U.S. Bancorp’s Hispanic Account in Play

CHICAGO U.S. Bancorp, the seventh-largest bank in the United States by assets and deposits, has placed its Hispanic advertising and marketing account up for review, according to executives with the company.

The three-and-a-half-year incumbent, Los Angeles-based Enlace Communications, is not expected to defend.

The bank still is considering candidates and no final decision date has been set. One of the Minneapolis company’s general marketing agencies, Heinrich Marketing of Denver, is handling and contracting out Hispanic work on a project basis, according to Alice Perez, the company’s Hispanic market manager.

The company has also contacted agencies about general market project assignments [Adweek Online, April 30]. In addition to Heinrich, the company works with independent agency Freedman, Gibson & White in Cincinnati.

The account was worth an estimated $6 million a year when Enlace became the bank’s Hispanic agency. The account currently is valued at between $8 million and $10 million, according to sources close to the review.

As U.S. Bancorp’s footprint has spread across the country, the bank realized it needed a bigger agency to turn around translation and other work more, Perez said.

“We’re looking for an agency that can execute in addition to identify the market, and we don’t particularly want to be on a yearly contract,” she said. “Our preference is that they are not working with another financial institution.”

U.S. Bancorp’s decision to pay by project instead of retaining an agency of record for much of its Hispanic work encouraged Enlace to work for another financial account, according to CEO Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, who said her agency now handles Hispanic marketing for GMAC financial services.

U.S. Bancorp spent about $20 million on general market advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.