Magazine article American Banker

Suddenly Twice as Many Little Banks Using Ad Agencies

Magazine article American Banker

Suddenly Twice as Many Little Banks Using Ad Agencies

Article excerpt

The nation's smallest banks are turning to advertising agencies to help polish their image.

The percentage of community banks-those with less than $100 million of assets-using advertising agencies doubled in 1996, according to a new study by the Bank Marketing Association.

The study, which was released last month, said 18% of banks in the under-$100-million class hired advertising agencies to create marketing materials during 1996. Experts said the increase from 9% in 1995 highlighted escalating competition in the industry. The trade group polled 300 bankers last year for the study of 1996 advertising activity.

"As more banks merge, it puts more pressure on community banks to put out an image that they're comparable to a regional bank," said Jim Turner, president of Etra Corp., the Naperville, Ill., marketing consulting firm that did the study for the association. The trade group is part of the American Bankers Association.

Larry J. Nussmeyer, president of Nussmeyer Advertising in Jacksonville, Fla., said more community banks are finding that local newspaper advertisement designers no longer fill the bill.

"The banks are realizing they have to be sharper," he said.

Charles Hall, executive vice president at Exchange Bank and Trust in Perry, Okla., said his $90 million-asset bank hired an advertising agency for the first time about a year ago after using local newspaper ad designs and canned national advertisements for years. Mr. Hall said these advertising standbys were no longer sophisticated enough. …

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