ROANOKE -- Dominion Bankshares Corp. and the Kroger Corp. last week unveiled an agreement to open 14 full-service banks in Kroger groceries around Virginia.

Corporate officials refused at a news conference to say how much it will cost to open the branches over the next two years.

They also would not say how much extra money they hoped to make by luring additional customers through the convenience of "one-stop shopping." "Obviously, I don't care to throw those numbers around," said J. Richard Carling, president of Dominion Bank in Roanoke. "We see these units breaking even and moving into the black much quicker than other branches."

He said startup costs for the grocery store branches will be lower than the $700,000 to $1 million it costs to open a branch in a separate location. Dominion will pay startup costs.

The move will give Dominion entry into the Lynchburg and Waynesboro markets.

Other Dominion Bank Money Markets -- as the branches will be called -- are planned for Roanoke, Salem, Vinton, Blacksburg and Harrisonburg.

The branches will average 300 square feet and three to five employes; officials said they will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

"These supermarket banks reflect the way we live today," Carling said. "People can't always make it into a bank during the course of a regular working day."

He said full-service banking in grocery stores is working in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington and will soon begin in eastern Virginia.

"Farm Fresh, I think, has negotiated with some other companies to establish banking facilities in the grocery stores," Carling said.

Dominion has the right of first refusal to open full-service branches in Virginia Kroger stores for five years, with three additional five-year options, he said. The deal is subject to the approval of banking regulators.

Carling called Kroger officials masters at moving into booming locations and said Dominion should benefit greatly from prime space in the Kroger stores.

The agreement developed from a larger arrangement between Kroger's Mid-Atlantic stores and National Commerce Bancorporation of Memphis, Tenn. The Tennessee bank is prohibited from branching into Virginia, so Dominion was selected as a sub-licensee.endqua