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Study Big banks risk losing big bucks--185B in deposits
WASHINGTON (11/14/11)--Bank Transfer Day had a positive impact on credit unions' membership but practically no impact on community banks, and an unestimated impact on the big banks, which are staying mum about accounts they lost as a result of consumers' dissatisfaction with high fees.

The Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) reported that community banks saw little of consumers' mass exodus from big banks on Bank Transfer Day Nov.5.  An unscientific quick poll ICBA conducted Nov. 7 among its members indicated that only 3% of community banks responding saw an increase in customers as a result of National Bank Transfer Day.  Seventy-five percent of those polled said they had not seen an increase, and another 22% said they didn't know. 

That contrasts  with a similar poll ICBA conducted on Oct. 17, when community bankers were asked if they had gained customers who have transferred from larger financial institutions out of frustration with their practices. In that poll, 57% said yes, 26% said now, and 7% didn't know.

The grassroots campaign that resulted in 700,000 new member accounts at credit unions since Sept. 29--the day it was revealed Bank of America planned to charge the now-rescinded $5 a month fee for debit card use--has sparked predictions about the implications for big banks.

The 10 largest retail banks are at risk of losing $185 billion of their deposits over the next year as customers move their accounts to more consumer friendly institutions, according to a survey of 5,600 bank customers conducted by Wilton, Conn.-based consulting firm cg42 and released Wednesday. That survey found that half of those polled are uncomfortable with how large some banks have grown; 71% said their banks do not have consumers' interests at heart; and 70% said they want to spread out their relationships among several banks (American Banker Nov. 9).

The survey, conducted in June, said the bank most vulnerable to consumers switching accounts was Bank of America and indicated that 10.3% of BofA customers could defect to other financial institutions during the next 12 months. The second most vulnerable bank to losing possibly losing customers was Citibank, followed by Wells Fargo, Capital One and JPMorgan Chase. The least vulnerable banks were PNC, SunTrust and U.S. Bank, the survey found.
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