Chase Manhattan Bank has added a new twist to its promotion of small- business loans - a one-page application that requests limited financial information.
"Our really small customers were overwhelmed by the application process," said Carmen Mastroianni Jr., senior vice president for commercial and professional lending.
Chase, among the leaders in streamlining small-business lending, hopes the simplified application will attract more borrowers to its increasingly competitive market.
Chase is offering small-business owners in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut a 24-hour turnaround on revolving credit and business installment loans of up to $35,000. The promotion ends Nov. 15.
The one-page application asks for the business's assets, liabilities, net worth, annual income and expenses and the business taxpayer identification number.
Chase will charge no closing fee for the 8.25% fixed-rate business installment loan, and half its usual $150 closing fee for the revolving credit line, which has no first-time line fee.
"We wanted to make sure there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the new Chase Manhattan is totally committed to small business," Mr. Mastroianni said.
The bank usually offers small-business loans with a fixed rate of 11% or a floating rate of prime plus 2%. But it periodically promotes its loans to increase the number of borrowers.
Les Dinkin, managing principal of NBW Consulting Group in Westport, Conn., said Chase's one-page application is a defensive move.
Fleet Financial Group, Wells Fargo Bank, and Banc One Corp. have been promoting small-business loans to entrepreneurs in Chase's geographic market.
"Chase's approach is a more conservative, prudent approach," Mr. Dinkin said. "Chase is getting a better understanding of what the business looks like."
On the other hand, Wells Fargo mails one-page applications for small- business credit lines nationwide. The applications request the business's annual sales but no balance sheet information.
Despite the competition, Mr. Mastroianni said, Chase has a strong grip on its home territory and has seen robust growth in small-business lending.
"In many banks, small business was one of the best kept secrets," Mr. Mastroianni said. "As banks become more sophisticated, they recognize the profit potential."