Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp., Great Western Bank, and Mellon Mortgage Corp. are participating with PMP Relocation Services Inc. in offering special benefits to members of Sam's Club who need real estate, relocation, moving, or mortgage services.
Members of the club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, "can receive significant discounts, free professional assistance, and-or Sam's Club member benefit checks," said Brett Hutton, the Sam's Club official who runs the program.
On an average home transaction, a member could get a benefit check for $1,745 and several hundred dollars in discounts, Mr. Hutton said.
Denver-based PMP is a recently formed unit of Remax International Inc., Englewood, Colo. Remax franchises real estate agencies and has a national network of moving-services companies.
Remax has offices in all 50 states and is said to have sold 200,000 homes last year; it is one of the biggest realty chains.
PMP said in an announcement that it would operate a toll-free telephone center for the pilot. A member advocate will help members gain access to the benefits available.
"Starting Nov. 1, 1996, the pilot program will run for six months in four test markets: St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville; and Tampa, Fla.," said Craig Shelley, PMP's vice president for affinity marketing.
"In all, 21 Sam's Club stores with about 1.3 million members will test the program," he said. "If the pilot succeeds, present plans call for the program to be rolled out to the 436 Sam's Clubs nationwide with more than 27 million members."
The pilot test is an unusual combination of affinity marketing and incentive programs. For the lenders, the plan could be a rich and inexpensive source of loan originations.
Because of thin profit margins in the mortgage business overall and consistent losses on the origination side, lenders have been eager to develop lower-cost sources of new loans.
Chase Mortgage, based in Edison, N.J., already has a marketing arrangement in which Remax offers Chase loans to its homebuying customers. Capturing even a small percentage of Remax homebuyers would be extremely lucrative to Chase. The venture was announced in June.
Earlier, PNC Mortgage Corp., Vernon Hills, Mich., established its Home Mortgage Network, which links it with Coldwell Banker realty offices nationwide.
Chase also landed a lucrative affinity deal in July when it agreed with the AFL-CIO to market mortgages to union members.