Art of Teamwork

A team of veteran bank analysts cut in February by First Horizon National Corp. is back.

Jeff Davis, Marty Mosby and David Darst began coverage of banking companies Tuesday after quietly joining Guggenheim Securities LLC, a unit of Guggenheim Partners, in March. Davis, a managing director at the unit, said the trio hopes to cover roughly 60 companies ranging from small- to large-cap names. "We're just now getting started," Davis said.

The analysts were displaced four months ago when First Horizon closed its institutional equity research business after a deal to sell the unit fell through. More than 100 employees lost their jobs.

The team is helping launch an equity sales trading business at Guggenheim Partners, which last year hired former Bear Stearns Cos. Chief Executive Alan Schwartz as executive chairman. The company handles more than $100 billion of assets.

Davis said his team was excited about starting up a new division and staying together. "One of the attractions involved starting this up and having significant resources," he said. "And everyone agreed that there was definitely more value with us as a team as opposed to one-offs."

Guggenheim Partners traces its roots to the early 1990s, when it managed the assets of the Guggenheim family, better known for the museum that bears the clan's name.

How's Plastics?

For fresh college graduates looking for some straight talk about the labor market they are about to enter, who better to hear it from than the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?

William Dudley, New College of Florida class of 1974 and the bank's president since January 2009, returned to his alma mater last week to deliver a commencement address that mixed encouragement with a healthy dose of reality.

"The U.S. economy is recovering and we are now seeing the first signs of significant employment growth," he said in the text of his speech, which is available on the New York Fed website. "Thus, this is a better year to graduate than last. However, finding a job will not be easy: the unemployment rate is much too high — nearly 10%. And the recovery seems likely to be more sluggish than we would like."

But Dudley promised the graduates of the Sarasota school that the Fed will "do all we can to support more rapid economic and employment growth."

Dudley also offered a bit of empathy, noting that when he entered the job market in 1974, the economy was in recession.

Moves at Regions

Regions Financial Corp. has picked an insider to take over its commercial lending operations.

The $137 billion-asset Regions said John Asbury has become head of its business services group, succeeding Tim Laney. Regions, of Birmingham, Ala., said Laney has agreed to become the chief executive of NBH Holdings Corp., a Boston company formed last year to build a community banking franchise.

Asbury, an executive vice president, joined Regions in March 2008 as head of business banking. He has also managed the bank's centralized credit underwriting, documentation and administration for this line of business.

Separately, Regions said it had added Eric C. Fast, the president and CEO of Crane Co., an industrial products manufacturer, to its board. Fast has financial services experience, having worked at Salomon Smith Barney and Bank of New York Co. before joining Crane in 1999.

Shoring Up Execs

ShoreBank Corp. said it has reorganized its management team one week after the embattled lender was thrown a lifeline by some of the country's largest banks.

David Vitale, a banking veteran who has served as vice president and president of First Chicago, will become executive chairman of ShoreBank Corp. He will fill the roles of retiring co-founders Ron Grzywinski, who was chairman of the board, and Mary Houghton, who was president of the board. William Farrow, who got his start at First Chicago, will succeed George Surgeon as president of ShoreBank, the company's main bank subsidiary. Farrow also will be chief operating officer. The changes were announced Wednesday.

Surgeon will continue in his roles as chief executive of the bank, and president and CEO of the holding company. Eileen Kennedy, another First Chicago alum, will take over as chief financial officer of the bank and the holding company.

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