Chuck E. Cheese it isn't. But a Chicago-area bank is following in the footsteps of kids' favorite fast-food chains by installing a play area in its newest branch.

Hemlock Federal Bank for Savings, a $156 million-asset bank in Oak Forest, Ill., will build a Kids' Korner in its branch in nearby Lemont. The area will have toys for kids to play with while parents do their banking, said Michael R. Stevens, Hemlock's president and chief financial officer.

"To us, it's kind of a natural decision," said Mr. Stevens. "Nobody likes to go into a bank to do business, so we're trying to make it more palatable."

Mr. Stevens estimated that as many as one-third of the bank's customers bring children with them into the lobby. Hemlock sets out toys and coloring books for children at its three other branches. The Lemont branch will be a brand-new building, so the play area has been included in its plans.

Mr. Stevens, father of a 5-year-old son, said more banks should consider becoming kid-friendly.

"We don't want to discourage families from coming to the bank," he said.

An Indiana community bank is trying to steal customers from regional and national banks with an inquisitive new advertising campaign.

First Indiana Bank in Indianapolis is running ads on local television that ask viewers whether they're satisfied as customers of acquisitive regional banks.

In one ad, branch manager Freda Wampner asks, "When a megabank from another time zone swallows up your bank, where does that put you?"

In a second spot, Ms. Wampner asks viewers how much they made when their community institution was bought by a "gigantic bank," hinting that shareholders make tens of millions of dollars in the deals.

Ken Turchi, senior vice president for marketing and strategic planning at First Indiana, said the ads are intended to make customers think twice about "putting up" with a merged bank and then perhaps switch to First Indiana. --Laura Pavlenko Lutton

So much for target marketing.

Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland has received a letter from a California lender informing him he is eligible for a second mortgage of more than $43,000, based on the value of the governor's residence.

Of course, the State of Connecticut, not Gov. Rowland, owns the governor's mansion.

A spokesman said Gov. Rowland threw the letter in the trash and doesn't remember who sent it. - Louis Whiteman

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