Mellon Bank Corp. has chosen mortgages as the flagship product for a cross-marketing push aimed at customers of its Dreyfus Corp. subsidiary.
The Pittsburgh-based banking company this summer began touting conventional and jumbo mortgages at Dreyfus financial centers in major cities nationwide.
The company wants to familiarize Dreyfus customers with the Mellon name and gradually introduce more bank products, said executives familiar with Mellon's plans.
Aside from mortgages, Mellon is soon expected to offer certificates of deposit and credit cards through Dreyfus offices.
With the initiative, Mellon hopes to realize a goal of leveraging its products by marketing them through Dreyfus, the mutual fund giant bought for $2 billion last year. At the time, Mellon chairman Frank V. Cahouet told a congressional panel that cross-marketing opportunities were a primary reason for Mellon's attraction to Dreyfus.
Right now, however, executives at Mellon are declining to discuss plans for Dreyfus storefront offices, saying they would rather wait until the program is fleshed out.
Industry observers are already looking at the project with interest. Cross-selling has been a major theme in mergers and acquisitions in recent years, but results have so far been spotty.
"They're using the Dreyfus network to drive products to more consumers," said Anne Morgan Moore, president of Synergistics Research Corp., Atlanta. "It's an approach that will expand their marketplace nationally."
Consumers who frequent Dreyfus offices - typically young, upscale, and with money to spend - are "ideal" for Mellon to target, Ms. Moore said.
But the program faces some challenges, analysts said.
Dreyfus brokers will give customers Mellon mortgage applications and loan rates, but that's about it.
Customers must leave their number with a Dreyfus sales rep in order to get a call from a Mellon mortgage representative. Or customers can call the representative themselves.
The bank is taking this approach to "simplify" the process, according to a letter in the application package from Mellon executive vice president Joseph V. Perrone.
"Everything can be handled by mail and telephone from your home or office," Mr. Perrone wrote.
The arrangement may not go over with consumers who generally want to work with a single loan officer, face-to-face, when making a commitment as large as a mortgage, Ms. Moore said.
"You're going to get some people," she said. "But it will be difficult."
Dreyfus offices play up the mortgage program with three-foot-high posters featuring a smiling young couple and their daughter in front of a new home. The placards, which note the availability of mortgages of from $30,000 to $3 million, sit beside posters of the Dreyfus lion.
The lion is already a familiar symbol to Mellon customers who, starting this year, have bought mutual funds in branch brokerages that are now called Dreyfus investment centers.