A loan sale? It may sound strange to the wary consumer, but to American Security Bank it's a sound way of generating new business.
For the next two Saturdays the bank will open 16 branches in the District to take applications for consumer loans at a reduced interest rate of 9 per cent.
American Security alashed its current 11.5 per cent rate on personal and home improvement borrowing by 18 per cent - matching its 9 per cent auto loan rate - to attract new business. "It's a very short promotion designed to attract people who are in the market for a loan," according to marketing vice president Tim Holland.
"We hope by demonstrating our responsiveness to consumers, we can build our relationships with them," he said. "We're after a customer's total business - loans, checking, savings accounts."
He said the bank hoped by providing both monetary and convenience benefits - a lower rate and Saturday openings - to woo additional borrowers and depositors.
Money sales are not new marketing techniques for banks, especially those with swiftly accumulating deposits.Institutions around the country and as close as northern Virginia have already tried them. "It's the innovative ones that do," Holland said.
The nation's banks, with the exception of those badly bruished by illtimes real estates investments, are accumulating deposits at a substantial rate as recession-shy customers choose to put aside funds rather then spend impetously.
The parent of American Security Bank, American Security Corp., listed assets of $1.4 billion in its 1976 financial report, including $650,132,000 in loans. The borrowing breakdown showed $96,252,000 in personal loans, an increase of $12.2 million from 1975. Deposits within the holding company totaled more than $1.1 billion. American's parent increased its profits by 33 cents a share last year over 1975 to $15,978,000 or $6.59 and paid out an additional 10 cents a share on its common stock, or $2.80.
Two volunteers from the lending staff will man each of the 16 locations from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will call in each applicant's data to consumer loan specialists at headquarters to facilitate the approval process, the spokesman said.
The reduced rate will apply only on applications made this Saturday and on April 23. Interested borrowers inquiring on the intervening days will be asked to come in on the sale dates. What if they can't? "Well, we've thought of a way to handle that situation," a spokesman replied.
The normal personal loan strictures will be in effect: applications will be considered for amounts ranging between $1,000 and $10,000 with payments periods up to 36 months.
The sale locations are the city branch at 16th and K St. NW, Georgetown, DuPont Circle, Woodley Park, Van Ness, Wisconsin Avenue, Cleveland Park, Spring Valley, George Avenue, Blair Avenue, First and O St. NE, Northeast Benning Road, East Capitol Street, Capitol Hill, Southwest on the Mail.
Other local banks are not eager to join in rate cutting promotions. "We've never even considered it," said Odd Blorstal, vice president in charge of the credit division at Riggs National Bank. "You're talking about an area that I have responsibility for and I'm not inclined to recommend it here."
"I know we have not considered it," said Jacqueline Erickson, director of the National Bank of Washington's marketing division.