NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investment banks love trumpeting big new hires, but Deutsche Bank took things a step further Thursday with its announcement that trader-turned-"relationship banker" John Utendahl would be joining the German bank as vice chairman. Utendahl, a veteran of Salomon Brothers , one of a group of companies that eventually became Citigroup ( C), and Merrill Lynch, which was absorbed by Bank of America ( BAC), had run his own boutique, Utendahl Capital Partners, for the past 18 years. He may be best known these days however for his closeness to ex-supermodel Tyra Banks. Typically, investment banks' announcements of important hires like Utendahl include a quote from the new boss or bosses, and this one is no exception. Deutsche Bank Americas CEO Seth Waugh calls Utendahl a "trailblazing entrepreneur who has earned the trust of countless clients across corporate America," and Donna Milrod, another Deutsche Bank bigwig, submitted a similarly effusive comment.
It is highly unusual, however, for a client of the star banker to chime in as well, but that is what has happened in the case of Utendahl. And what a client it is -- none other than General Electric ( GE) CFO Keith Sherin. Sherin praises Utendahl's "incredible network of relationships," and says GE has "used his products and services for many years and we look forward to continuing that association." General Electric issues a lot of bonds and does lots of selling and buying of companies. It is, in other words, about as big a client as any investment bank could ever want. By including a quote from Sherin in its press release, Deutsche Bank appears to be saying: "Hey folks, you can expect us to start doing lots of business with General Electric." Deutsche Bank earned $ 13 million in global investment banking revenue from General Electric in 2009, good for sixth place among banks, according to data provider Dealogic. In 2008, the German bank brought in $50 million in investment banking revenue, good for fourth place. General Electric has doled out more than $2 billion in investment banking fees since the start of 2005, according to Dealogic, more than all but seven companies. However, four of the top seven -- Bank of America ( BAC), Citigroup ( C), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) -- have their own investment banks, which pay the bulk of the fees to themselves. Thus, General Electric is effectively the world's third largest investment banking client, behind Fannie Mae ( FNM), Freddie Mac ( FRE) and the Federal Home Loan Banks. -- Written by Dan Freed in New York.