It took more than six months, but First Indiana Bank of Indianapolis' advertising campaign is finally starting to pay dividends.

First Indiana kicked off a campaign in October that attacked big-bank mergers and urged customers of large banks to switch to a smaller institution. Its slogan: "Being one in a million may not be so great after all."

But $1.6 billion-asset First Indiana did not see any quantifiable gains in deposits or loan applications until Columbus, Ohio-based Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. announced merger plans in April.

Since then, First Indiana's new-account activity has flourished. Last month it brought in almost twice as many checking accounts as in a typical May. And evidence suggests it was the thrift's ads that won over many former big-bank customers, said Kerry Foster, First Indiana's marketing manager.

"Everything we've read and seen suggests people don't react very favorably to merger news," he said. "That creates an opportunity for us."

The campaign, designed by Young & Laramore, Indianapolis, appealed to more than just consumers. Judges at the Indiana chapter of the Bank Marketing Association gave the campaign a best-of-show award at the recent Indiana Bankers Association convention.

- Laura Pavlenko Lutton

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A four-year-old Connecticut community bank is turning to a former New York Bancorp president to help devise its long-term plan.

Patriot National Bank, based in Stamford, announced recently that Michael A. McManus Jr. had joined it as a consultant. The $85 million-asset bank plans to nominate Mr. McManus to its board of directors and eventually make him vice chairman.

Mr. McManus was president and chief executive officer of New York Bancorp, a $3.2 billion-asset thrift holding company that was sold this year to North Fork Bancorp for $800 million, a whopping 4.8 times book value. That deal, completed in March, ranks as one of the most lucrative price-to-book acquisitions in U.S. banking history.

In a press release, Patriot National insisted that it had brought in Mr. McManus to build a "larger, stronger bank" and that his hiring "does not mean that the bank is now in play." Chief among Mr. McManus' responsibilities, the release said, will be analyzing possible acquisition targets and building the residential mortgage department.

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