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FIRST UNION CHAIRMAN: 'WHO CARES HOW BIG WE ARE?'

 CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The "battle for the customer" is becoming more important than the battle for a merger partner, according to the chairman and chief executive officer of First Union Corporation (NYSE: FTU FTUpr).
 "Our customers don't give a hoot whether we're the eighth or ninth largest bank in the nation," Edward E. Crutchfield Jr. told his top 325 managers today. "In fact, many of them look at our bigger size and ask themselves, `How does that benefit me? Who cares?'"
 The First Union Corporation chairman and chief executive officer set the tone for the company's annual Senior Leadership Conference today by defining the challenge his managers must face. "The winners in the 90's and beyond will not be determined by who has the most pins stuck in the map -- or the most assets," Crutchfield said. "The winners will be those who give customers the most of what they want -- when they want it."
 Introducing the conference theme, "Teamwork Makes it Happen," First Union Corporation President John Georgius said, "Great teams need a shared vision, tremendous versatility and the actv?olvement of all members."
 The First Union team, which now includes 33,000 employees, grew during the past year as the company expanded into Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. "It's tempting to call an extended `time out' and give our team a good long rest," Georgius said. "But we all know our industry is changing too fast for us to stop and reflect for long on our accomplishments. All of our efforts to build a company able to thrive in a brutally competitive industry will be for naught if we lose sight of serving each customer, one at a time."
 Among the customer service challenges, First Union is heeding what its chairman has labeled a "wake up call." Drawing from the experiences of larger, bureaucratic companies that have lost market share, Crutchfield is offering $500 "Kudzu Killer Awards" to employees who cut through red tape. Kudzu is the green, fast-growing vine in the Southeast that covers roadsides and strangles vegetation.
 "Let's reward employees who act for our customers, rather than fail to act because of a policy. Let's reward employees who question whether a policy makes sense for the customer," Crutchfield told his managers. "I am not saying we should ignore all policies or legal restrictions. I am saying that we should visibly reward knowledgeable, self-confident people who empower themselves to serve their customers."
 At June 30, 1993, First Union Corporation reported assets of $72 billion, and operated 1,434 banking offices in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland and Washington, D.C., and 232 nonbanking offices in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
 -0- 9/17/93
 /CONTACT: (Media) Sandy Deem of First Union, 704-374-2710/
 (FTU)


CO: First Union Corporation ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 17, 1993
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