Several U.S. bankers are contemplating moves to beef up their international banking operations.
Marshall Carter, chairman and chief executive of Boston-based State Street Corp., said his bank will continue to expand in emerging markets.
Last month State Street announced it was opening a London-based unit to develop asset management in emerging markets.
"Revenues from our international activities reached 23% of the total last year, up from 11% five years ago," said Mr. Carter.
"We expect that share will grow into 30% to 35% by the turn of the century."
And both John F. Grundhofer, CEO of Minneapolis-based First Bank System, and David A. Daberko, CEO of Cleveland-based National City Corp., said they too would be expanding their operations in the coming months, though they provided few details.
The comments came during the 44th annual gathering of the International Money Conference, an association of world banking executives under the auspices of the American Bankers Association.
Mr. Carter said State Street saw continued growth in Asia and "exciting" growth in Latin America. But he emphasized that the bank is expanding in Europe, where pension reform in countries like Germany is beginning to get under way.
State Street already has a significant presence in Europe and Asia and has recently begun expanding asset management, global custody, and securities processing in Latin America and other emerging markets.
Mr. Grundhofer said that once First Bank System's merger with Portland, Ore.-based U.S. Bancorp is approved, the new company would expand international operations. "The combined company will have $70 billion in assets and a presence in 17 states," he pointed out. "I think you can expect we would try to have an international capacity to match our customers' needs across a wide range of products."
But Mr. Grundhofer, known in banking circles for his cost-cutting prowess and national ambitions, declined to elaborate on any specific moves overseas, pending approval of the merger by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
U.S. Bancorp already does significant business in the Pacific Rim out of offices in Seattle and Portland.
U.S. bankers acknowledged that fast growth in international trade and competition from other banks for corporate customers are prompting them to expand internationally.
However, some like National City's Mr. Daberko said they have yet to decide whether they will expand on their own or via alliances and arrangements with other banks. "We are considering a number of options," Mr. Daberko said.
He added that National City will decide by yearend how to move forward internationally.
"When you're as big a player in the markets as we are, you have to provide a complete range of services," he said. Mr. Daberko cited Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and some Asian countries as among the markets where National City would like to expand.
Although National City has an extensive network of correspondent banks around the world, it has operated no branches outside the United States since it shut its London office several years ago.