In a new twist on affinity banking, a California publisher of affinity- group magazines has opened a "bank without walls" for the RV set.
AGI Holding Corp.'s Affinity Thrift and Loan, Ventura, will offer its banking services nationwide to members of the Good Sam Club and other associations owned by its parent.
AGI bought the lender, which has one of California's thrift-like industrial loan charters, in October 1995; it was then called San Francisco Thrift and Loan.
The Good Sam Club is the world's largest recreational vehicle owners organization, with about two million members in the United States and Canada. It was founded in 1966 by Highways magazine as an association of RV owners to help each other if they encountered trouble while traveling.
AGI, which owns several specialty publications, bought the club when it bought Highways.
"We're counting on the loyalty," said Michael R. McGuire, president and chief executive officer of the thrift. "We're counting on the recognition of the club and the good service it provides to get people to open accounts with Affinity."
Affinity plans to use AGI's publications to market its services to about four million subscribers and members of the various sports clubs and other associations owned by the parent company.
The $25 million-asset thrift will offer high-yielding certificates of deposits and money-market accounts. Customers will be able to use a toll- free number to access their accounts through a telephone banking center and an automated response system.
AGI already has third-party credit card and other lending contracts with Mellon Bank and Ganis Credit Corp., a financier of boats and RVs. The thrift will increase its assets by purchasing a percentage of the loans originated through those arrangements.
Affinity will also serve local residents in San Francisco, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties through its original branch in San Francisco and headquarters in Ventura. The thrift will originate commercial and multifamily real estate loans throughout California, and will purchase loan pools and mortgage-backed securities.