Comerica

Leaving Motor City behind

Comerica's history begins in Detroit, where the Detroit Savings Fund Institute opened its doors in 1849, with the goal of extending banking services to the city's laborers.  Six customers deposited a total of $41 on its first day of businesses, but by 1870, the company held significantly more: $1 million in assets, thanks in large part to the emerging auto industry and a growing worker class.

In 1956, Detroit Savings Fund merged with three other regional banks to form Detroit Bank & Trust, which reorganized under a holding company following regulatory changes in 1973.  The Comerica name debuted in 1982, marking a period of expansion that brought the bank to major markets in Florida, Illinois and Texas.  Additional mergers (with Texas' Grand Bancshares, Plaza Commerce Bancorp and InBancshares in California and Manufacturers National Corporation) grew the company in size and in reach.  By 2004 Comerica offered nationwide banking to its customers.

As the auto industry faltered in 2007, Comerica began relocating its headquarters to Dallas.  The transition was completed in early 2010.

The Comerica three-step

Comerica operates through three segments: wealth and institutional management, retail banking and business banking.  The wealth and institutional management business includes institutional and personal trust services, the Comerica Securities brokerage, private banking, investment account management, retirement services and insurance.  The retail bank offers the usual range of services, including consumer lending, mortgages, deposits and small business banking.  Middle-market companies and large corporations turn to Comerica's business bank, which provides cash management, credit, international trade finance, loan syndication, leasing, corporate finance and capital markets products services.

And subsidiaries, too

Comerica Inc. is comprised of Comerica Bank and its subsidiaries.  These include Comerica Insurance Services; Comerica Securities; Comerica Leasing Services; Comerica West Inc., which provides banking services to businesses in the Western U.S.; Wilson, Kemp & Associates, which provides investment account management; World Asset Management Inc.; and W.Y. Campbell & Company, an investment bank specializing in middle market M&A advisory services.

Signing up for help

In September 2008, as the federal government unrolled plans to stabilize the financial sector, Comerica announced that it had received approval from the U.S. Treasury Department to participate in Treasury's capital purchase program, to the tune of $2.25 billion.  Two months later Comerica said it would continue to participate in the temporary liquidity guarantee program, which provides its customers with a full guarantee, without any dollar limitation, on funds held in all of Comerica's noninterest-bearing accounts through the end of 2009.  The program, which was designed to restore liquidity to the national banking system, also provides FDIC guarantee on newly issued senior unsecured debt until the debt matures, or June 30, 2012, whichever is earliest.

Committed to maintaining?

Comerica is "every committed to diversity," asserts one insider.  But other sources are mixed as to whether Comerica effectively recruits and retains a diverse workforce.  According to insiders, the firm possesses "a largely female workforce, with largely male senior management.  There's been some improvement by hiring more senior female managers from outside the company, but there's an overall lack of mentoring of current female employees to bring them up the ranks."  However, another contact observes, "The two top department heads for the company are women, and there are several women in management roles."

In terms of ethnic diversity, one insider from the corporate finance division describes the group as "very diverse with several different ethnic backgrounds represented."  Another source reports that Comerica "takes very seriously the need to be diversified at all levels of the company."  However, a colleague disagrees, saying, "In California, our employee pool does not match the diversity of the state, particularly with regard to Hispanics."

Follow the gang

Dress tends to be "casual always" with the exception of client contact, but specific departments also have their own dress codes.  A vice president in the firm's asset management group describes the dress code as "formal always," while her colleague in corporate finance reports "casual always, except for client contact."  Another contact says, "We do business professional, which is a step up from business casual."  Generally, attire is "business casual overall," although "some offices prefer to be more formal than not."

Good opportunities

As for training, Comerica's programs and "educational opportunities are better than at most other firms in this market."" And although "sometimes it feels like too much," it's generally "a great benefit to the personal and professional development of those who take advantage of the events."  One contact notes that there's a "three-week training course in Detroit," and in the corporate finance group, "Comerica has begun an internal training program to help further careers."  On the other hand, an insider finds that "one general training course for one or two days per year hardly makes for a well-trained staff."   On the whole, Comerica "really tries to take care of everyone through training, special groups, outside activities and volunteer programs."

Up the ladder?

When it comes to moving up the ladder, "you can advance with the company if you have the proper background, but it is hard now that the company has made a number of cuts lately," reports one insider.  This "makes it harder than it once was to move up" within the company.  Another enthuses that "the opportunities that Comerica Bank provides for advancement is great!"  She adds that "email notices are sent out informing all employees of opportunities, prior to them being published elsewhere" and "positions of all different levels, departments, and locations are included."



Comerica


Comerica Bank Tower
1717 Main Street
Dallas, TX 75201
www.comerica.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: CMA
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • Chairman, President & CEO: Ralph W. Babb Jr.
  • 2010 Employees: 9,720

Major Office Locations

  • Long Beach, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Dallas, TX

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