In September of 2011, CEO Brian Moynihan named David Darnell and Tom Montag co-chief operating officers of the company.
Photo of David Darnell and Tom Montag
Pictured left to right: Thomas K. Montag and David C. Darnell

A Conversation with
David Darnell and Tom MontagCo-Chief Operating Officers

David's organization serves retail customers, wealthy clients, and small businesses inside the U.S., while Tom's organization serves middle-market companies, large corporations and institutional investors globally, and wealthy individual clients outside the U.S.

What's your strategy for growing your respective businesses?

David: In Consumer Banking, it's all about growing existing relationships. One out of every two U.S. households does business with us today. Because these customers already know us — and we know them — it makes sense to focus on expanding existing relationships by offering high-quality service and a broad range of innovative products.

In Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and in Business Banking, we are expanding relationships through referrals across the company, and working to attract new clients as well. Across all our businesses, one theme is constant: By expanding a one- or two-product relationship to a half-dozen or more core services, and creating real financial solutions for those we serve, we can win customers' and clients' loyalty and build strong, long-lasting and profitable relationships.

Tom: It's the same principle at work with our corporate and institutional clients. The products are different, but the idea is the same. Our client base includes 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 1000 and 85 percent of the Global Fortune 500. When you combine that geographic reach with strong capabilities, the opportunities are very compelling both for us and for our clients.

How do you plan to offset the revenue that has been lost by new regulations?

David: This is primarily an issue in Consumer Banking, and it's not as simple as just finding a way to replace lost revenue. We're in a competitive marketplace, and we have to win business by understanding customers' needs and offering the best combination of products, service and value. New regulations change the rules of the game for all financial services companies, but they will not change our approach. We still have to provide the best products and service at a fair price that enables us to generate a good return for our shareholders. And that's what we're focused on doing.

Can you provide an update on your plans to build out the global franchise?

Tom: We are committed to doing business wherever our global clients need us to be to serve their needs. That includes western Europe, the U.S. and the Pacific Rim — and it also includes a growing presence in emerging global markets in regions like Latin America and the Middle East. The key is to continue building our capabilities with a balanced approach, with risk management and other functions to support the client-facing teams, so that we can not only win new business, but execute every transaction to the standards that we and our clients expect.

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