29, 30, 31 … Here!


Global Finance magazine recently unveiled its 18th annual list of the world's safest banks, and it would be tough not to notice that the U.S. banking industry still has a bit of ground to make up.

Consider that back in 2006, four big U.S. banking companies made the top 30. This year, none did, and both Citigroup Inc. (No. 12 in 2006) and Bank of America Corp. (No. 21 that year) failed to make the list at all.

You'd have to go down to the No. 32 slot this year to see an American banking firm in the rankings. That's where you would find Bank of New York Mellon Corp. JPMorgan Chase & Co. came in at No. 39. Wells Fargo & Co. was close by at No. 42, while U.S. Bancorp ranked 47th and Northern Trust Corp. ranked 49th out of 50. The top 10 group, dominated by European banks, was led by Germany's KfW, followed by Caisse des Depots et Consignations of France.

The list was based on total assets, as well as long-term ratings assigned by Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

"More than ever, customers all around the world are viewing long-term creditworthiness as the key feature of the banks with which they do business," Global Finance's publisher, Joseph Giarraputo, said in a news release.


Not Retiring Type

 Despite his many achievements, D. Paul Jones Jr. has found something that he struggles with: retirement.

Jones retired as chairman and CEO from Compass Bancshares Inc. in December 2007, only to resurface at the law firm Balch & Bingham LLC four months later. He increased his workload last summer when he agreed to join the board at Bank of America.

"So far I have flunked retirement," he admitted in a recent interview with the Birmingham Business Journal. Though he gave few details, he said his relationship with B of A, including membership on the audit committee, had proven to be "quite time-consuming."

Jones said he has managed to find time for recreation even as his dance card gets full. This summer he was able to visit his ranch in south Texas and take fishing trips to Alaska and Canada.


To Key from Nat City

 KeyCorp has outfitted its private bank's senior ranks with some veterans of the former National City Corp.

Gary W. Poth has joined the Cleveland company as director of sales and strategy, while Timothy L. Swanson has been named chief investment officer.

Poth was most recently the chief financial officer of National City's private client group and its Allegiant Asset Management subsidiary. He worked at Key earlier in his career as head of its strategic consulting group. Swanson, who was previously the chief investment officer and executive vice president in National City's private client group, is in charge of equity research, portfolio management, manager research and product development at Key's private bank.

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