Saving the Whales

U.S. Bancorp’s latest acquisition in San Diego is good for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and good for the Wyland whales.

The Minneapolis company is buying from the FDIC the former headquarters building of the failed San Diego National Bank, which U.S. Bancorp acquired in October with FDIC assistance.

The office property, covered almost entirely on one side with a seascape mural by the environmental artist Wyland, had not been part of the initial acquisition.

Robert Horsman, U.S. Bank’s regional chairman in San Diego and the former president and chief executive officer of San Diego National Bank, said the purchase of the building, at 1420 Kettner Blvd. in downtown San Diego, is good news for employees and for the community.

“This building has a special place in many hearts,” he said in a press release.

The mural, the 64th in Wyland’s “Whaling Walls” series, was painted in 1994 and depicts five gray whales migrating down the California coast on their way to Mexico. It is visible from the I-5 Freeway and from planes that fly in and out of San Diego International Airport.

U.S. Bancorp occupies 81,000 square feet in the building and said it will use more space there as it expands certain business lines and relocates others. U.S. Bank signage will soon appear on the building.

Changing the Guard

Kenneth Peterson has left Wells Fargo & Co. to succeed Gerald Dent as chief credit officer at Zions Bancorp.

Peterson spent 28 years at Wells Fargo and was most recently chief credit officer in its wealth, brokerage and retirement services group. He starts May 1.

Dent, who is retiring, has been with Zions since 1977 and has been its chief credit officer since 1998.

Peetz Honored

Karen B. Peetz, no stranger to readers who have followed our sister publication U.S. Banker’s coverage of the most powerful women in banking, will accept a Woman of the Year award later this month from the Financial Women’s Association, honoring her work as chief executive of financial markets and treasury services at Bank of New York Mellon Corp.

Peetz oversees a group that employs about 10,000 people and accounts for about a third of the custody bank’s $13 billion in annual revenue.

She will share the stage at an April 26 dinner in New York with the FWA’s pick for public-sector woman of the year, Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. The event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the FWA Educational Fund, which supports scholarship, mentoring and financial literacy programs for women in New York City. The FWA was founded in 1956 by eight women on Wall Street, and has grown to about 900 members.

Car … Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Mazda Motor Corp.’s North American operations see no reason to change gears when it comes to their auto lending partnership.

The two companies announced that JPMorgan Chase has signed a “multiyear” deal to stay on as Mazda’s sole provider of retail and lease financing under a newly branded division called Mazda Capital Services. JPMorgan Chase has handled Mazda’s dealer-related financing in the U.S. since January 2009.

Rollin’ Up Sleeves

Bank of America Corp. is putting in more hours to improve its image in the community.

Last week, Bank of America employees pledged 1 million hours of community service by the end of the year, beginning with a Habitat for Humanity project in Charlotte. About 50 employees participated in the April 1 event, which involved building two homes and renovating another.

Joe Price, the company’s president of consumer, small-business and card banking, appeared at the event to pledge $6 million over the next three years to the nonprofit organization.

Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, said in a press release that B of A had found that “augmenting our grants with the time and expertise of our associates provides exponential support to our partner organizations.”

B of A also announced that it had renamed its volunteer program, changing its name to the Bank of America Community Volunteers Program. (It had been known as Team Bank of America.)

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