Charter One looks to perk up image with Starbucks union

CLEVELAND: Hoping to perk up its image with consumers, Charter One Financial has started putting Starbucks stores inside its branches.

CLEVELAND: Hoping to perk up its image with consumers, Charter One Financial has started putting Starbucks stores inside its branches.

The bank's Albany, NY and Rochester, NY locations already offer Starbucks coffee inside. Indianapolis is expected to be the site of the next combined facilities.

Charter One plans to focus on the convenience of the new combined locations in its consumer PR efforts.

The bank is working with Cleveland-based Edward Howard & Co. to publicize its Starbucks partnership.

Charter One believes that by making Starbucks available to its customers, the public will be encouraged to do more banking in its branches.

"I want our customers to walk into an environment that has a good, healthy feel to it, one that gets them past the drudgery of doing banking tasks," said Mark Grossi, EVP, retail banking for the $44 billion company.

The joint locations are intended to look more like a Starbucks than a bank office.

"We're pushing their color scheme right up to our teller windows," said Grossi.

The bank, which has more than 500 branches in Ohio, Michigan, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, sees its partnership with Starbucks as creating a new brand image for the financial institution. "The location actually brands the company," Grossi said.

Charter One will also keep Starbucks-like hours, as its branches will stay open much longer than traditional banks.

"As a customer, I don't want to worry about adding banking to my list of things to do. At the end of the day, what I'd like is if someone has five places to go, Charter One is going to be extremely convenient to get to," Grossi said.

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