Magazine article American Banker

Canadian Imperial Co-Pilots Safeway Store-Bank Program

Magazine article American Banker

Canadian Imperial Co-Pilots Safeway Store-Bank Program

Article excerpt

Safeway Inc. is teaming up with a unit of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in a test of in-store banking under the Safeway brand.

The Pleasanton, Calif., grocery chain and Amicus Federal Savings Bank of Cicero, Ill., last week opened Safeway Select Bank outlets in 25 Safeway stores in Colorado and California. Amicus, a $31.5 million-asset subsidiary of Toronto's Canadian Imperial, is providing automated teller machines and people: representatives who offer loans and investment services.

The program offers no-fee checking and free groceries as sign-up incentives, and also has a Web component, safewayselectbank.com. If the pilot in Denver, San Jose, and Sacramento succeeds, Safeway will roll out in other western markets. But officials stressed that the company will continue its alliance with Wells Fargo & Co., which has branches in more than half of Safeway's 1,680 stores.

Rick Dreiling, Safeway executive vice president, said putting its own name on the in-store banks is consistent with the chain's food and drug branding.

"Safeway Select Bank extends Safeway's premium Safeway Select brand to a financial service," he said. "We built our premium private-label brands by meeting and exceeding national brand quality, and we intend to do the same with this offering."

Canadian Imperial also operates a private-label bank, President's Choice, with Canada's largest supermarket, Loblaw Cos., and started similar operations in the southeastern U.S. last October with Marketplace Bank, a private-label bank in the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain. …

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