A little town having a stressful year got some holiday cheer this week, courtesy of an all-night vigil on the roof of a community bank.
Townsfolk in Paducah, Ky., were treated to a special broadcast by a local radio station from the roof of $640 million-asset Citizens Bank and Trust Co.'s downtown headquarters. The event ran from 6 a.m. Monday till 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Paducah made national headlines this fall after a distraught student sprayed a high school hallway with gunfire.
Dressed as Santa, local radio personality Avis P. Broomlick of KOOL-94.3 poured eggnog on people at street level, threw $2,500 in small bills to the crowd, and read "The Night Before Christmas" and "Christmas Story."
"We've demonstrated that we're a town who rallies to support each other," said William J. Jones, president of CBT Corp., Citizens' Paducah- based holding company. "Maybe through an event like this, we can realize we are still blessed and that Christmas is a wonderful time to share a laugh or a song."
The event also raised about $1,000 for a local charity.--Louis Whiteman
Few U.S. cities can boast fans more devoted to their professional sports teams than Chicago. And a thrift there is giving customers a chance to display their team spirit with every check they write.
Under exclusive rights agreements with four of the city's five pro franchises, St. Paul Federal Bank offers consumer checking accounts that feature team logos on the check blanks. Of the bank's 125,000 checking account customers, about 32,000 use checks displaying the logos of basketball's Bulls, football's Bears, or baseball's White Sox or Cubs.
Robert J. Valaitis, St. Paul's director of marketing, said the thrift has offered Bulls-logoed checks since 1993 and later followed up with the Cubs, Bears and, just recently, the White Sox. (Hockey's Blackhawks are allied with a rival bank.) Doing so, he added, has helped distinguish $4.4 billion-asset St. Paul in a city filled with large national and regional banks.
"We're competing with banks like Bank of America and Harris Bank that have much larger marketing budgets," Mr. Valaitis said.
St. Paul spends about $500,000 a year for the rights agreements, which include advertising at the teams' home games. The Bulls logo is most popular among customers, Mr. Valaitis said. That's no surprise, considering the team's five National Basketball Association titles this decade. The least popular: the Bears, who finished the just-completed football season with four wins and 12 losses.--Alan Kline