In addition to reassuring customers about year-2000 concerns, bankers might also want to compliment them on how they look in their bathing suits.

It turns out that Y2K concerns rank just ahead of buying a swimsuit among things that cause women stress, according to a national survey by Roper Starch Worldwide of New York.

Half the women surveyed said they were worried about the date change, and 45% said buying swimwear caused them stress.

Men shared some, but not all, of women's worries. Thirty-six percent of males surveyed said the date change is causing them stress, but only 5% said the same about buying a bathing suit.

So what is worse than the Y2K bug?

Fears about not having enough time to spend with family members finished in a tie with having serious dental work or a public speaking commitment as most worrisome, at 63%. It is unclear what a bank could do to ease the pain of a root canal.

A Maryland community bank says it hopes a promotion it is running can turn picnic food into deposits.

Every Saturday for the next few months, Columbia (Md.) Bank plans to offer hot dogs and snowballs at one of its 13 branches in the Baltimore area. Customers and passersby are invited in for as much as they can eat, no strings attached.

Sort of.

Del A. Karfonta, senior vice president of retail banking at Columbia, said he hopes the campaign will attract new business.

Mr. Karfonta said that during a free-food event the bank held a few years ago, a noncustomer came in for a hot dog and returned later that day to buy a $75,000 certificate of deposit.

That is exactly the sort of response bank marketers dream of, but it does not happen every day.

"We don't always derive immediate success such as that," he said. "But if nothing else, it makes our existing customers feel good."

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