Usually, the place a bank makes loans is in a little glass office at a branch, but Thursday, TD Bank tried a different tactic and sent more than 70 managers to visit more than 300 Long Island small businesses.
"It's a market segment that we're targeting aggressively," said Ed Blaskey, TD's market president for suburban New York. "We're out there willing to lend money."
So are other banks and lenders, of course. Long Island-based banks, as a group, continue to increase business lending, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. statistics.
But nationally and statewide, bank lending continues to be restricted, as banks cope with a flood of existing bad loans.
TD, which has more than 1,100 branches on the East Coast and $148 billion in assets, has been relatively unencumbered by bad loans, however.
Blaskey said Thursday's blitz was less of a sales effort than one aimed at building or nurturing relationships. Although the bank was hoping to make loans, Blaskey said TD also sought to gain deposits and foster long-term relationships with potential customers at its 44 Long Island branches.
"They're very easy to work with," associate broker Jeannemarie Padgur said. Her mother, Geralyn Bozza, owns the business. "They take care of things immediately," Padgur said.
Still, when a TD manager stopped by Thursday, Padgur said they took the opportunity to discuss renewing their line of credit and showed the manager the newer of their two offices in Amityville.
The time was right to reach out to businesses, Blaskey said. Managers called some businesses in advance to set up appointments, but other visits were cold calls, he added.
"The general feeling is that there's not a concerted effort in that market," Blaskey said.