Michigan National Corp., now a unit of National Australia Bank Ltd., has restructured its bank into three business units - serving consumers, corporations, and small businesses.

The move is meant to make the $9.5 billion-asset company more competitive, said Douglas Ebert, chief executive.

Michigan National has had a rough go in the past decade, struggling to overcome a series of missteps that ultimately led to its sale in November.

Now, with the muscle of its $129 billion-asset parent, the U.S. company is positioning itself for growth through acquisitions, Mr. Ebert said. He said Michigan National may reenter mortgage banking, a business it sold in 1994, and credit cards, which it shed in 1989. It is also interested in insurance sales.

Mr. Ebert, who came to Michigan National in December 1993, said his management team decided in February to reorganize the business units.

However, he said, the move is not a cost-saving effort but a realignment to boost lending by focusing executive talent on sales.

Richard Webb, senior executive vice president for commercial financial services, is now in charge of middle-market and corporate lending; Susan Barbour, senior vice president for business financial services, heads lending to companies under $5 million in annual sales; and W. Brian Black, senior vice president for consumer financial services, oversees retail banking.

Mr. Ebert said Robert Hutchinson, an executive he recruited from Chemical Banking Corp. in 1994 to supervise small-business lending and alternative delivery systems, will fill a newly created position: senior vice president for channel management. The role will focus primarily on home banking and telephone banking, Mr. Ebert said.

Michael Moran, an analyst with Roney & Co. in Detroit, said Michigan National's results have apparently improved since the Australian bank took it over.

But the bank needs to grow revenues if the price National Australia paid for it is to pay off.

"It sounds contradictory, but while the peformance of the bank is excellent, the performance of the investment is weak," Mr. Moran said.

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