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Banks trying to move from fees to profit

Alisa Roth Oct 19, 2010

Banks trying to move from fees to profit

Alisa Roth Oct 19, 2010


Kai Ryssdal: So as I said B of A lost $7.3 billion in the third quarter. Most of that came from a write-down on the value of its credit card unit. Banks just aren’t going to be able to make as much off consumer plastic in wake of the new financial regulations. So B of A says says it’s going to work on bringing in more retail business instead of charging big fees to existing customers.

We asked Marketplace’s Alisa Roth to explain how banks are going to make money in a post-overdraft-charge world.

Alisa Roth: There will still be overdraft charges. They just won’t be as lucrative as they used to be.

Aaron Fine works in the retail banking practice at Oliver Wyman, the consulting firm. He says post-financial regulation, there are a couple of ways banks can make up for the lost revenue.

Aaron Fine: They can convince customers to pay different kinds of fees, they can gather more relationships, or they can reduce the costs.

Banks are just starting to figure out what their new business models will look like. The trick is to find products and services that customers actually want. Retail banking isn’t about having lots of branches anymore.

Fine: I think one of the ideas that people are clearly exploring is what is convenience related to the new way that consumers access and spend their cash? A lot of that has to do with obviously electronic payments.

Banks are experimenting with letting customers make deposits from their cell phones, and offering online tools to help them manage their money better.

Jim Reichbach looks at financial institutions for Deloitte. He says the key is going to be all about building broader relationships, trying to convince us to have our checking and savings accounts, credit cards and mortgages all from one place.

Jim Reichbach: They’re going to be much more aggressive and reward customers for doing that full set of service. It’s by having a more holistic relationship with people like you and I and others where they’re providing all our services. So they know us better and they can offer better pricing for that bundled package.

He says that could mean that customers with a checking account get a better rate on a credit card or easier access to credit.

Bank of America says it’s started offering new products already: better rates to customers who do most of their banking online or at ATMs. And it’ll start testing more perks soon as it tries to reuild its customers’ trust and generate new business.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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