B of A's Cooper Gets Top Spot at ISFA Corp.

Thomas A. Cooper, who resigned as president of BankAmerica last month after losing a power struggle, Thursday was named chairman and chief executive of ISFA Corp., a much smaller financial services concern in Tampa, Fla.

ISFA, which stands for Investment Services for America, sells mutual funds, insurance products and other financial services through a network of about 250 banks, thrift institutions and credit unions.

The 5-year-old firm is owned by Kemper Financial Services; Northeast Savings Bank of Harford, Conn., and 14 other thrifts.

Cooper, 50, called his new job "an exciting opportunity to build and expand a highly successful, innovative company that has tremendous potential." Still, the position appears to be a far cry from the presidency of BankAmerica, the nation's second-largest banking company, with assets of $90 billion.

Cooper, a former Methodist minister, said the new position will allow him to be more "creative" in devising products and services. At BankAmerica, the troubled parent of Bank of America and Seafirst Bank, Cooper was best known for cutting costs.

For a time, Cooper, who was also chief operating officer of Bank of America, was generally considered the heir apparent to BankAmerica's chairman and chief executive officer, A. W. Clausen.

But he insisted in a telephone interview Thursday that "I never contemplated" rising to the top spot. "I was very busy doing whatever I was doing. I never speculated on what my next step would be."

Cooper joined BankAmerica as an executive vice president in 1985 from Mellon Bank, where he was vice chairman in charge of retail and middle-market activities. He was named president and chief operating officer of Bank of America in March, 1986, and president of the parent company in September.

There had been speculation when he left BankAmerica that he might return to Mellon as chief executive, but the big Pittsburgh bank Monday appointed Frank V. Cahouet, head of the Federal National Mortgage Assn., to that job.

"I won't look back," Cooper said Thursday when asked to reflect on his brief stint as president of BankAmerica. But, he added, "I think I made a contribution."

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