Commerce Bank has done that-literally-with the Penny Arcade, a coin-counting machine that's become a marketing draw. "It's a fabulous way to differentiate us in the market. But it is also wonderful as a way to get customers into the store," says Ms. Verba, senior retail officer for the Cherry Hill, N.J., bank.
Commerce bills itself as "America's most convenient bank" by being open late and emphasizing services in its "stores." But it is the Penny Arcade that has cemented that reputation. It has its own mascot named Penny, who shows up at store openings and other events. The arcade also has its own coin collectors club, Penny's Coin Club. (Separately, Commerce Bank also runs ads starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus via Interpublic Group of Cos.' Tierney Communications, Philadelphia.)
The first machines, introduced shortly after Ms. Verba, 54, joined Commerce six years ago, were an instant hit. They're so popular that some branches need two to keep up with demand. She notes that, in July alone, Penny Arcade machines counted $27 million in change, a total of 284,000 transactions.
Even the Federal Reserve Bank has taken notice; the Fed came to Commerce once when the central bank was short on pennies to put into circulation.