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Get a loan while getting groceries

Wells Fargo to open in-store branches

Remember to pick up some bread, some fruit, a carton of milk and a steak.And open a checking account while you're at it.

Local United Grocers-affiliated stores will join the growing number ofgrocery stores offering in-store banking. The company announced Tuesdayit had endorsed Wells Fargo Bank to its member stores.

It's just another service that consumers expect, said PaulaAnctil, corporate vice president and operations manager for Oregon UnitedGrocers. It's just another thing that you have to offer for today'sdemanding consumers.

Ray's Food Places in Central Point and Phoenix and Foodland in WhiteCity will open in-store Wells Fargo branches before the summer ends, saidJohn Getz, a Wells Fargo vice president in charge of Northwest in-storebanks.

Wells Fargo also has agreements with Safeway stores, and should opena branch in the east Medford Safeway this summer, he said.

The in-store branches will offer most banking services available at traditionalbank branches, said Wells Fargo spokesman Tom Unger.

Customers will be able to open checking and savings accounts, apply forloans, deposit and withdraw money and make investments.

Unlike traditional banks, in-store banks will be open every day exceptthe Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

(In-store banking) knocks away a lot of the drawbacks a bank couldhave, Getz said. They're designed to do just about anythinga consumer could want to do.

United Grocers chose Wells Fargo because of that bank's flexibility,Anctil said. United Grocers stores range from 5,000-square-foot neighborhoodstores to 60,000-square-foot mega-stores, she explained. The organizationneeded a bank that could serve both extremes.

United Grocers is an umbrella organization made up of independent stores.The company makes recommendations to its member stores, but doesn't controlthem.

All grocery stores are finding they need to offer in-store banking toremain competitive, Anctil said. United Grocers stores probably won't increasetheir revenue through in-store banks, she said. I think it's a questionof not losing existing sales, rather than gaining sales, she said.