Banc One executives say they are successfully doing what few banks have done: cross-sell home equity and consumer loans.

The bank is using a data base of customer information it built with its June 1997 acquisition of First USA, and holding monthly meetings to help consumer, branch, and credit card heads market more products to existing customers.

Banc One stepped up its cross-selling efforts a year ago and is now reaping the rewards, particularly in consumer finance, said Steve Alonso, president of Banc One's consumer financial services division. The unit encompasses the bank's mortgage, home equity, student loan, auto, and home improvement units.

"A good piece of the finance company's growth has come from the retail bank," he said. "We're doing some trailblazing."

The bank would not disclose actual volume figures, but says that its pilot programs are taking off and that real growth will come in 1999.

It is already seeing significant results in its home equity originations because of cross-selling efforts, said Saundra Schrock, general manager, consumer lending.

Banc One's retail division markets home equity loans via direct mail and through a loan-by-phone system. In addition, the consumer finance unit has a broker division that makes these loans.

Customers who have a First USA credit card or another Banc One product are "twice as likely" to respond to direct mail about home equity loans as noncustomers, she said.

She and Mr. Alonso spoke in a conference call from one of their monthly meetings.

First USA, with its $40.8 billion of credit card receivables, has the "best expertise" matching products with consumers and marketing them accordingly, Ms. Schrock said.

Analysts are praising Banc One's strategy and saying the company is leading the charge to cross-sell.

Banc One is really "trying to get what everyone else is preaching-more share of the wallet," said Diana Yates, analyst at A.G. Edwards. "They're being very vocal about saying 'Here's my credit card base, let's see what we can do.'"

Banc One is succeeding because it has figured out how to get divisions to refer customers back and forth, she said. "Usually bankers won't share customers across business lines," Ms. Yates said. "Kudos to them."

Cross-selling often fails because each bank division is concentrating on its own profitability rather than on the whole bank's bottom line, she said. Products like unsecured consumer, home equity, and credit card loans are competing for a share of a consumer's debt load, she said.

Banc One would not disclose how it cleared that hurdle, but Ms. Yates said she assumed that payment to referring employees played a part.

Banc One's planned acquisition of First Chicago NBD Corp., which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, will only strengthen its cross- selling efforts, Ms. Yates said. She said First Chicago has "a strong credit card operating division and a strong retail presence. They're also big on mortgage origination and refinancing."

Banc One has grand aspirations.

"We have the opportunity to be the largest personal bank" in the country, Mr. Alonso said. "We can make these huge numbers of customers feel like we are tailoring products just for them."

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