A pilot program of putting sales and information centers inside Kinko's copy shops is part of a new effort by Citicorp to extend its retail reach, an official said.
The first Citibank center in a Kinko's store is to open in July, in Las Vegas, where Citi has five traditional full-service branches.
Citi plans to have as many as eight facilities in Kinko's stores by yearend. Six are to be in Las Vegas and two elsewhere, a spokesman said.
Mark Rogers, a spokesman for $310 billion-asset Citicorp, said it chose Las Vegas for the launch because the market is small enough to make success or failure immediately apparent.
Citi has set a goal of one billion customers worldwide by 2010, and that will largely be accomplished by means other than conventional branching, said Mr. Rogers.
The New York company is following others that have been trying to tap into the small-business market through retailing alliances.
Glendale Federal Bank, a unit of Golden State Corp. in Glendale, Calif., also has an alliance with Kinko's, with six in-store locations in Los Angeles, said a Kinko's spokeswoman. KeyCorp has two centers in OfficeMax stores in Cleveland.
Through Kinko's, Citibank "can reach an entrepreneurial clientele that has a higher net worth" than customers available at other retail chains, said Gerard Hergenroeder, a consultant at Speer & Associates in Atlanta.
Kinko's Inc., based in Ventura, Calif., has 860 locations in the United States and 41 overseas that provide document copying and computer services.
Citi's in-store sites will not include automated teller machines or other typical branch services. Instead they will disseminate information on bank products, demonstrate home- and business-banking computer services, and accept account and loan applications.
Each center is to be staffed with as many as five bank employees and keep extended hours.
Mr. Rogers said the centers could serve as information sites for many products offered by Travelers Group as well. Citicorp plans to merge with Travelers, a New York-based insurance and investment banking company, in the third quarter.
One retail banking consultant said the lack of transaction services at the centers could make the venture unattractive financially. "If it's just a product demonstration site, the cost to acquire accounts is going to be quite high," said Peter Carroll of Oliver Wyman & Co.
The Kinko's centers will operate 12 months before the bank determines whether to expand them nationally, Mr. Rogers said.