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CREATING A RETAIL SALES CULTURE AND SELLING INVESTMENTS TOP SUPERMARKET BANKERS' LIST OF HOT TOPICS

 International Banking Technologies (IBT) Hosts 173 Bankers
 at 4th Annual In-Store Banking Trends National Conference
 ATLANTA, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- On more than one occasion during the In-Store Banking Trends National Conference in Atlanta, bankers denounced their titles and proclaimed, "we're not bankers, we're retailers!"
 Retail legend and conference keynote speaker Stanley Marcus, chairman emeritus of Neiman-Marcus department stores, commended the professionals to whom he once sold "bankers' gray" suits for becoming more customer driven and approachable.
 More than 170 bankers, representing 98 different financial institutions, attended the three-day in-store branching conference which is sponsored by Atlanta-based International Banking Technologies (IBT). IBT Executive Vice President John W. Garnett said that when IBT hosted the first national in-store banking conference in 1990, there were approximately 700 supermarket branches in the U.S. and the conference drew 75 bankers. Today, there are more than 1,500 in-store branches across the country. The conference attendance has increased 131 percent.
 "Bankers are hungry for strategies that will enable their institutions to compete throughout the '90's" said Garnett. "Those who attended this conference, and all bankers who offer in-store branching services, are one step ahead of those who don't. Competing in retail banking today boils down to this: bankers must follow the simple retailing principles of providing the products customers want, when they want them and then provide personal and convenient service to build solid relationships."
 SELLING WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS -- INVESTMENTS
 Current competition for consumers' savings dollars is intense as interest rates for deposit products, such as CD's, remain low. In-store banker Paul N. Windisch, senior vice president of $9.6 billion The Huntington National Bank in Toledo, Ohio, said that although selling investments in an in-store branch may now be a novel idea, it will be commonplace in the future. "We are concentrating on providing our customers with the right mix of products. At The Huntington National Bank, that means introducing alternative investments such as mutual funds and annuities.
 "There once was a time when the customer may have cashed in a CD, taken the cashier's check down the street to a brokerage firm, and was sold something that really wasn't satisfying his needs." Windisch said his bank is providing optional investment product training (and subsequent required licensing) to in-store sales associates. Such product sales capabilities will help Huntington's employees cross-sell existing customers as well as broaden their long-term career opportunities within the bank according to Windisch. The Huntington National Bank launched its in-store banking program in 1989 and operates four branches in Seaway Food Town stores.
 Many in-store bankers share Windisch's sense of urgency to meet consumers' demands for investment products and to halt the departure of deposit dollars from their institutions. John. W. Fuller, president of The Olympic Company in Seattle, cited a recent U.S. Banker poll that suggests consumers would like to leave their savings and investments with their banker. "Forty percent of the respondents felt that the bank was a secure place to keep their investment. Yet only six percent of that group said the bank's product range was sufficient for them."
 IBT's Garnett said in-store bankers have an edge over their peers in traditional branches when it comes to introducing investment products to customers and prospects. "Some bank customers shy away from investments which involve any risk, often because they don't feel they have enough answers to make a decision." Garnett said that because consumers visit their local supermarket an average of 2.2 times per week (according to the Food Marketing Institute), that gives in-store bankers more than 100 opportunities annually to explain investment products to them and ultimately make sales.
 CREATING A RETAIL SALES CULTURE
 "I agree with Stanley Marcus. Retailing is not brain surgery, it's common sense," said Seafirst Bank Vice Chairman and conference speaker Earl N. Shulman. The $15 billion Seattle-based bank operates 37 in- store and 235 traditional branches across Washington state. The 25-year banking veteran said Seafirst entered the in-store banking arena when its branch banking management team decided the company was in the retailing business, not the banking business.
 "We believe it is important to empower employees at each site to sell products and make local decisions," said Shulman, who stressed that all decisions cannot be driven from headquarters. Seafirst adopted its "franchise" philosophy through studying the success of proven retailers like McDonald's which "sets minimum levels of service expectations among consumers, including your customers and mine," Shulman said to the in- store bankers.
 Part of the sales culture within a supermarket branch includes creating marketing promotions that can compete with experts such as Nabisco and The Coca-Cola Company. Marketing consultant to food retailing and banking-related companies Murray Raphel presented case studies of the best in-store marketing promotions during the conference.
 Raphel, president of Raphel Marketing in Atlantic City, N.J., said the promotions not only bring in new customers, but they also "create an enthusiasm among employees that is tremendously contagious. When you make customers feel good about you, they want to do more business with you. The type of atmosphere created in a supermarket when a banker approaches you wearing an apron, and gives you information or a promotional item, cannot be duplicated in a traditional branch," said Raphel.
 First National Bank of Oblong, Ill., launched its in-store branch with sales as its primary motivation and the bank was featured throughout Raphel's in-store promotions review. Bank President Wilfred J. Cross, who attended the


in-store banking conference for the third consecutive year, said his $82-million bank's IGA supermarket branch reached $3 million in loans one week before its one-year anniversary. First National Bank of Oblong is located in a community with 7,200 residents and its in-store branch operates inside an independent supermarket with a weekly shopper count of less than 10,000.
 "A lot of the interest is generated in the supermarket aisles when our employees say, 'let us refinance your house for you' or 'when you're ready to buy a car, let us talk to you about an auto loan,'" said Cross. In the past four months alone, First National's IGA branch sold $700,000 in auto loans.
 "The results and real-life solutions IBT's clients shared from the podium during the conference would convince even the most skeptical banker that in-store banking is successful," said Garnett. "As Stanley Marcus said, there once was a time when a woman had to buy a dress in one specialty store and go across town to buy matching shoes. It's hard to imagine shopping before the advent of malls and there will be a time when we can't imagine having to buy groceries in one location and do our banking in another."
 -0- 4/7/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Atlanta-based in-store banking firm International Banking Technologies (IBT) was formed in 1985. IBT has helped more than 100 financial institutions launch in-store branching programs. There are approximately 1,530 supermarket branches operating in the United States; IBT has developed more than one-third of them./
 /CONTACT: Kim R. Chimene, director of marketing of International Banking Technologies, 404-279-4441/


CO: International Banking Technologies ST: Georgia IN: FIN REA SU:

RA-BR -- AT005 -- 3758 04/07/93 12:13 EDT
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