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Metropolitan National Bank.

As The Eagle Flies

It's an old truism that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Take Metropolitan National Bank, for example. While the past year has seen the bank making new and innovative changes to keep up with customers' needs, their underlying commitment to friendly, helpful service remains the same driving force it has always been. And that's just the way it should be, according to Lunsford Bridges, president and CEO of Metropolitan National Bank.

"In many ways, change is what it's all about in this business. Change and responsiveness. To be a successful bank -- a bank that people are willing to trust with their money -- you've got to keep up with the times. You've got to be always on the lookout for new and better ways to serve your customers. As the economic climate changes, so do people's needs. If you're not out there aggressively responding to those changing needs, you're falling down on your job.

"But at the same time, you've got to offer them a sense of stability. Banking customers need to know that the bank they've trusted all these years isn't going anywhere, that it's the same bank, the same people, they've come to rely on. Our goal is to keep our commitment to our customers intact, while always looking for new ways to improve our services."

One of the most important changes at Metropolitan in the last year was the introduction of low-interest Visa and MasterCards. In January of this year, Metropolitan began issuing their own Visa and MasterCards with an annual percentage rate of 7.92%. The response was everything the bank hoped it would be, according to Dabbs Cavin, credit card officer.

"We were one of the first banks in Arkansas to offer such a low rate of interest on Visa and MasterCard, so that was obviously a strong selling point. But an equally important factor is the convenience of having all credit applications processed locally. With that convenience, these cards are a real asset to people. We make it easy for them to transfer the balance from their existing high-interest credit cards to this one, so they can pay their debt off quicker and actually save money in the process. That's one of the most important benefits of our new credit cards."

Another area where Metropolitan is changing to provide more and better service to its customers is in mortgage loans. With the recent opening of its Mortgage Loan Department, Metropolitan is now set to offer a wide variety of mortgage loans at competitive rates.

The department is headed by Richard Gillespie, senior vice president of mortgage lending. Gillespie and Cathy Street, operations manager and senior underwriter, are working to make Metropolitan's mortgage lending both competitive and service-driven. According to Gillespie, "We plan on making things more customer friendly, faster, easier and hassle-free. Our goal is to provide customers throughout the state with knowledgeable, personalized service and competitive rates. We'll handle all types of mortgage loans -- FHA, VA, conventional, construction and so forth -- in the same way we handle all other aspects of banking. That means the customer comes first. Whatever we can do to make the process of getting a mortgage loan easier and faster for the customer, that's what we're going to do."

A new Totally Free Checking account is the latest offering to Metropolitan customers. This account is exactly what it sounds like: totally free, with no ifs, ands or buts. Holders of Totally Free Checking accounts get hassle-free checking with no minimum balance requirement, no monthly service charge and no per-check fee. The only thing customers pay for is check printing. This new type of checking account was designed to make checking as convenient and easy to use as possible for Metropolitan customers. And it's just the latest step in Metropolitan's effort to provide responsive, friendly service.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. There are a lot of exciting changes taking place at Metropolitan National Bank. But the one thing that will never change is the bank's commitment to its customers. They've always come first. And they always will.
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Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Aug 16, 1993
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