Makin' Copies …
Scott Custer is slowly adjusting to life at a much smaller company.
Last month, Custer was named the CEO of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings Inc., a three-employee venture created to buy small banks in Virginia and the Carolinas. The move came just four months after he left his post as CEO of RBC Bank, the U.S. unit of Royal Bank of Canada.
Speaking before the North Carolina Bankers Association, Custer was asked how he was adapting. "I have gotten used to getting my own coffee," he quipped. "I've actually gotten really good at making it," he added. "And making copies is no problem at all."
A good investor presentation should, metaphorically speaking, be a bit seductive.
But to make the case that shareholders should look beyond Zions Bancorp.'s less comely traits, Chief Financial Officer Doyle Arnold wooed an audience at Citigroup Inc.'s financial services conference this week in more literal fashion.
"Many of you in the room look at Zions in the way that you in your younger days might have looked at a really attractive guy or gal that has a bit of a wild side, a dangerous side," Doyle said. "Your mom says be careful."
Investors might be "skeptical of the risk of getting involved" with a bank averse to raising more capital and still hungover from its precrisis affinity for construction loans and collateralized debt obligations. But they wouldn't be in the room if they couldn't see Zions' alluring side, he said, "and what you want me to do is deal with the danger and satisfy your mom."
He returned to the theme throughout the presentation, describing a section on credit as "the riskier parts of the date we're on" and the securities portfolio as "the other thing your mom told you to be careful of."
Judging from Zions' 6% stock surge Wednesday, investors were convinced that a dalliance with the bank was worth their while.
Also at that conference … Jim Wells found an unusual way to hedge himself.
The SunTrust Banks Inc. chairman and CEO was asked when credit issues would abate. "It's difficult to forecast," Wells began. "I only took two economics courses, so I'm not competent to stand here and forecast macroeconomics."
Despite the caveat, Wells then went on to project a 1.5%-3% increase in GDP for 2010.
Follow the Leader
Target Corp. said Thursday that John Stumpf, the chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co., has joined the Minneapolis-based retailer's board. He technically replaced investor George Tamke. But Stumpf seemed to be trading places yet again with his predecessor at Wells, Richard Kovacevich. Target said Kovacevich plans to retire from the Target board Dec. 31 after a 14-year tenure.
By Jeff Horwitz and Paul Davis