Sanwa Bank California has unveiled a corporate restructuring focused on relationship banking - at a time when many of its California rivals have adopted a line-of-business organization.

Sanwa California, the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Tokyo's Sanwa Bank Ltd., announced last week that it had created two new units and promoted two senior executives to manage them: the relationship banking group, headed by Larry Layne, and the marketing and delivery support group, with Doug Stewart at the helm.

Mr. Layne and Mr. Stewart will report to senior executive vice president Kazuyoshi Kuwahata, the bank's chief line officer.

"Our competitors - namely Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Union Bank - have through their recent actions revealed their strategies for the future," said president and CEO Tamio "Tom" Takakura.

"We plan to meet them head to head," Mr. Takakura said. "This reorganization is part of our strategy to do just that."

The new structure puts retail banking, corporate banking, investment management, and trust in Mr. Layne's relationship banking group.

Rather than have "four or five different segments of the bank" provide products to a customer, "all of our relationships will be provided under one umbrella," Mr. Layne said.

"People want to have a long-term relationship with a bank, so that they can go to the bank for all their banking needs," he said. "You can't do that with a line-of-business structure."

As head of Sanwa California's north-central division, Mr. Layne, a first executive vice president, built Sanwa California into a major agricultural lender in the Golden State.

Mr. Stewart's unit will provide marketing, research, and technological support to the relationship banking group.

Mr. Stewart, formerly an executive vice president of the specialized banking division, will become a first executive vice president.

Mr. Layne said recent thrift mergers in California had not influenced his company's restructuring plan.

"The thrifts have not been major competitors of ours," he said.

One other change announced by Sanwa California last week is that Howard Gould, senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer, will have one additional unit reporting to him: financial management and control.

Mr. Gould already oversees human resources, law, risk management, and operations.

Sanwa California, with $7.8 billion of assets, is the fourth-largest bank in the state.

Its parent company, with $500 billion of assets, is one of the world's three largest banks.

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