Among the things Michael Urkowitz is most proud of since he took the helm of Chase Manhattan Corp.'s credit card operation in August 1996, is his relationship with his deputy, Harry F. DiSimone.

"We formed a really good partnership, one that I think most people in the company acknowledge," said Mr. Urkowitz, executive vice president. "It allowed us to fundamentally change the organization, how it works, and how people work together."

Before the duo took over, Chase had 20 senior managers in the credit card department who were responsible for "big picture" thinking. Each managed a business silo-like fraud or customer service-and each was charged with looking at how his or her unit affected the performance of the entire bank.

Now there are 250 mangers who focus on the big picture.

"We have a much larger team," Mr. Urkowitz said. Once a month, each unit starts the day by discussing "the performance of the enterprise as a whole," he said.

"They are ultimately going to connect their work to the overall performance of Chase," Mr. Urkowitz said. "That's a big deal. It means there are 250 people behind us."

One unit that has grown in importance is customer service.

"We are maniacally focused on customer service," said Mr. DiSimone, the chief operating officer and customer delivery executive for Chase's credit card business. "We place a great deal of emphasis on segmentation."

This manifests itself at call centers, where Chase representatives sometimes offer customers card products when they call with questions. In a box called an "opportunity window," the representatives' computer screens "tee up the next offer Chase can make" to the customer, taking into account credit bureau information, Mr. DiSimone said.

"We have taught customer service reps about risk," Mr. DiSimone said.

Right now this process involves only credit card services, but the plan is eventually to cross-sell other Chase retail products.

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