Chase Casts Spotlight On Local Firms

June 12, 2006
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GRAND  RAPIDS — Chase is featuring two West Michigan icons — Bissell Homecare Inc. and Howard Miller —  in a series of print ads circulating in newspapers and business publications throughout Michigan

Both companies have a 25-year relationship with the former Bank One, now Chase. The ads promote Chase's commercial banking services and illustrate how Chase and its forerunners have supported the growth of the two well-known West Michigan companies over time.

The campaign is a nationwide effort that Chase began rolling out 18 months ago to coincide with the timing of the bank's name change from Bank One to Chase, said Amy Munson, a senior marketing manager with Chase's commercial bank marketing group.

In Michigan, the switch began last month among the 260 branches Chase operates statewide. Munson said the ads, which showcase Bissell and Howard Miller products, will run through the end of the year. She said the real business reason behind running the ads is to show continued commitment in the markets that Bank One served.

"Although our name is changing, our focus on our clients is always a constant," Munson said. "We are completely committed to the local communities regardless of the name change. We're just trying to reiterate our commitment to the local market and showcase our strong relationship-building, as we do with these two longstanding clients."

Dick Haslinger, president of Chase's West Michigan region, said some of the financial products that Bissell and Howard Miller use have been enhanced by the merger of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank One Corp. Chase operates in 51 countries. In the United States, it has more than 2,600 bank branches and 280 mortgage offices.

Haslinger said being a global company helps the bank better serve business clients that sell or source products around the world.

"We're huge in foreign exchange and interest rate management, which are increasingly used by global companies," he said. "We have increased pension guidance and investment through Chase's investment expertise, which has been a big plus in the merger. We can now raise capital in many different forms for companies to support their growth."

Why showcase Bissell and Howard Miller in the ad series?

"They are family-owned businesses, which is the core of our middle market business," Haslinger explained. "They are global companies, and they have quality products. We could have featured many of our clients in this campaign. As we winnowed it down, I think one of the key differentiators was that their products were well known to the broadest section of the Michigan population."

The longevity of both companies — Bissell was founded in 1876 and Howard Miller in 1926 — also ties in with the Chase heritage, which goes back to 1799, Haslinger said. They are companies that have stood the test of time, he said.

Some of the bank's relationships with area companies actually date back to its predecessor in Grand Rapids, Union Bank, noted Mary Kay Bean, Chase vice president of media relations.

"You could say they have actually grown with us; as they have grown and changed, we have grown and changed also, and our changes have helped support the changes that their companies have experienced," Bean said.    

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