Brian Moynihan New BofA CEO - Fleet Bank Legacy Emerges

Last night, Bank of America announced that Brian Moynihan was selected by the board to become the next CEO. I was particularly interested in this because I worked for five years at Fleet when he led several groups there, including one that I was in.  I worked several layers down (most big bankshave many layers and the top execs hardly ever mix with the riff-raff). He was known to be an extremely smart deal-maker, an intense guy, and a very hard worker.  I never heard anything negative about him, other than the fact that if you worked in his group, be prepared to work hard.

When I was at Fleet, most of his time was spent in the Wealth Management group. One of his challenges, of the many he faces, will be managing Bank of America's large consumer banking operation. That is the core of the company. He hasn't had a lot of experience on the consumer side but there is plenty of talent at the bank that he can lean on.

What's most striking to me is the ascendancy of a Fleet person to the pinnacle of Bank of America. At the time of the merger in 2004, we assumed all of the Fleet people would be cleared out and eventually the Boston operation would be transferred and shut-down. To Bank of America's credit, they kept some of the most talented Fleet people. Many of them have done well. Anne Finucane has been the Chief Marketing Officer for several years. Of course, it hasn't hurt that Chad Gifford, the former CEO of Fleet was on the search committee, as well as two other members from New England. Banking still retains much of its regional flavor.

Many are talking about the challenges Moynihan will face moving the Titanic sized bank. But I think he's got the timing right. If the economy rights itself, and the government doesn't break up the bank (which it probably should) many of the bank's problems will disappear on their own. His law degree will  undoubtedly come in handy as he faces just as many battles in Washington as in the marketplace.

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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