Need a New Phone?

Regions Financial Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive C. Dowd Ritter showed mercy during the company's third-quarter conference call.

A technical glitch cut off Ritter during his opening remarks detailing the Birmingham, Ala., company's third losing quarter in the past year. After a lengthy pause, the call resumed and Ritter shared a conversation he had with List Underwood, head of investor relations, during the break.

"I don't know what happened," Ritter said. "List just showed me an e-mail that said you need to take your IT guy out and whoop him good."

Ritter, with typical deadpan humor, added, "We won't do that."

He's forgiving, considering it's Regions' second gremlin in as many earnings calls. When Regions officials turned to several analysts in the July call with Ritter, the phone system had cut them off, leading to an awkward finish of that conversation.

New Help in Town

Capco, a financial services consulting firm in Antwerp, Belgium, has launched a North American banking group specializing in payments, lending and commercial and retail banking.

Leading the group for Capco is Matthew Cohn, who joined the company as a partner in July after serving as managing director for the North American cards and payments practice of the consulting firm BearingPoint Inc. in McLean, Va. Cohn currently heads a group of 35 consultants based either in New York, Toronto or San Francisco, but Capco aims to bulk up to more than 100 by the end of 2010, Cohn said in an interview.

"There's a lot of thought now about whether consumer behavior has changed from being borrowers to savers, and if this change is going to endure," Cohn said. "This has some dramatic ramifications on how banks operate and how they make money."

Capco consultants can help banks tweak their models to incorporate those changes in consumer behavior as well as deal with significant regulatory changes on the horizon, Cohn said.

This and That

Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati last week added Jewell Hoover and Emerson Brumback to expand to 13 directors. Hoover is a Charlotte banking consultant who worked 28 years for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, including a stint as head of the agency's western district. Brumback is best known as a former president and chief operating officer at M&T Bank Corp. in Buffalo. …

BB&T Corp. in Winston-Salem, N.C., has tapped Jeff Ellison as its first president of mortgage warehouse lending, a business BB&T picked up when it took over the failed Colonial Bank in August. BB&T Chief Executive Kelly King said Monday during a third-quarter conference call that the company would look to expand the business in existing markets. Ellison had been BB&T's senior credit officer in east Florida.

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