1-800-Relief

Dale Busbee may be the most accessible banker on the Gulf Coast.

Busbee, Southeast regional representative for Sterling National Bank of New York, has had his mobile phone number shared in press releases and on the ground in Louisiana to field calls about Sterling's new program to help local staffing companies.

The bank has allocated $100 million to lend to firms that are supplying workers for cleanup, containment and infrastructure support needed in the wake of the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Sterling is using its previously established "fast-track" program to expedite the review and approval process for staffing firms constrained by their usual payroll funding limits.

"The staffing firms that are being called upon to provide an important part of the cleanup efforts are determined to not let credit limitations deter them from what needs to be done," said Busbee, who is based in Slidell, La., and available at (985) 640-2782. (We called. He picked up.)

Sterling, which has a long history of serving staffing firms through its payroll financing group, already has about half a dozen staffing firm clients in the coastal region and recently advertised its new program on local radio. "I've gotten several calls from that," Busbee said, "and we're working on several other deals right now where companies are running up against their bank lines of credit. They're trying to help but their banks are saying no, and we're obviously saying yes."

Strong Final Act

Mike Cavanagh, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s departing chief financial officer, got a warm send-off in his last quarterly earnings call with analysts Thursday.

Chief Executive Jamie Dimon thanked Cavanagh for "doing a great job" handling the finances of "a large financial company in a very tough time." He described the call — in which JPMorgan Chase reported second-quarter profits that far exceeded expectations — as "kind of his swan song."

Cavanagh is taking over treasury and securities services unit after six years as CFO. Dimon lauded him for "earning respect" while "maintaining good relations with" analysts.

Taking that cue, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Guy Moszkowski opened the question-and-answer session by saying: "Jamie said it all, but you've done such a terrific job for all of us. I want to thank you for that."

NCBA Names Chief

The North Carolina Bankers Association has named a new chairman.

Larry Barbour, the president and chief executive of North State Bancorp in Raleigh, has agreed to wield the gavel for the next year. He succeeds Skip Brown, a regional executive for First Community Bancshares Inc. of Bluefield, W. Va.

"The banking industry needs leaders like Larry to work alongside our lawmakers as critical decisions are made that impact our industry and great state," North State Chairman Fred Smith Jr. said in a press release Tuesday.

The Loyalty Test

Citigroup Inc., U.S. Bancorp and JPMorgan Chase are going head to head (to head) this month as Colloquy, a loyalty marketing research and publishing firm, invites marketers to vote on the most customer-focused loyalty initiatives in five categories, including one for financial services.

The contest, which runs through July, pits the Citi Forward card against the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Visa and JPMorgan Chase's Ultimate Rewards card.

Citi also is a finalist for the "master of enterprise loyalty" award. In that category, the Citi ThankYou Network rewards program is up against Delta Air Lines Inc.'s Delta SkyMiles program and SCENE Rewards, an entertainment perks program run by Scotiabank and Cineplex Entertainment.

Voting runs through July 31 at www.colloquy.com/loyaltyawards, and winners will be announced Sept. 16.

New Recruits

KeyCorp announced Thursday the appointment of Barbara Snyder, 55, the president of Case Western Reserve University since 2007, to its board of directors. …

Regions Financial Corp. has filled its vacant post leading small-business efforts. The company promoted Lynetta Tipton Steed to the job Thursday; she succeeded John Asbury, who was named head of business services in May. Steed, who has overseen similar efforts in central Florida, is now in charge of a group that made $6.9 billion in small-business loans last year. She will also oversee community banking.

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