FirstMerit Corp. has hired a former National City Corp. personal trust sales manager to run a new private banking group in Cleveland.

Bert W. Zahn joined the Akron-based banking company's lead subsidiary, First National Bank, as a vice president and trust officer last month.

Mr. Zahn, the personal trust sales manager for National City's Cleveland bank until last summer, is responsible for developing clients for personal trust, private banking, and insurance and securities offerings. FirstMerit, a $5.2 billion-asset banking company, also said it expects him to combine its private banking and trust units.

"Cleveland represents a larger and newer market opportunity for FirstMerit," Mr. Zahn said. "Cleveland has more than its fair share of very large banks, and very large banks sometimes tend to lose a personal service touch."

Mr. Zahn was not directly replaced at National City, which has since combined personal trust with private banking. The sales manager for National City's private client services group in Cleveland is vice president Melanie Pompili.

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