Art of Finance

When the Federal Reserve Bank of New York needed to appoint a Class C director to replace Denis Hughes, the New York state AFL-CIO president who has bumped up against the bank's term limits, it looked to perhaps the only building in the city more imposing than the New York Fed building itself.

Emily Rafferty, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this month inherits the unexpired portion of Hughes's last three-year term, which expires in December. Rafferty is a New York native who has been with the museum for 34 years, in areas including fundraising, development, membership and external affairs, before becoming president in 2005. Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, will replace Hughes as the bank's board chairman, a role Hughes had held since August 2009.

The New York Fed also reelected Richard Carrion, chairman and chief executive of Popular Inc., as a Class A director, and James Tisch, president and CEO of Loews Corp., as a Class B director. Both start three-year terms this month.

New, But Not Shy

Brian Foran, the new regional analyst at Nomura Securities in New York, has initiated coverage with a neutral rating on the sector. But he isn't quite so on-the-fence when it comes to specific institutions.

Foran, formerly an analyst for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is a fan of PNC Financial Services Inc., Huntington Bancshares Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. He recommended PNC's stock on the basis of its excess capital. Loan growth, with an assist from lower funding costs, scored a "buy" rating for Huntington, while Regions was described by Foran in his client note as a "late-cycle credit play."

Meanwhile, he recommended that investors reduce holdings of Hudson City Bancorp, KeyCorp and Comerica Inc., citing Hudson City's securities concentration, KeyCorp's securities concentration and core loan shrinkage, and his hunch that Comerica "needs higher interest rates to grow into" the strong pre-provision multiple that its stock currently enjoys.

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After stepping up its marketing involvement in golf last year, Royal Bank of Canada is taking another swing.

RBC announced on Wednesday that it's agreed to sponsor Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Matt Kuchar, the PGA Tour's top money earners in 2010. The agreements, of undisclosed price and duration, are "key drivers of RBC's brand momentum," said Jim Little, RBC's chief brand and communications officer. They add to the company's earlier marketing efforts in the sport, which include hosting the RBC Canadian Cup and supporting the overall PGA tour.

They also leave the company with a significant stable of golf players — RBC already had five "golf ambassadors," all of whom carry branded bags with them on the course and appear in company advertising.

Executive Moves

Veteran wealth management advisor William T. Norris has joined Chicago's Private Bancorp Inc. as its private wealth group's chief investment officer and head of trust wealth investments. He was most recently a managing director and chief fiduciary investment officer in JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s private bank and private wealth management services group, where he oversaw all of its trust clients' investment activities, PrivateBancorp said in a press release Thursday.

Norris has worked in private banking for 30 years; in his new role he oversees a division that provides trust, investment services and private banking to wealthy families.

Sallie Shuffle

SLM Corp. appointed Chief Financial Officer Jack Remondi to the newly created post of president and chief operating officer. The student-loan company also disclosed that its chief lending officer is stepping down at the end of the month.

Remondi has been financial chief since 2008 and is credited with navigating the nation's largest student lender through the economic crisis and its transformation from a government-sponsored entity to a retail-focused company. He joined Sallie Mae, as SLM is commonly known, in 1999 upon its acquisition of student-loan company Nellie Mae.

In his new role, Remondi will be responsible for the company's loan servicing, information technology, credit and underwriting, and collections. The financial departments will assume Remondi's prior duties until a successor is chosen.

Sallie Mae said top lending officer John "Jack" Hewes will provide consulting services, with the terms under negotiation, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hewes came out of retirement to join Sallie Mae in 2008, spokeswoman Martha Holler said. "Several months ago, as his work related to our transformation neared completion, he began to consider when to depart from the company," Holler said.

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