As Wachovia Corp. prepares to apply for securities underwriting powers, the executive who led its capital markets buildup is preparing to leave.
Donald P. Carson, president of Wachovia Capital Markets Inc., will leave the company at yearend. He will be succeeded by John C. McLean Jr., the division executive for capital markets at the Winston-Salem, N.C., banking company.
In an interview Thursday, Mr. Carson, 48, who has worked at Wachovia for 20 years, said he is exploring several career options, including remaining in banking.
"I felt it was a good time to kind of come up for air and look at other alternatives," he said.
Mr. Carson has co-headed Wachovia's capital markets activities since February with Richard B. Roberts, an executive vice president and treasurer. The pair have been integrating several capital markets initiatives at the bank in preparation for applying to the Federal Reserve Board for section 20 powers.
Wachovia plans to submit its application to the Fed as early as the first week of January, Mr. McLean said. It will first apply for Tier 1 powers, which would let it underwrite and deal in certain municipal revenue bonds, mortgage-related securities, commercial paper, and asset-backed securities.
An application for Tier 2 powers to underwrite and deal in corporate debt and equity is likely to follow soon, Mr. McLean added.
According to Mr. McLean, Wachovia has yet to decide whether it will continue building its securities capabilities in-house or acquire a securities firm.
"We're keeping our consistent approach of building our capabilities on our own," he said, "but we're not closed to other opportunities if something came up."
Mr. Roberts will remain treasurer of Wachovia and lead the section 20 unit's bond business.
Meanwhile, Wachovia this week opened a five-person corporate banking office in Richmond, Va., to offer services to Wachovia's large corporate customers there.
The move came after its recently completed acquisition of Jefferson Bankshares in Charlottesville, Va., and its deal for Central Fidelity Banks Inc., Richmond, which is expected to close this month.
Wachovia is "a very solid competitor with a very good reputation," said Michael Ancell, a bank analyst at St. Louis-based Edward D. Jones & Co. "Now that they're expanding their markets into Virginia with their recent acquisitions, it's a logical extension that they expand the corporate banking business into those areas as well."
Both Jefferson and Central Fidelity have business banking operations in Virginia, but they typically serve customers with less than $25 million of annual revenues, said Richard B. Armstrong, executive vice president for Wachovia's Southeast corporate division.
Wachovia's corporate banking customers typically have at least $250 million of annual revenues, he added.
The new office will serve customers in northern Virginia and the Richmond and Tidewater areas. Customers in southwest Virginia will continue to be served from the company's Winston-Salem headquarters.
After the Central Fidelity merger closes, Wachovia would be the 18th- largest bank holding company in the country, with assets exceeding $60 billion.