Saying they're after profits rather than Community Reinvestment Act credit, two regional banks opened new branches in low- income communities this week.

Crestar Financial Corp. inaugurated a new branch Wednesday in Washington's Anacostia section, and Dime Bancorp set up shop Tuesday in the South Bronx.

The openings continue a recent trend of large institutions looking for new customers in inner-city areas.

"We are not mandated by the government to open this office," Crestar Bank regional president Peter F. Nostrand said. "We instead saw tremendous business potential in this community, and wanted to do business here."

The "tide is turning" for the communities in Anacostia, which includes most of the southeastern part of Washington, Mr. Nostrand said. "We consider expansion into this community an opportunity to market a wide range of financial products to an audience we are eager to serve," he said. "And it is an opportunity to further our dominance of banking in Washington."

The full-service branch, at 1571 Alabama Ave. SE, includes an automated teller maching and credit counseling services.

Dime's full-service branch in the Bronx, at 75 E. 161st St., features two ATMs and free seminars on banking services. "We are pleased to be expanding into the neighborhoods of the Bronx," Dime president Larry Toal said. "Community banking is our past, present, and future."

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