Market Trends, a Bellevue, Wash., firm that made its name by conducting mystery shopping programs for banks, has begun marketing its services to groups of small banks.

The company is hoping to line up groups of at least 20 community banks that want help in evaluating the quality of service rendered by tellers, investment salespeople, and loan officers.

Market Trends has typically offered these services to large banks that have budgets big enough to afford its brand of hands-on research. It hopes the smaller banks - those with assets between $100 million and $500 million - will be amenable to pooling their resources.

Market Trends will charge between $455 and $788 per branch for a 15-week program of mystery shopping. Although the banks will pay for the program in aggregate, each bank would receive a specific report on its situation.

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