Zions Bank said Monday that it plans to hire more bilingual employees at branches in diverse communities in Utah and Idaho.

The bank has also created six positions dedicated to grassroots sales of banking services to multicultural customers. The effort to target diverse communities began in 2004 and will continue through 2009, according to a statement from the bank.

The bank's multicultural commercial-loan portfolio, which includes Hispanic-owned businesses, grew more than 742 percent in 2007. Deposit growth for the same group increased 80 percent in the same time period, the bank said.

The bank has created advisory boards of business and civic leaders to provide feedback on how well it serves multicultural customers.