Independent Agents Form Loan Alliance with Eastern Bank

January 24, 2002

In a move that reverses the “bancassurance” model Independent Insurance Agents in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island can now offer customers an array of automobile, home improvement and other consumer loans from Boston-based Eastern Bank.

Through the Independent Advantage(R) Loan Program, developed by Independent Financial Services, Inc. of Westerly, RI, member insurance agencies can download consumer loan applications over the Internet for submission to Eastern Bank. Along with auto and home improvement loans, member agencies can offer their customers personal installment, boat and recreational vehicle loans. The agreement extends Eastern’s consumer lending reach to include customers of independent insurance agents.

Usually it’s the banks that are offering insurance to their customers, but this program gives the agents the opportunity to offer their clients the services of a bank. Eastern Bank Sr.VP Ken Dyment stated that, “We’re excited about this new venture. This agreement opens our loan products to customers that would have been difficult to reach.”

The arrangement also offers the independent agent the ability to broaden the scope of their services to their clients. Matthew L. Herriott VP at Independent Financial Services, noted that his company’s commitment would further strengthen the independent insurance agency system.

Eastern Bank’s decision to work side-by-side with independent insurance agents will help build the agents’ presence as a new trusted source for access to competitive consumer loans, said the announcement.

“The ability to broaden an insurance agency’s portfolio from asset protection to financial services through loan products was made possible by the Web technology developed by Independent Financial Services,” it continued.”The ‘Online Loan Center’ is simple to use. If an agency is Internet-enabled, it has access to a selection of Eastern’s consumer loan products.”

“We want to give the insurance agents’ clients easy access to a wide array of loan products, while doing business with someone they know – their independent insurance agent,” Herriott concluded.

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