Bank One Corp is opening "wealth stores" in its branches to centralize its brokerage, trust, financial planning, insurance, and other investment services.
The Chicago-based company has opened 30 such stores in the last 12 months in heavily trafficked branches and has set up referral systems in another 180 offices. They target customers with $250,000 or more of investable assets.
"This is a client segment we very much want to provide products and services to," said David Kundert, chairman of Banc One Investment Management Group, the unit overseeing the effort.
The program is part of an effort to move away from the decentralized way customers had been served, Mr. Kundert said.
"We're breaking down the silos that are built around products," he said. "We want to surround the client with an array of products that are responsive to their needs."
That lets the company serve customers more effectively, Mr. Kundert added. It "increases our leverage around a single client," he said. "We get a full picture, instead of looking at a fraction of their total worth."
Moreover, he said, the consolidated approach "increases total product sales by working together, rather than competing with one another."
The trend toward such programs will continue, Mr. Kundert said. "In an environment when financial modernization has become a reality, diverse financial outlets will be offering more variety than ever before."
KeyCorp of Cleveland and Wells Fargo & Co. of San Francisco also have created one-stop financial centers.
But not everyone is sold on the approach.
"The jury is still out," said Peyton N. Green, a banking analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach of Atlanta. "Clearly it's a model for the larger cities. I don't know how it will play in smaller areas."
Mr. Green said Bank One's noninterest income would garner little benefit. "I don't think you'll see a dramatic difference in their numbers because of it," he said.
Another observer said the consolidation could turn some people off.
"As a customer, you typically are not looking for everything at once," said Bradley S. Vander Ploeg, a banking analyst with Fox-Pitt, Kelton of Chicago. "I don't know that people are ready for a financial services superstore approach."
Mr. Kundert said 2000 will be a "transitional year" for to establishing the program and that the approach could be applied later to areas where Bank One does not have branches.