six months of 1995 through new marketing plans, expansion of product lines, and broader geographic reach. here are a few success stories.
*** "When we were building our marketing plan for 1995, our No. 1 objective was to attract and retain loans, and we focused on home equity," said Kirby L. Trumbo, marketing director for Bank One Colorado, Denver. The company used a combination of media ads and direct marketing to increase its home equity volume to $203 million in June 1995, an increase of more than 100% over the level a year earlier. The bank tied its advertising to Denver sports teams, using Rockies coach Don Baylor and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan in its television ads. Bank One also focused on converting customers to 100% loan-to-value, and kept margins up by avoiding teaser rates. The company provides a toll-free Loan-by-Phone service, from which consumers can obtain immediate approval.
*** First Union National Bank of Florida, Jacksonville, found that a new product bolstered sales dramatically, according to spokesman Ken Darby. The company's Prime Equity Line bases loan size on home equity and offers borrowers the first year at prime rate. After using both direct mail and print advertising to promote transferring credit balances to the new lower rate loan, First Union managed to increase home equity loan volume 35%. The company also offers a no-closing-cost option, and checkbook or Visa Gold card access to the equity line. One of the main reasons for the line's success is repayment flexibility, Mr. Darby said. Borrowers can choose to make interest-only payments, or make payments each month amounting to interest due plus 1.5% of the outstanding balance.
*** "Consumer demand is up - anyone with a home wants a home equity line," said Bobby Douglas, vice president of Centura Bank in Rocky Mount, N.C. After acquiring First Southern Bank, Asheboro, N.C., Centura went on to introduce an equity line with almost no closing costs (available to customers with strong financial statements) by eliminating lawyers' costs. Centura does the deed and trust work itself. The Equity Line Plus, available since December 1994, has helped increase sales more than 70%.
*** First Deposit National Bank, Tilton, N.H., has done "nothing out of the ordinary" to build volume by more than 50%, according to Marc Lowenthal, vice president and business manager for parent company Providian Home Loans in Pleasanton, Calif. The data-base marketers use direct mail solicitations to target consumers culled from credit bureau extracts. The company has learned how to better pinpoint possible customers, Mr. Lowenthal said, adding: "There is just more consumer awareness of home equity loans. More than ever, consumers that own homes are looking at consolidating credit card debt." They are also taking advantage of the tax savings that a home equity loan offers, he said.