Glendale Federal Bank, the California thrift that has made a name for itself by going after the state's biggest banks in its advertising, now has trained its sights on the small-business market.
The $16 billion-asset company is expanding its services and marketing them with advertising that is critical of BankAmerica Corp.'s Bank of America, First Interstate Bank of California, and Wells Fargo Bank.
"Their big weakness is that they've had a cookie-cutter, bureaucratic type of approach, which leaves the small-business person saying there must be a better, less aggravating way to do business," said Glenfed's Stephen J. Trafton, referring to his larger competitors.
Mr. Trafton, the thrift's chairman and chief executive, said Glenfed, which is based in the Los Angeles area, aims to pick up $100 million of deposits from small businesses in the next 10 and a half months.
The company also hopes to gain fees and assets, though Mr. Trafton declined to specify targets.
Such developments would help Glenfed achieve its strategic goals of cutting funding costs and developing a service profile that makes it appear more like a community bank than a traditional thrift.
"We expect our financials will be favorably impacted on several fronts," Mr. Trafton said.
As part of the small-business banking push, Glenfed is expanding the number of checking accounts it tailors for small businesses.
Previously, it had one such offering. Now, it is introducing three accounts with different balance requirements and fees. One of these accounts can be used to sweep excess balances into investments or money market accounts.
Glenfed is also starting to make small-business loans, including term loans and revolving loans of up to $250,000. In addition, it is selling domestic letters of credit; merchant credit cards; and electronic funds transfer, payroll, tax, investment, and insurance services to small businesses.
Mr. Trafton said those services became available Aug. 1 in 30 Glenfed branches. During the next four months the thrift plans to make the services available in all of its 148 branches.
Additionally, in September, Glenfed expects to start selling a personal computer service that small businesses can use for remote banking.
Glenfed is using its 1-800-41FEDUP telephone line to help market the services. The company started promoting the number this year in a television campaign that was unusually aggressive for a thrift.
The ads teased big banks by painting ridiculous scenarios of shoddy service and holding up Glenfed as a friendly alternative. At the end of the commercials, viewers were urged to switch banks by calling Glenfed's toll- free phone line.
Glenfed has since moved its combative theme onto billboards that say "You Deserve Better" and invite people to call the same number. Mr. Trafton said Glenfed has been getting calls from managers of small businesses.
Glenfed is not entirely new to small-business banking. Mr. Trafton said the company bought a $2.8 billion-asset thrift in 1987 with 41 branches that sold small-business services. But Glenfed pulled them back when it went through a recapitalization and reorganization in the early 1990s.
Small-business banking, however, is not all there is in Glenfed's new game plan. Near yearend, it also plans to introduce an investment account aimed at individuals that will operate much as cash or asset management accounts at brokerage firms.
The account will come with a monthly statement that includes information about all financial products a customer obtains from Glenfed. Mr. Trafton said the account would be aimed at "blue-collar and light blue-collar families in California."