Officials at Carver Federal Savings Bank are hoping the publisher of a religious newspaper will see the light - and soon.

Early last week, the Rev. Dennis Dillon, publisher of New York Christian Times, issued a statement saying that about 80 minority-owned businesses planned to transfer up to $3 million in deposits from Chase Manhattan Corp. and Chemical Banking Corp. to Carver.

That nearly got $363 million-asset Carver in hot water with the two money-centers, both of which have entered into several cooperative lending projects with Carver, the nation's largest minority-owned thrift.

Local and national media outlets had picked up the story immediately, prompting a flood of calls to the thrift and Mr. Dillon. But so far, Mr. Dillon has not named any of the businesses, and Carver hasn't seen a nickel.

That's prompting some to ignore the religious leader's claims.

Meanwhile, Carver issued a statement reaffirming its close business ties with Chase and Chemical, which is also its correspondent bank. The thrift has also denied any association with Mr. Dillon or knowledge of his plans.


First State Bank of Elwood last week trotted out a new name to reflect some speedy changes - Pony Express Community Bank.

The $21 million-asset bank, formerly based in Elwood, Kan., needed a new moniker after using Missouri and Kansas laws to move its headquarters within 30 miles - in this case across the Missouri River - to nearby St. Joseph, Mo. (It's actually not the first time First State had moved to St. Joseph; flooding in the summer of 1993 caused it to move onto higher ground there temporarily.)

"With facilities in Lucas, Kan., and St. Joseph, Mo., our old name just didn't fit," said Bob Means, president.

Officials decided to adapt the holding company's name -

Pony Express Bancorp - for the bank.

The Pony Express mail delivery service originated in St. Joseph; it terminated in Sacramento, Calif.

"I think for our customers in St. Joseph and Elwood, tying ourselves to the history of the community was important," Mr. Means said.

However, officials aren't relying on the name to make the bank, he said. "We aren't looking at a name to differentiate us from our competitors. Our banking philosophy is one of very personalized service. That is not something that goes on everyday in banking."


A bank in northern Virginia is doing what few others would dare do - open for business on Sundays.

Recognizing that its customers - many of whom are two-career families - don't have time during the week to do their banking, George Mason Bankshares of Fairfax has opened 10 of its 16 branches in the area from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Fourteen of the bank's branches have expanded Saturday hours as well. Chief executive Bernard Clineburg said giving customers more flexibility is "why we're putting an end to 'bankers hours.'"

- Barbara F. Bronstien, Jonathan D. Epstein, Christopher Rhoads

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