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 Financial Institutions Continue to Seek Low-Cost,
 Sales-Oriented Retail Banking Alternatives
 ATLANTA, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- International Banking Technologies (IBT) reported today that U.S. banks and savings institutions continued to open non-traditional supermarket branches in 1993 at a steady pace.
 According to the in-store banking services firm, there were 1,938 bank branches operating in U.S. supermarkets and discount retailers with grocery departments as of Dec. 31, 1993, a 26% increase over year-end 1992.
 Expansion plans via traditional branches have been stalled across the country, and banking industry observers are questioning the future of the stand-alone facilities. IBT Executive Vice President John W. Garnett believes the traditional branch may go the way of the LP record and the dinosaur.
 "Advancements in technology are making it too easy for consumers to bypass the traditional branch," said Garnett. "The coming information superhighway, which will make interactive electronic home shopping available in millions of households, will create a serious roadblock for banks and savings institutions when it comes to growing market share.
 "In the future, setting up in-store branching networks may provide the only opportunity for financial institutions to meet non-customers face-to-face and sell their services," said Garnett. "Those institutions which choose to stick with operating traditional branches alone are making a decision to permanently hard wire themselves into their existing customer base."
 The average supermarket's weekly shopper count is from 15,000 to more than 30,000. Anywhere from 50% to 90% of shoppers entering a supermarket may not be existing customers of the bank located inside, representing new business potential that stand-alone branches cannot match.
 Proof that consumers have wholeheartedly accepted less than traditional means of branch banking can be found in a 1993 Bank Administration Institute (BAI) study. BAI's research said that 57% of consumer banking transactions currently take place outside the traditional branch.

1993 In-Store Branch Network Expansion
 In November of 1993, Premier Bank became the first Louisiana financial institution to offer in-store banking services to Shreveport consumers. The $3.9 billion Southeastern bank opened branches in two Albertson's stores in the fourth quarter of 1993 and has plans to launch three more in-store locations in the first quarter of 1994. Premier Bank also operates three branches in Louisiana Delchamps stores -- two in Baton Rouge and in Metairie.
 To date, the Shreveport branches have experienced "gangbuster results," according to Premier Bank Senior Vice President Kendell Rosfeld. The first Albertson's location, which opened on November 17, brought in 200 new accounts during the first four days of operation. "Most of the new accounts we are generating result in multiple sales," said Rosfeld. "Our in-store employees are doing a good job of cross- selling services, convincing shoppers to close their accounts with our competitors and experience one-stop shopping and banking convenience with Premier." Premier Bank operates 108 traditional branches throughout Louisiana.
 For the past two and a half years, $258 million Suburban Federal Savings Bank of Flossmoor, Ill., has used in-store branches to gain access to new customers. In December 1993, Suburban Federal launched its fifth branch in a Walt's independent supermarket. The Dyer, Ind., in-store branch is Suburban Federal's first in Indiana.
 Suburban Federal's retail expansion strategy does not include building brick and mortar branches, according to its Executive Vice President Byron Thoren. "With the majority of banking transactions being carried out in some fashion other than at traditional branches, customers do not come in to visit you any more at your stand-alone branches," said Thoren. "One way to have access to customers and prospects is through the in-store environment."

New In-Store Programs Report Early Success
 People's Bank of Bridgeport, Conn., added three in-store branches to its retail banking network since mid-year 1993. "Supermarket banking has experienced significant early success for People's Bank," said David E.A. Carson, People's Bank president and chief executive officer.
 "The three in-store offices have brought us access to nearly 100,000 potential customers each week," said Carson. "Results have been so rewarding that four to six more supermarket branches are part of our strategic plan for 1994." People's in-store offices are located in Edwards Super Food Stores. The $6 billion bank serves Connecticut consumers through a statewide network of 74 branches.
 First National Bank of Herminie, Pa., opened its first in-store branch one week before the Christmas holiday. Davis Supermarket shoppers did take time out to think of banking services during the hectic holidays, according to the bank's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kerry M. Anthony.
 "New account activity has been steady and the reaction among store shoppers has been positive," said Anthony. "In-store banking is the wave of the future. If this venture goes well for us, and we believe that it will, in-store branching may be one of the primary ways we expand in the future." First National Bank of Herminie, a $194 million institution, currently operates six traditional branches.

Branching In-Store in the New Year
 The latest financial institution to join the trend of branching into expanded format "super centers" is Indiana Federal Bank of Valparaiso, Ind. In February, the $650 million savings bank will open a branch in a newly constructed Super Kmart Center -- a new format for the discount retailer that includes groceries.
 "Our first in-store branch represents an opportunity to interact with non-customers in our own facility," said Stan Krol, Indiana Federal senior vice president and chief operating officer. "We're excited about the prospect of these visitors. We intend to incorporate consultative selling techniques with them, which will include market research opportunities regarding their financial needs." Indiana Federal currently operates nine traditional branches throughout Indiana and will be opening a second brick and mortar branch in Merrillville at the same time its in-store facility opens. According to Krol, "It will be interesting to compare the results of these different supplemental office strategies."
 Another newcomer to in-store banking 1994 is Summit Bank, a member of $4.1 billion Summit Bancorporation, headquartered in Chatham, N.J. Today, Summit Bank is opening a full-service branch in a ShopRite supermarket (a Foodarama ShopRite store) in Neptune, N.J. Following a national trend, Summit Bank's in-store branch offers banking services seven days a week -- a value-added service that is unavailable at most New Jersey banks.
 "Our in-store branch will provide customers with the added convenience of extended hours and full-service banking," said Elwood L. Bowman II, Summit Bank group vice president, Retail Banking. "We intend to focus on consumer loans and our sales-oriented staff looks forward to the unique challenge of cross-selling additional products and services at our ShopRite location." Summit Bank currently operates 84 banking offices in 11 New Jersey counties.
 Based on the recent swell of in-store branching interest, IBT predicts the number of supermarket branches in the U.S. to exceed 2,400 in 1994. "I've not met a banker in a long while who would entertain a retail expansion plan that solely consisted of stand-alone branches," said IBT's Garnett.
 "Because banks have so much invested in bricks and mortar, the traditional branch will continue to exist for a while longer. However, the trend toward the low-cost, customer-focused sales platform approach to retail banking, which is the foundation of in-store branches, will continue to escalate," said Garnett. "The most sophisticated computer or telecommunications technology can never achieve the results of a well- trained sales associate in the supermarket aisles."
 NOTE: International Banking Technologies (IBT) is the nation's leading provider of comprehensive in-store branching services. IBT's sales platform approach to supermarket banking has been adopted by more than 700 in-store branches of 130 financial institutions in the U.S., Canada and South America. IBT is a subsidiary of First Financial Management Corporation (FFMC), a national leader in information services. FFMC's common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol FFM.
 -0- 1/17/94
 /CONTACT: Kim R. Chimene, director of marketing, International Banking Technologies, 404-279-4441/

CO: International Banking Technolgies ST: Georgia IN: FIN SU:

JS-BN -- AT006 -- 1362 01/17/94 13:26 EST
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Date:Jan 17, 1994

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