A 26-year veteran of the investment products business at Fleet Financial Group and Citizens Financial Group has taken the trust department reins at $9.8 billion Webster Bank in Waterbury, Conn.

Thomas N. Howe stepped in June 22 as executive vice president of the bank and chief executive officer of its trust subsidiary.

Mr. Howe, 47, is in charge of investment- and trust-related activities for the bank and is the first person to hold the job titles. He came on board after a three-month stint as a consultant for Webster.

Mr. Howe said he plans to get his feet wet in his current job before adding any more services. "I'm in the data-gathering phase of my analysis right now," he said. "We're looking at all aspects of the trust and investment business so that we can achieve maximum results."

Through the subsidiary, Webster Trust, the bank offers personal trust accounts, investment management, and employee benefit plans, among other things. It provides mutual funds, fixed and variable annuities, stocks, and bonds through Independent Financial, a third-party marketing firm based in Purchase, N.Y.

Before joining Webster, Mr. Howe worked at Fleet for 24 years. He held several positions, including executive vice president and managing director of Fleet Investment Services, a subsidiary of the Boston-based banking company.

Before joining Webster, he was executive vice president of trusts and investments at Citizens Financial, Providence, R.I. He said he left voluntarily in December after about two years because of "philosophical differences over the direction the business should take."

About a month later, Mr. Howe received a call from Jeffrey N. Brown, a former Fleet colleague who is executive vice president of marketing and communications at Webster.

Mr. Howe was asked to create a business plan for the bank's trust operations in light of its acquisition of two Connecticut banks: Peoples Savings Financial Corp., New Britain, and Sachem Trust National Association, Guilford. After completing the job, he was hired full-time.

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