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Maryland Bank Experiments with Free Lunch...and Breakfast.

Here's one way to persuade your clientele to stick around a while: feed them.

The Columbia Bank, a subsidiary of Maryland-based Columbia Bancorp, has been experimenting with serving hot breakfasts to the local folks.

Del Karfonta, senior vice president for retail banking, admits to trying "anything I can think of' in order to attract members of the local community into the bank to meet and schmooze with the staff. At the bank's downtown Towson (suburban Baltimore) location, branch manager Carolyn Norwood and assistant manager Vanessa Nadolny served waffles, omelets and hotcakes to consumers every Friday for a month The branch is located at Heaver Plaza, a high-rise office complex.

Elsewhere, in the bank's 23 branches in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas, other experiments included hiring a professional to appraise the valuables of community members and bringing in a hot dog vendor on Saturday mornings during the summer.

Based on the volume of new accounts opened on those days, Karfonta says, every one of the promotions has paid for itself in new business.

"Once we get these groups into the bank, and they experience our community-style banking environment, we stand a good chance of converting them into customers," he says. At the fast Hot Dog Day, a consumer immediately opened a $75,000 certificate of deposit, he says.

Karfonta says the hot dog vendor has been the most successful draw so far. People stand in line for hot dogs and snowballs during the summer months. But it wouldn't work everywhere. "I would never do that at Heaver Plaza because that place is dead on Saturdays."
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Comment:Maryland Bank Experiments with Free Lunch...and Breakfast.
Author:ALBRO, WALT; Linsley, Clyde
Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Previous Article:ABA/BMA Survey Shows Big Increase in Use of Bank Telemarketing.

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