SAN FRANCISCO -- In a reflection of retrenchment at U.S. Bancorp, the company is losing Richard W. Eichhorn, the key executive in charge of its nationwide growth-oriented businesses.
And in a related matter, according to a person familiar with the matter, the Oregon-based bank has reversed a decision to sell its Credco mortgage credit reporting service, one of the national businesses under Mr. Eichhorn's command.
U.S. Bancorp spokeswoman Mary B. Ruble confirmed the resignation of Mr. Eichhorn, a 43-year-old executive vice president, effective next month. She declined to comment on Credco.
Mr. Eichhorn's departure is a consequence of U.S. Bancorp's weeping program to cut costs and efocus on its core banking francise in its five-state Pacific northwest market, analysts and company insiders said.
Since the appointment of chairnan and chief executive Gerry B. Cameron earlier this year, the nation's 35th largest bank compaay has disposed of underperformng branches and launched a program to trim its work force by 10%.
But the focus on expense control left Mr. Eichhom in the lurch.
Mr. Eichhorn's area was "looking at being starved," said R. Jay Tejera, Seattle-based analyst with Dain Bosworth.
After joining U.S. Bancorp in 1987, he became one of the company's bright young stars, overseeing acquisitions and then taking charge of the national. products group. The unit was touted as a way of generating new sources of revenue outside traditional banking.
Reached by telephone, Mr. Eichhorn said he was looking for "more entrepreneurial" business opportunities. "Cost control doesn't lend itself to what I do well," he said.
One of Mr. Eichhorn's businesses, U.S. Bancorp Mortgage Co., was dismembered, with most of its assets and all of its offices outside the Northwest sold to Mellon Bank Corp. earlier this year.
With the sale of the mortgage unit, part of the rationale for owning the Credco-credit reporting unit disappeared, prompting U.S. Bancorp to put it on the block too. The company decided not to sell the unit because it could not find buyers willing to meet its price target, one individual said. Carlsbad, Calif.-based Credco bought by U.S. Bancorp in 1990, produced $41 million in sales and a $2.95 million profit in 1993. One potential buyer was apparently Mr. Eichhom himself, who was said to have tried to get financing for a management buyout before Credco was withdrawn from the market. Mr. Eichhorn declined to comment.
Mr. Eichhorn's departure leaves in question two other national businesses under his supervision: an agent banking program in which U.S. Bancorp underwrote consumer loans originated by other institutions; and a national credit card operation in largely as an affinity program through organizations such as the American Automobile Association.
U.S. Bancorp has agent banking "under review" Ms. Ruble said, an indication that the program could be scaled back or discontinued.