BANKING: Cadillacs for Free?

In the fierce fight for depositors' dollars, many banks have borrowed the tactics of the midway barker, luring customers with all kinds of promotional promises and "free" gifts. Though savings today are at record highs and loan demand almost stagnant, some bankers believe that consumers may soon begin a monumental buying—and borrowing —spree. To pile up cash reserves for this eventuality, banks are offering ever more opulent gifts to new depositors.

Dennis F. Voss, chairman of the eight-month-old First State Bank of Chicago, has added a new dimension to the flamboyant competition. His bank gives an air-conditioned Cadillac Calais, whose...

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