Union Bank of California is preparing for a monthlong small-business blitz, offering free checking accounts, simplified credit applications, and a discount on its usual loan fees.

The subsidiary of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi is one of several banks timing their small-business promotions to coincide with Tuesday's income tax deadline.

The theory is fairly simple: Small-business owners have compiled all their business documents and thought about their finances, so they are likely to be receptive to new offers.

"It tends to be a peak season for borrowing," said Donald Hance, Union Bank small-business banking manager. "We pick up quite a bit of business this time of year."

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