Employees of Zions Bancorp. could soon be flying the friendly skies.

Starting Sunday the Salt Lake City banking company will award 1,000 frequent-flier miles for every "quality" referral to its brokerage.

Employees who make five referrals earn $150 travel vouchers, redeemable at certain travel agencies, or Eddie Bauer gift certificates.

The "Giving You the World" program is expected to drum up about 3,000 referrals and $18 million to $19 million of sales, said Mori Paulsen, senior vice president of Zions Investment Securities Inc., the brokerage arm of the $15 billion-asset banking company.

Employees in five of Zions' states-Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona-will be eligible.

No other Zions incentive program has been open to employees from more than one state, Mr. Paulsen said.

Many banks offer incentives to get more business flowing between their banking and brokerage units. Some banks pay cash; others offer trips, dinners, cars, and days off. Though regulators have been tightening the rules, banks and their brokerages can offer such incentives if they are structured carefully.

The programs "can be a very effective way to focus attention and boost sales," said Les Dinkin, a director at Oliver, Wyman & Co. of New York. But they lose their punch if they run for too long, he said.

The incentives would be unnecessary if banks could persuade employees that brokerage is a core service, said Roger Thomas of Thomas Marketing Inc., Columbia, Mo. He noted that employees do not need incentives to refer someone to a loan officer.

The program will end Jan. 29. One special goal is to stir sales in Colorado, where brokerage services were recently introduced. Another is to boost sales overall during the fourth quarter, which is typically slow, Mr. Paulsen said.

Not every lead will qualify for an award. "It has to be someone who actually takes the time to listen and is interested in investment alternatives," Mr. Paulsen said.

An employee who supplies a good-quality lead will be issued a $10 referral check plus a scratch-off card. The card is good for 1,000 miles-or 5,000 if it says "instant winner."

Employees who make qualified referrals but are not instant winners can enter a monthly drawing in which several will win 5,000- and 10,000-mile credits. And in January several grand-prize winners will get 20,000 miles- enough to fly from Colorado to Paris or London.

"We'll fly you around the world if you give us enough referrals," Mr. Paulsen said.

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