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BofA Strategy Chief Nguyen Said to Move to Consumer Bank

BofA Strategy Chief Thong Nguyen Said to Move to Retail Bank
Profit at the consumer and business banking division dropped 43 percent to $2.6 billion in the first half of 2012 after the new U.S. rules limited debit and credit-card fees. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan moved Thong Nguyen, a key deputy in charge of asset sales, into a new job in the retail bank, said two people with knowledge of the shift.

Nguyen joins the consumer bank as head of retail strategy, sales and operations, Bank of America said last week in a memo, according to the people, who asked for anonymity because the move hasn’t been made public. Last year, Moynihan promoted Nguyen to lead strategic planning after Michael Lyons left for PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

Bank of America needs to improve results after U.S. regulations crimped revenue at the nation’s second-biggest lender. Nguyen’s switch is the latest example of Moynihan, 52, moving a former colleague from FleetBoston Financial Inc. into a unit where he’s trying to boost growth.

“Moynihan is facing a lot of pressure from the board and investors to improve things, and so he’s putting somebody in play to help do that,” said Phillip Phan, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Baltimore.

Profit at the consumer and business banking division dropped 43 percent to $2.6 billion in the first half of 2012 after the new U.S. rules limited debit and credit-card fees. The changes at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank are designed to help ease the delivery of products to customers, according to the memo. Nguyen didn’t return calls seeking comment on the job change.

Strategy Chief

The firm is continuing an overhaul that began last year when David Darnell, 59, was named co-chief operating officer in charge of retail businesses. Teams that create and manage banking products were moved into units led by Katy Knox, head of retail banking and distribution, and Dean Athanasia, who runs small business and preferred banking.

Susan Faulkner, 49, who oversaw those groups, now manages a smaller set of product teams including secured and unsecured credit and insurance.

“The retail bank has been through so many changes over the last few years, and they have not yet hit the right note,” said Nancy Bush, an analyst and contributing editor at research firm SNL Financial LC. “I hope this signifies that they are out of the crisis phase now and can take the 30,000-foot look at how we start making sense of these retail platforms and getting customers back.”

Nguyen, who had reported to Chief Financial Officer Bruce Thompson while strategy chief, will report to Knox in his new position. Moynihan, who has sold more than $50 billion in assets since taking over in 2010, said late last year that he was largely done selling name-brand holdings and would focus on divesting loan portfolios.

Nguyen joined Bank of America in 2003 and had several roles in wealth management, where he created a unit catering to the emerging affluent. He also ran the West Coast offices of U.S. Trust, his last job before being promoted to strategy chief.

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