world, we have to have quality funds that are competitively priced."

The bank also believes brokers will back the funds, since they had a say in the types of portfolios that Keycorp decided to launch, Mr. Mastriani said.

Chief investment officer for the funds is W. Christopher Maxwell, who had headed the highly regarded Vista funds managed by Chase Manhattan. Bank.

Key is using portfolio managers in the bank's trust department to manage the Victory funds. Fidelity Distributors Corp., a unit of Boston-based Fidelity Investments, serves as sponsor and distributor.

Laurence "Buzz" Richmond is temporarily heading the investment products program that GNA Corp. operates in Chase Manhattan Bank branches.

About 160 GNA salespeople cover 350 Chase branches, offering annuities, insurance, and mutual funds, including the New York bank's Vista fund family.

Mr. Richmond, a GNA vice president, already manages retail sales forces the Seattle investment products marketer has in banks nationwide.

He has taken on the additional day-to-day responsibilities of the Chase program while GNA looks for a replacement for Steven Plump.

Mr. Plump left GNA this spring to join Liberty Financial as head of a joint venture between the Boston investment products marketer and Chemical Bank.

Mr. Richmond reports to David Sanderford, who oversees GNA's distribution through bank channels.

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