Magazine article American Banker

Ohio Thrift Heads to Fla. Offering High CD Rates

Magazine article American Banker

Ohio Thrift Heads to Fla. Offering High CD Rates

Article excerpt

A large Ohio thrift is diving into Florida, announcing plans to open five full-service branches there this fall.

The move will give Third Federal Savings and Loan Association in Cleveland its first major presence outside Ohio. Third Federal is the nation's largest mutually owned thrift at $6.2 billion of assets.

The thrift plans to spread the five branches along 60 miles of Florida's west coast, a strategy that some experts criticize as too little, too late.

Marc A. Stefanski, chairman and chief executive officer of Third Federal, said the expansion will allow the thrift to reconnect with former customers who have headed south.

It is no secret that a lot of folks from the Midwest are moving to Florida, said Mr. Stefanski, whose parents founded the company in 1938. It seems natural for us to follow our customers.

Third Federal plans to offer above-market rates on certificates of deposits to attract market share, the same strategy it has used in Ohio. The company plans to begin newspaper advertising in the next few weeks, introducing potential customers to the Third Federal name, and offering high-rate CDs over the telephone.

But some Florida consultants said deposit rates are already sky high because of intense competition in west Florida.

Honestly, I don't know anyone who has come into this area, paid up for deposits, and had success with it, said Richard P. Hunt, chairman of Kendrick, Pierce & Co. …

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