Banks drive customers away

Police officers stand guard as Occupy LA protesters stop to demonstrate at a Bank of America during what is being called Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Jeremy Hobson:Well bank earnings season kicked off this morning, with the latest quarterly results from JP Morgan Chase. The bank said the European debt crisis meant less corporate deals which sent profits down about 25 percent from the same period a year earlier. And banks like Chase are having a harder time squeezing more money out of us consumers to make up revenue.

In fact, as Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports, all the fees have driven some consumers away from banks altogether.


Jeff Tyler: Many of the working poor don’t use banks because the fees make the services too expensive. Now, new fees could drive existing customers away from banks. Kimberly Gartner is with the nonprofit Center for Financial Services Innovation.

Kimberly Gartner: We’re seeing banks exploring different fees on some of their checking account products or deposit account products. And some consumers, as a result of that, are choosing to go elsewhere for their services.

But some banks are starting to see the benefit of  keeping and attracting low-income consumers.

Carl Carande is with KPMG. It advises banks about the potential profits from services like check-cashing and pre-paid debit cards.

Carl Carande: With some of the advances in the supporting technologies, banks can provide these at more competitive pricing than they had in the past.

The un-banked represent a big market. KPMG estimates they number around 33 million people in the U.S., with almost half a trillion dollars in earnings.

I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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