A recent series of executive changes at Memphis-based National Commerce Bancorp. will elevate the stature of the company's nonbank subsidiary businesses, analysts and observers said.

According to Thomas M. Garrott, chairman of the $3.4 billion-asset bank, the personnel moves last week were "the continuation of a long-term plan that clearly defines our corporate strategies and realigns the organization along functional lines."

The promotions went to William R. Reed Jr. and Lewis E. Holland, who became executive vice presidents of the holding company; Gus B. Denton, who became its corporate secretary; and Mackie H. Gober, who was made president of National Bank of Commerce.

Mr. Reed, 49, previously vice chairman of the Memphis bank, will oversee all of National Commerce's traditional banking operations, as well as its supermarket branches. Mr. Holland, 52, who was the bank's chief financial officer, will hold that title at the holding company while supervising all nonbank operations, including consumer finance, consulting, and investment advising.

Mr. Gober, 48, had been an executive vice president of the Memphis bank. Mr. Denton, 55, is its executive vice president of retail administration and operations.

"Previously the bank and holding company were very inter-related. Now, we're further decentralizing, placing more responsibility and accountability with individual managers," Mr. Garrott said.

"Memphis-based banking activities will be housed within NBC under Mackie Gober, while 'nontraditional banking' functions and subsidiaries will reside at the holding company level," he said.

Mr. Garrott also noted that the changes would allow him to focus on corporate direction and strategic planning.

"The growth of this company is not opening branches in the state of Tennessee," said analyst Henry Coffey Jr., with J.C. Bradford & Co. "The growth of this company is in the consumer finance area."

National Commerce established a consumer finance subsidiary in 1993. Called Commerce Finance Co., it now has seven offices in Tennessee and Mississippi.

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