Banc One Corp. is making its mortgage company the axis of a cross- selling campaign to outfit applicants with everything from credit lines to mutual funds.

The Columbus, Ohio, banking company this month established a networking system for mortgage officers to deliver information to appropriate units. For instance, if a mortgage applicant appears also to qualify for a credit line, the system will feed that information to the mainframe that supports the bank's consumer loan center.

The system can also look at loan-to-value ratios and debt-to-income levels to determine whether applicants have capital available to invest in mutual funds or annuities.

"We want to take advantage of the natural sales opportunities that exist with Banc One mortgage customers," said Jeffrey P. Gaia, president of the mortgage unit.

The mortgage group will start cross-selling a limited number of items, including home equity loans, lines of credit, and investment products.

"Right now we want to limit it, and as the program develops roll it out across the company," Mr. Gaia said.

Loan officers, as they take mortgage applications, will help spot cross- selling opportunities by asking a broader range of questions - such as whether applicants' banking needs are being met and whether they are interested in other financial products.

The mortgage unit will forward the information to the appropriate part of the bank after obtaining written permission from applicants, Mr. Gaia said.

With the program, Banc One is attempting what few other banks have achieved. Cross-selling, perhaps attainable in theory, is difficult in practice because of spotty organization among units and weak follow-through efforts.

"I'm not certain how easy it is to pull off," said William O. Adcock, chairman of Synergistics Research, Atlanta. "But if you have a customer and can expand that relationship, it will help you retain them and improve your profits."

Many banks have failed in the past at cross-selling, because they did not properly train or pay their people to promote other units' products, Mr. Adcock said. "It's a nice team spirit thing to do, but it's difficult unless the program is structured properly and has top-down support."

The Banc One effort has executive backing and will have the cooperation of loan officers, Mr. Gaia said. "We're going to do this together."

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