Continuing to take advantage of the supermarket-banking boomlet, Minneapolis' two largest banks are opening offices in three new SuperTarget stores in Iowa and Nebraska.
In June Norwest Corp. will open its second Omaha supermarket branch - in a SuperTarget, a combination grocery-discount store with a broad customer base. It opened one in another Omaha SuperTarget last year. (The $74 billion-asset bank also has a branch in a Stephens Market in suburban Minneapolis.)
Pursuing an even more aggressive strategy, First Bank System opened an office in a SuperTarget in April in Mason City, Iowa, and plans to open one in Davenport in July. First Bank has 25 supermarket branches in total, but the SuperTarget location is its first of this type in Iowa, where the bank has 26 offices.
First Bank, with $38 billion in assets, plans to have 30 supermarket branches throughout its network by the yearend.
Cindy Cooper, senior vice president of business development, said Midwest customers' acceptance of supermarket branches is driving her company's quick growth in these locations.
In Minneapolis, First Bank has an exclusive agreement with Byerly's - an upscale grocer that caters to wealthy shoppers - to open offices in its stores. Ben Crabtree, an analyst with Dain Bosworth Inc., said the contract between Byerly's and SuperTarget suggests that First Bank is still working out its supermarket strategy.
Supermarket banking consultant Amy Swanson, with National Commerce Bank Services Inc. in Memphis, said many banks are experimenting to find their niche.
Ms. Cooper said First Bank is seeking partnerships with a various supermarket chains, focusing on markets in Colorado and Iowa.
David Zelinsky, First Bank's senior vice president in charge of the Iowa market, said Target Stores initiated the venture with First Bank. The two companies had already worked together on a co-branded credit card.
First Bank also has a corporate lending relationship with Target, and the bank has automated teller machines in many Target stores, Mr. Zelinksy said.
Neither First Bank nor Norwest has an agreement for future SuperTarget stores.
SuperTarget is a new concept for the retailer. Target, a subsidiary of Dayton-Hudson Corp., says plans to open three SuperTarget stores this year, all in Utah.