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INTERNATIONAL BANKING TECHNOLOGIES REPORTS 28 PERCENT IN-STORE BRANCHING INDUSTRY INCREASE SINCE MID-YEAR 1992

 ATLANTA, July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In the first six months of 1993, more than 200 bank branches opened in U.S. supermarkets and retail stores with grocery departments according to in-store branching program developer International Banking Technologies (IBT).
 IBT reported that at June 30, there were 1,749 in-store branches nationwide, a 28 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.
 IBT Executive Vice President John W. Garnett said the trend for financial institutions to launch full-service banking programs in supermarket environments will continue to escalate as long as their retail banking objective is to gain market share at the least possible cost. "In-store banking is a bottom-line retail solution. For one- fifth the cost to build a traditional branch, a financial institution can get into an in-store location," said Garnett. "Now, more than ever, cost-conscious, results-driven bank executives are looking for the greatest opportunities to impact market share and are turning to in- store branching."
 Branching Into Supermarkets During the First Half of 1993
 Cincinnati-based Star Bank became a major player in the in-store branching arena in the first six months of 1993, opening the first bank branch in a Super Kmart combination store in the United States. Star Bank has also opened four branches in Twin Valu stores this year. Star Bank, N.A. is the lead bank of Star Banc Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: STRZ), a $7.4 billion multi-state bank holding company with 194 branches in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
 "We have been extremely satisfied with the customer response we have received with our in-store branches," said Executive Vice President Phillip A. Parker. Star Bank's Super Kmart branch, which began operation on May 24, amassed 134 customer accounts in just four weeks and 43 Kmart shoppers completed consumer loan applications during that time.
 "The primary accounts we're opening (at the in-store locations) are demand deposit accounts," said Parker. "We look at the checking account as the linchpin account -- once we have it, we have the basis for cross- selling additional products and services." Star Bank's employees have been trained by IBT in the art of selling banking services in supermarket aisles.
 Bank of Oklahoma, another 1993 addition to the in-store branching industry, opened three branches in Tulsa-area Albertson's supermarkets and the $2.6 billion bank will open two branches in Oklahoma City during the second half of 1993. Bank of Oklahoma Assistant Vice President and District Manager Mary Duncan said that in-store branching fits with the institution's consumer banking mission: to meet or exceed customer expectations. For starters, Bank of Oklahoma is currently the only bank that offers Tulsa consumers seven-day-a-week banking.
 "We are a very loan-driven bank and consumer loans have been very well-received in our supermarket branches," said Duncan. "There is definitely no hesitation on the shoppers' part to take out a loan in a supermarket." All three Bank of Oklahoma in-store branches booked consumer and home equity loans during the first 30 days of operation, one of which brought in over $200,000 in loans during that period.
 In-Store Banking Veterans Continue to Succeed
 Launching a new in-store program requires creativity, a keen understanding of the supermarket environment and a profound retail sales focus, said IBT's Garnett, "however, none of these elements should fade as the program matures. Ensuring that marketing ideas remain fresh and that sales associates stay motivated is always a challenge. Those banks that can keep their employees energized and committed to selling bank services in the aisles will continue to reap the rewards of being in-store."
 With 23 branches in Southern California Ralphs Grocery stores, Union Bank has a seasoned in-store banking program. On April 15, Union Bank's 23rd Ralphs Grocery in-store branch opened in the San Clemente community. The San Clemente Hills branch results have been excellent, particularly during a three-day period surrounding Memorial Day when all other financial institutions elected to close their traditional branches.
 "We opened 75 new accounts at our San Clemente Hills in-store branch over Memorial Day weekend, which was the last weekend of the branch's grand opening festivities," said Union Bank Senior Vice President Linda Odenath. "We feel that because our employees were well-trained, it was no problem for them to handle this kind of volume." San Francisco-based Union Bank (NASDAQ-NMS: UBNK) is a $16.8 billion financial institution.
 Two years and four months into its in-store branching program, the Cub Foods branch of Norwest Bank of La Crosse, Wis., hit the $9 million deposit mark and its loans totaled $1.2 million. Norwest Bank of La Crosse is a $267 million institution and is part of $46.5 billion Norwest Corporation (NYSE: NOB) based in Minneapolis.
 During March, April and May this year, the branch's loan portfolio grew at a rate of $100,000 each month and Norwest Senior Vice President Milo Mach likes the momentum the in-store branch is gaining.
 "The key to in-store banking is asking for the business," said Mach, who credits the branch's manager with having the right sales mentality for the job. "Between the in-store loan promotions and the attitude among our employees that 'we can make loans and we understand loans,' we will continue to head in the right direction."
 New In-Store Branching Programs on the Horizon
 People's Bank (NASDAQ-NMS: PBCT) of Bridgeport, Conn., has announced plans to open three bank branches during the fall of 1993. The $5.6 billion institution will branch into two Finast stores and one Edwards Supermarket.
 Provident Bank of Maryland is planning to launch seven full-service bank branches in Baltimore-area Metro Food Market and Basics stores beginning on Sept. 1. By year-end 1993, more than half of the branches will be in operation, with the remainder opening in the first quarter of 1994. Provident Bank of Maryland, headquartered in Baltimore, is a subsidiary of Provident Bankshares Corporation (NASDAQ-NMS: PBKS), a $1.6 billion holding company.
 "Retail bankers in all regions of the country have become more acutely award of their customers' service delivery demands," said IBT's Garnett. "IBT is helping those retail bankers' institutions realize their profit potential by developing sales-driven in-store programs for them. We teach their in-store bankers to creatively and effectively sell their services in retail establishments, and we're with them for the duration -- long after the grand opening hoopla subsides." Garnett said the in-store branching industry is on track to reach 1,850 locations in the U.S. by year-end 1993.
 IBT has developed more than 600 in-store branches across the country since the company formed in 1985. As the nation's leading developer of in-store branching programs, IBT provides marketing, training and branch design and construction services to more than 125 financial institutions.
 -0- 7/8/93
 /CONTACT: Kim R. Chimene, director of marketing of International Banking Technologies, 404-279-4441/
 (STRZ UBNK NOB PBCT PBKS)


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

BN-BR -- AT011 -- 9628 07/08/93 15:55 EDT
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