MNC restructures 2 banking divisions Commercial, retail operations merged

some high-ranking employees lose jobs

January 29, 1993|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

MNC Financial Inc. has restructured two of the company's major banking divisions, terminating or relieving several high-ranking employees of their duties and handing one of the company's highest operating positions to the woman who headed retail banking.

Under the reorganization carried out last week and described yesterday by several employees, the commercial banking division, formerly run by Executive Vice President Hugh A. Woltzen, has been merged with the retail division, headed by Executive Vice President Susan C. Keating.

Ms. Keating now runs the newly combined "Regional Banking Division," reporting directly to President and Chief Executive Officer Frank P. Bramble Sr., according to employees, who spoke on the condition they not be named. Mr. Woltzen has been put in charge of "strategic planning."

Mr. Woltzen's second-in-command, J. Marshall Reid, an

executive vice president, was among a number of upper-level executives in both retail and commercial banking who were let go as part of the shuffle, according to four current and former employees.

Neither Ms. Keating nor Mr. Reid returned telephone calls to their offices yesterday. Attempts to reach them at their homes were unsuccessful. Mr. Woltzen declined to comment.

In addition to the management-level job losses, the Baltimore-based company laid off more than a dozen employees this week in the loan documentation department, company employees said. It was unclear whether those layoffs were connected to the restructuring or reflected the sluggish growth of lending activity in the past year at MNC, the state's largest banking company and parent of Maryland National Bank and American Security Bank in Washington.

MNC spokesman Daniel Finney declined to provide details about the moves or discuss specific job changes.

However, he said the restructuring, directed by Mr. Bramble, "is the result of combining the wholesale side of our banking business with the community, or retail side, into a new organizational structure, which is streamlined and which is designed to position MNC and its two banks to go firmly back on the offensive in 1993."

Many at the company have noticed the similarity between the new structure and that of NationsBank Corp., the Charlotte, N.C., company that has an option to buy MNC any time over the next five years. Mr. Finney acknowledged that employees asked Mr. Bramble in regular annual employee meetings whether the new structure was intended to prepare the company for an expected merger with NationsBank.

Mr. Bramble "has said simply that it is not pegged to the NationsBank acquisition or anything else involving NationsBank," Mr. Finney said.

A NationsBank spokesman told the American Banker this week that the company "want[s] to do this deal at the earliest possible time."

MNC employees and other industry executives explained that a primary goal of the restructuring was to end the tug-of-war for customers that has been waged between the branches and the commercial lending offices.

More importantly, the new structure aligns MNC with a majority of regional banks in bringing together bankers from different product lines to focus on the separate geographic markets served -- in MNC's case the Baltimore and Washington areas and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, according to Arnold G. Danielson, a Rockville consultant who has worked with MNC.

The move also assures that, with the retirement last month of MNC Vice Chairman H. Grant Hathaway, Ms. Keating has joined a three-person inner circle that reports to Mr. Bramble, and includes executive vice presidents Walter R. Fatzinger Jr. and Michael C. Middleton. The company has no chief operating officer.

She also has become the second-most powerful woman banker in the Baltimore area, behind Margaret Alton, president of Citibank's mid-Atlantic region.

Ms. Keating, 42, has headed retail banking at MNC since July 1991, and joined the company in 1988 as senior vice president of retail banking for the Baltimore area.

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