Kraft Veteran at Shore Bank Likes Development Recipe

By Jackson, Ben | American Banker, November 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

Kraft Veteran at Shore Bank Likes Development Recipe


Jackson, Ben, American Banker


Jell-O and savings accounts are about as different as consumer products get, but ShoreBank Corp. of Chicago turned to a longtime executive at Kraft Foods Inc. to run its marketing campaign and help it attract more customers.

The $1.4 billion-asset bank announced in May that it had hired Todd C. Brown as the vice chairman of the holding company and chairman of the board of directors of its Chicago and Detroit banks. Mr. Brown is in charge of building brand awareness as Shore -- largely known as a community development bank -- aims to win new deposits, expand its loan portfolio, and increase its branches.

Since starting his new job at the beginning of August, Mr. Brown has been meeting with executives at the company's Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland banks to plan marketing for 2004. The principles of promoting food products and financial services are fundamentally the same, he said: Know the target audience, how the product meets customers' needs, and how the company can meet those needs better than any competitor.

"The key to this bank's success has been targeting specific neighborhoods with the kind of products and services that will grow those neighborhoods and make them more vital and healthy," Mr. Brown said.

Observers said hiring executives from consumer food and beverage companies is a big-bank trend that has reached community banks and will probably pick up.

Brenda Marlin, the associate director of the American Bankers Association's ABA Marketing Network, said banks need to distinguish themselves through marketing because products like free checking have become commodities.

That is one reason Commerce Bancorp Inc. of Cherry Hill, N.J., recently hired Chas Hermann from Starbuck's Coffee Co. …

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