The new Chase Manhattan Corp. launched an aggressive small-business lending campaign last week.
The bank, created by last year's merger of Chemical Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp., ran advertisements in New York area print media promising 24-hour turnaround on small-business loans with a fixed 8.25% rate.
The country's largest bank is flexing its new muscle, trying to send a signal that the recent merger is not distracting it from small businesses, said Chester B. Myszkowski, vice president for the bank's commercial and professional business banking division. The unit caters to companies with up to $3 million in annual revenues.
"We're attempting to position the group as being committed to serving the credit needs of the customer," Mr. Myszkowski said.
What's new isn't the fast turnaround - Chase has been offering it for more than a year on small-business loans of less than $100,000, Mr. Myszkowski said. But "I don't think they aggressively promoted it," he said.
The 8.25% rate, effective through July 31, is reduced from the bank's typical small-business loan rate of prime plus 2 points, Mr. Myszkowski said. Chase is waving closing fees during the promotion.
For new lines of credit, Chase is dropping the annual fee for the first year.
There are no application fees for either product during the promotion.
Mr. Myszkowski said the number of applications surpassed expectations.
"We will be following this up with other types" of promotions, he said.
Les Dinkin, managing principal of NBW Consulting Group, Westport, Conn., said he saw the offer was a way to show companies that the new bank will not forget about them.
"Clearly they want to make a major statement that they're focussed on small business and smooth over any concerns about the merger," he said. "This is a pretty aggressive offer."