Magazine article American Banker

Spare Change: Arizona Bank Uses Hawaii as Gateway for New Customers

Magazine article American Banker

Spare Change: Arizona Bank Uses Hawaii as Gateway for New Customers

Article excerpt

Ten years ago, Raymond Lamb exchanged snowdrifts for sunshine, selling his family's North Dakota banks and moving to the desert climate of Arizona.

Now his two banks in the Southwest are offering new customers the chance to enjoy even more temperate weather -- in Hawaii.

Anyone who walks into one of the 31 branches of First National Bank of Arizona or its affiliate, First National Bank of Nevada, and opens a checking account will walk out with a voucher for two free round-trip airline tickets on a major carrier to one of three Hawaiian islands.

There are some restrictions, of course. Participants must book a minimum nine-night stay and choose from a list of five hotels, such as the Kauai Coconut Beach Resort or the Waikiki Beachcomber. They have until next Sept. 1 to complete the travel and can fly out of five cities in the West.

The two banks, both owned by Mr. Lamb's family, started the program Aug. 31 to generate low-cost retail deposits, particularly at their branches in outlets of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The goal is to open 3,000 accounts by the time the promotion ends, on Oct. 31.

Currently about 30% of the banks' deposits are in transaction accounts, 40% are in nontransaction accounts such as certificates of deposit, and the rest are in borrowed funds.

"Anyone can offer some kind of free product. You have to get something that's unique," said Patrick Lamb, general counsel for the banks' parent company, $800 million-asset First National Bank Holding Co. …

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