Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster who built a fortune from businesses affiliated with his ministry and ran for president in 1988, now wants to go into the banking business. Mr Robertson and the Bank of Scotland have applied for a charter to operate a new national bank in the United States that will have no branches but will instead deal with customers by telephone and mail, as the Bank of Scotland already does in Britain. The same model is used for dealing with donors to Mr Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network and his political arm, the Christian Coalition. The bank hoped to begin accepting deposits in three or four months and to issue credit cards and mortgages later, said Tom Smellie, a spokesman for the Bank of Scotland. He said the new bank had not been named but it would not include either Scotland or Mr Robertson's name in the title. Mr Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Coalition, would be a significant minority shareholder in the bank and would be chairman of its US holding company, said C.A. Volder, a spokesman for Robertson Financial Services, the unit that is investing in the new bank. Several banking experts said the arrangement could be successful if it tapped even a small part of the vast audience that regularly tuned into Mr Robertson's daily religious and news broadcast programme, The 700 Club. Mr Volder said the bank would not advertise on The 700 Club and that neither the programme's mailing list nor the Christian Coalition's would be used to solicit bank business. 'Of course, the fact that he is endorsing the product is important,' he said. 'And his co-host may say, 'Dr Robertson, I hear you are going into the banking business' and ask him about it.' In some ways, the bank, which was not expected to face major obstacles to regulatory approval, would be a natural extension of Mr Robertson's existing operations, analysts said. 'Essentially, he is a bank on the deposit side already,' said Seamus McMahon of First Manhattan Consulting Group. 'He is one of the biggest fund-raisers in the US between his religious, political and charitable interests. Although he will be going after the same people, he is trying to get a bigger share of their wallets. So today he may get US$50 or $150 as a gift, but he is looking to get $2,000 and $3,000 and $4,000 in deposits.' Eric Hartz, chief operating officer of Security First Network Bank, which operates over the Internet and has one office in Atlanta, said that not having brick and mortar was a great advantage. He said a big expense in operating a bank was simply getting the word out. 'If you are Citibank with its phenomenal branch network, you just drop brochures in all the branches to tell people how to reach you,' Mr Hartz said. 'Bank of Scotland can accomplish this by teaming with Robertson, who has a pretty strong following.'