Weill used Commercial Credit to Grow Citigroup

Commercial Credit Corporation

In 1968, Commercial Credit Corporation was the target of a hostile takeover by Loews Inc. Loews had acquired nearly 10% of CCC, which it intended to break up on acquisition. To avoid the takeover, CCC forged a deal with CDC lending them the money to purchase control in CCC instead, and "That is how a computer company came to own a fleet of fishing boats in the Chesapeake Bay." By the 1980s, Control Data entered an unstable period, which resulted in the company liquidating many of their assets. In 1986, Sandy Weill convinced the Control Data management to spin off their Commercial Credit subsidiary to prevent the company's potential liquidation. Over a period of years, Weill used Commercial Credit to build an empire that became Citigroup. In 1999, Commercial Credit was renamed CitiFinancial, and in 2011, the full-service network of US CitiFinancial branches were renamed OneMain Financial.

BUSINESS PEOPLE; Commercial Credit Completes Roster

By Daniel F. Cuff

Published: February 2, 1987

Sanford I. Weill said he has his top management lineup complete at the Commercial Credit Corporation, the company he is trying to lift by its bootstraps.

''He's the pied piper,'' said Joseph F. DeAlessandro, who joined Mr. Weill's latest effort last week. Mr. DeAlessandro will be chairman and chief executive of Commercial Credit's insurance services.

Of all his recruits, Mr. Weill said, ''one of the people I'm most excited about is Joe.''

''We are talking about a person as highly regarded in the insurance business as any one,'' Mr. Weill said of Mr. DeAlessandro.

Mr. DeAlessandro was the president of the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh and a vice president of its parent comany, the American International Group.

Already on board at Commercial Credit are Robert L. Lipp, former president of Chemical Bank, and several executives from the American Express Company, where Mr. Weill was once president.

The American Express crew is James F. Calvano, who had been vice chairman of travel related services; F. Gregory Fitzgerald, who had been executive vice president and treasurer; Edwin E. Sherin, who had been senior vice president for operations, and James Dimon, Mr. Weill's personal assistant.

In addition, Mr. Weill hired John Fowler, who was executive vice president of the Warner-Amex Cable Company and former counsel in the Deartment of Transportation; John Hsu, who was managing director of Greenspan, O'Neil, an investment management firm, and John Sharpe, who ran the American Can Company's insurance operations and will be vice chairman of a Commercial Credit subsidiary, American Health and Life.

Mr. DeAlessandro will head two of Commercial Credit's insurance companies - Gulf Insurance and American Credit Indemnity He will also be a senior vice president of Commercial Credit. He is from Brooklyn and a graduate of Brooklyn College.

Commercial Credit is a spin-off of the Control Data Corporation; Mr. Weill took it public on Oct. 29. Control Data, which has been having financial troubles, had tried to sell Commercial Credit, but could not find a buyer for the unit, which has itself had profit problems.

''We've basically completed putting together our restructuring,'' Mr. Weill said, ''and are really excited about what our future is. Our credit ratings have improved and we are now in a position to grow our company.''

Commercial Credit may leave downtown But company pledges it will stay in state

November 07, 1991|By Michael Pollick

Commercial Credit Co., the consumer lender that was founded here in 1912, confirmed yesterday that it is exploring the possibility of moving out of downtown Baltimore when its lease expires in June 1993.

"We are examining all the options, but no final decision has been made," said Mary McDermott, vice president of corporate communications for Commercial Credit's New York-based parent company, Primerica Corp.

In 1989, the company sold its headquarters building at 300 St. Paul Place to Fidelity & Deposit Co., but Commercial Credit continues to occupy about 120,000 square feet there.

The options being explored include renegotiating the company's lease, renting space elsewhere or building its own building, Ms. McDermott said. "As to where our offices will be located, they will be in Maryland. It will be within your readership, as Mr. Weill says."

In November 1986, Sanford I. Weill led the successful effort to spin off Commercial Credit as a stockholder-owned company from its previous owner, Control Data Corp.

Using Commercial Credit as a springboard, Mr. Weill acquired Primerica Corp. in December 1988. He has since moved to New York to run Primerica, which operates a variety of financial services in addition to Commercial Credit.

Under his leadership, Commercial Credit abandoned many sideline businesses, including an equipment leasing business and loans to some Third World countries.

Concentrating on its core business -- consumer finance -- has paid off handsomely. Commercial Credit made an after-tax profit of $27 million in 1986; this year, it expects to make $170 million after taxes, Ms. McDermott said.

The company employs about 400 people at its headquarters offices and roughly 4,000 people altogether. It has 722 branch offices in 37 states.


Primerica, Travelers talk merger Weill orchestrates $5 billion stock swap

September 23, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- In a move that could cap Sandy Weill's power drive back to the top of the financial serv- ices industry, Primerica Corp. said yesterday that it is negotiating a $5 billion merger with The Travelers Corp.

The move would involve a swap of stock between Sanford I. Weill's Primerica and The Travelers, one of the nation's largest insurance and financial management companies and also owner the Dillon, Read & Co. investment firm. The new company would keep the better-known name of The Travelers, have annual sales of $6 billion and offer services ranging from selling stock to insuring homes. Primerica originally took a 27 percent stake in The Travelers last year, leading analysts to predict that if Mr. Weill liked the company's prospects, he would buy a controlling interest in it. The Travelers is considered a good buy be- cause it is seen as fundamentally sound but, like other insurance companies, suffering from the effects of bad real estate deals and recent natural disasters.

"Travelers has a spotted history of earnings, but Primerica is a very savvy money manager. They can get this company very cheap, so it's a great deal for them," said Joan T. Goodman, an analyst with Pershing & Co."

Wall Street seemed to agree with the assessment. Primerica shares rose $1.375, to close at $47.375,while Travelers gained 62.5 cents, to $36.625.

As a bonus, Mr. Weill will get The Travelers' nationally known name, which would add the name recognition that his company has lacked, despite a series of acquisitions that has made it a premier force on Wall Street.

Earlier this year, for example, Primerica bought the Shearson brokerage house to create the second-biggest U.S. brokerage behind Merrill Lynch & Co.

Mr. Weill's new career started in 1986 when he took command of the Commercial Credit Group, a Baltimore-based company that specializes in making loans to people with higher credit risks. He merged Commercial Credit with Primerica in 1988.

NB Formerly, he ran Wall Street's Shearson Loeb Rhoades, which he

sold to American Express Co. in 1981. After reported clashes with the managers of American Express, Mr. Weill left to do charity work before taking over Commercial Credit.

Although the details of the new deal are still being negotiated, Primerica said it probably would involve a swap of Primerica and Travelers stock. Primerica said 0.80423 Primerica shares would be exchanged for each share of Travelers.

Each Travelers share would reportedly be valued at $37 a share, making the total deal worth $5.4 billion.

While declining to comment on progress in the negotiations, a Primerica spokeswoman said, "when the decimal points get that far along, the deal must be pretty close to consummation."



Main lines of business

A financial holding company engaged in consumer finance, insurance, investment and corporate finance services.

Headquarters: .. .. .. .. .. .. New York

Employees: .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 36,000

Chief executive officer: .. .. Sanford I. Weill


Exchange .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. NYSE

Trading symbol .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..PA

Shares outstanding .. .. .. .. ..168.7 million

Closing stock price

Yesterday .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 47 3/8 .. .. .. +1 3/8

52-week range .. .. .. .. .. .. ..$20 5/8 .. .. ..$48

Financial information

Second quarter ended June 30

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1993 .. .. .. .. .. 1992

Revenues .. .. .. .. $1.3 billion .. .. ..$1.3 billion

Net income .. .. .. 180 million .. .. .. $150 million

Earns./share .. .. .. .. $1.02 .. .. .. .. .. $0.90

1992 fiscal year

Revenues .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $5.1 billion

Net income .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $716 million

Earns./share .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . $3.34



Main lines of business

Provides group and individual life insurance, health care services, accident and health insurance and workers' compensation. 6Headquarters: .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Hartford, Conn.

Employees: .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 32,000

Chief executive officer: .. .. .. .. .. .. Edward H. Budd


Exchange .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. NYSE

Trading symbol .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. TIC

Shares outstanding .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..145.5 million

Closing stock price

Yesterday .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 36 5/8 .. .. .. .. + 5/8

52-week range .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $17.125 .. .. ..$34.75

Financial information

Second quarter (ended June 30)

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1993 .. .. .. .. .. 1992

Revenues .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $2.5 billion .. .. $2.6 billion

Net income .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $93 million .. .. $66 million

Earns./share .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $0.55 .. .. .. .. .. $0.59

1992 fiscal year

Revenues .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. $9.7 billion

Net income .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ($695 million)

Earns./share .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ($8.11)

Commercial Credit gets new chairman, president Appointments part of Primerica shake-up

June 29, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- As part of a continued shake-up in the wake of its recent expansion, Primerica Corp. named two new executives yesterday to head its Baltimore-based Commercial Credit Co.

The move elevates President Robert B. Willumstad, 47, to chairman and chief executive, while former executive Vice President Marjorie Magner, 44, was named president and chief administrative officer.

Although the promotions were not directly related to Primerica's recent $1 billion acquisition of the Shearson brokerage unit from the American Express Co., they were the most recent in a monthlong restructuring of Primerica to accommodate its new size.

The company has added two new group chief executives, with Mr. Willumstad's predecessor, Robert I. Lipp, now heading all of Primerica's consumer finance, including Commercial Credit, while a second group chief executive heads the company's brokerage businesses.

Primerica has also lured away two former Morgan Stanley investment bankers to top positions over the past few days.

Primerica's stock has rallied since the Shearson purchase, climbing to $52.625 a share yesterday, from about $35 prior to the acquisition. The company closed up $2.75 a share yesterday.

Commercial Credit, which employs more than 300 people in Baltimore and has 4,000 employees nationwide in 750 branches, makes loans to consumers and has been Primerica's financial backbone over the past seven years.

Ms. Magner acknowledged that the purchase of Shearson, which will make Primerica the country's second-largest brokerage, makes Commercial Credit less central to the New York-based company but said that Commercial Credit's earnings remain strong. The company made $193.5 million last year on $1.16 billion in revenues.

Last year, Primerica earned $716 million on revenue of $5.1 billion. "We've got a great plan for this year and will stick with it," Ms. Magner said. "We feel we've gotten through the recession with our portfolio intact and now are poised for some growth."

Troubled loans, for example, were at a four-year low, Mr. Willumstad said, and consumer borrowing was slowly picking up, especially as consumers consolidate debt.

Commercial Credit has opened 50 offices this year and plans to open another 150, primarily in the West and Midwest, he said.

The expansion would mean marginal hiring in the Baltimore office, he said, adding that Commercial Credit plans to remain based in Baltimore.

Both Mr. Willumstad and Ms. Magner came to Commercial Credit in 1987 from Chemical Bank, a year after Sanford I. Weill, now Primerica's chairman and chief executive, took the helm of Commercial Credit, spinning it off as a stockholder-owned company from its previous owner, Control Data Corp.


Control Data Corporation (CDC) was a supercomputer firm. CDC was one of the nine major United States computer companies through most of the 1960s; the others were IBM, Burroughs Corporation, DEC, NCR, General Electric, Honeywell, RCA, and UNIVAC. CDC was well-known and highly regarded throughout the industry at the time. For most of the 1960s, Seymour Cray worked at CDC and developed a series of machines that were the fastest computers in the world by far. CDC only lost that title in the 1970s after Cray left the company to found Cray Research (CRI). After several years of losses in the early 1980s, CDC made the decision to leave the computer manufacturing business and sell those parts of the company in 1988, a process that was completed in 1992 with the creation of Control Data Systems, Inc. The remaining businesses of CDC currently operate as Ceridian.