In an unusual marketing move, Glendale Federal Bank is introducing an account that will consolidate mortgage loans, brokerage accounts, and deposit accounts onto a single statement.
Designed in part to lure customers away from California's large commercial banks, the consolidated account, called the Family Financial Management Account, also will allow Glenfed to market deposit and brokerage accounts to its mortgage customers more effectively, officials of the thrift said.
"We think this will put us in a unique position in the industry," said Stephen Trafton, chairman, president, and chief executive. "We've waged an aggressive campaign against the large banks - BankAmerica, Wells Fargo, and First Interstate. This is the kind of customer service that you can't get there."
The $16 billion-asset Glenfed is one of the largest mortgage originators in the country, with a $10.1 billion portfolio as of June 30.
Other institutions said they had no plans to consolidate loan and deposit statements. The biggest obstacle is logistics: coordinating and cross-referencing mortgage statements, which usually are sent out at various times during the month, and deposit statements, which tend to all go out at the same time.
"It would be difficult to integrate those two, because of the statement cycles," said Samantha Davies, a spokeswoman for Home Savings of America, a unit of H.F. Ahmanson & Co. In addition, customers could be confused by the amount of information, including bill payment instructions, on the statement, she said.
"Only a very small number of institutions have an overlap in deposit and mortgage customers," said Brian Chappelle, a spokesman for the Mortgage Bankers Association. "The issue is: Do you have enough business to justify building the software?"
Mr. Trafton agreed that the biggest problem is coordinating statement cycles. Glenfed has outsourced its deposit and mortgage systems to Alltel Information Services, a technology firm based in Little Rock, so that the two systems are compatible. Alltel is helping to develop the new account.
Glenfed intends to increase the overlap in mortgage and deposit customers. Today the thrift has about 600,000 deposit customers and 400,000 loan customers. The overlap is about 25%, Mr. Trafton said.
"Ordinarily, mortgage customers do not get cross-sold on the deposit relationship, because customers already have their checking account relationships before they get the mortgage," Mr. Trafton said. "We think that inertia will be broken."
By linking the computer systems that track mortgages and deposits, the job of analyzing accounts will move from the salespeople in the branches to the back office. The back office will send out statements that include product advertisements aimed at specific customers. There is no fee for the account, and the goal is to convert all existing customers to it over time.
If a customer opens the account with a single relationship, such as a checking account, all the other balances will appear as zero. However, "we will be able to market other aspects of the account every time we send you a statement," Mr. Trafton said.
There are incentives. Mortgage customers who opt for the account will get a reduced interest rate - even if they do not open a deposit account at that time. Customers who open a brokerage account may have commission fees waived for a year.
The single-statement account will be rolled out in two stages. By December, an account will be available that includes savings, checking, and sweep accounts, MasterCard debit accounts, and secured and unsecured credit lines. Sometime after the first of the year, the statement also will include mortgage loans, home equity loans, and brokerage accounts. The statement will include a tear-off payment coupon.