Senior Citicorp executives had a hard time last week keeping members of the Bank Financial Analysts Association entertained.
Scores of bored analysts left the auditorium at Citicorp headquarters long before the end of the two-hour presentation on corporate banking strategies.
They missed a pop-quiz question at the end: What do the top executives of the following four institutions - Norwest Corp., Bankers Trust New York Corp., Charles Schwab & Co., and Banc One Corp. - have in common?
Answer: They all once worked for Citicorp.
Another light moment came when James L. Bailey, Citicorp executive vice president in charge of global transaction services, observed that the last time he had heard the swing tune accompanying his own introductory video was when his father came back from the war.
Mr. Bailey added that he couldn't remember which war.
One analyst, who declined to be quoted by name, expressed disappointment at this year's video clips, comparing them unfavorably with a Citicorp takeoff on the movie "Ghostbusters" several years ago.
"They seem to be losing their creative juices," he observed.
Others were unimpressed by either the accompanying musical score or the shots of intense, shirt-sleeved Citicorp employees scrutinizing computer screens or shaking hands with satisfied customers.
"The best you can say was, there was music for every taste," said an analyst.
True to form, Citicorp chairman John Reed was absent. He let Paul J. Collins, vice chairman responsible for emerging markets; Dennis R. Martin, executive vice president for corporate and investment banking in emerging markets; Robert A. McCormack, executive vice president for global corporate relationships; Julian M. Simmonds, managing director for global foreign exchange; and Mr. Bailey do the honors.
Many analysts were hard-pressed to say exactly what the message was. "There were times it all sounded like gobbledygook," said one.
He added that it was hard to sift through all the tech-talk, slogans, and glowing testimonials from customers. "It really seemed to boil down to the fact that global wholesale banking is not a terribly attractive business," he said, "and that they're trying to differentiate themselves.
"But they could have said that in 30 seconds."