The pending sale of LaSalle Bank to Bank of America looks like a "shrewd move" to global treasury consultant Jeff Wallace, managing director of Greenwich Treasury Advisors LLC, Boulder, Colo. If the announced sale goes through (it was being challenged at press time), it gives BofA a stronger foothold in the Midwest, a larger portfolio of middle-market clients and a dominant position in the Chicago lockbox market, he notes. But it could disrupt operations for companies that relied on LaSalle for domestic cash management and ABN AMRO for global cash management once that connection is severed, he explains. It probably means unemployment for the shared ABN/LaSalle staff in Chicago that handled global activity, he adds.

LaSalle would bring BofA a "great franchise in a great market," observes consultant David Robertson, partner in Treasury Strategies Inc. "LaSalle has proven to be a very effective and creative provider of treasury and working capital solutions." LaSalle also comes with a pool of human talent that is scarce in today's treasury services market, he says. BofA can offer LaSalle clients more foreign currency and merchant acquisition services than they can currently receive, he adds.

If Bank of America acquires LaSalle, it will want the international business of LaSalle clients and try to displace ABN Amro, agrees Anthony Carfang, another Treasury Strategies partner. This could be disruptive in the short run for individual clients, he concedes, but nothing that wouldn't work itself out over time.

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