As part of its competitive product research, Financial Shop Solutions has begun researching these simple account guides to give financial institutions a complete picture of the competitive landscape for checking accounts. The latest research reveals that these abbreviated or simple account guides are part of a growing trend among larger banks to drive consumers toward self-service sales via the web. The same research reveals that these same institutions are putting more emphasis on online and telephone customer support and less emphasis on in-person financial consulting services in the branches. In fact, many of the branch representatives interviewed were unclear or unfamiliar with the fees and terms for checking accounts their institutions offered online.
"We are seeing a growing trend where banks are looking to cut overhead by bringing in new business through their web sites," said Mary Morgan, founder and President of Financial Shop Solutions. "The result is that account disclosures are being used as sales collateral designed to attract new business rather than inform customers. Consumers are not getting the full story about deposit products from these so-called account guides, and banks are not arming their branch representatives with sufficient information to be of help."
Financial Shop Solutions' competitive research reports are designed to give financial institutions a consumer's perspective on the banking experience. Based on the latest findings, some experts believe that the erosion of personalized service coupled with less-than-complete information about account fees and penalties will fuel consumer dissatisfaction and drive customers to institutions that offer better, more personalized service. The online self-service model also limits the banks' ability to advise consumers about their finances, and cross-sell and upsell customers through face-to-face interaction.
Those banks that do a better job of fee disclosure offer specific details in their simple account guides, including:
- Monthly account fees and how to waive them;
- ATM usage fees;
- Miscellaneous service fees;
- Overdraft policy;
- The order in which daily transactions are posted;
- Terms for funds availability;
- Where to get more information about checking account rules and regulations.
According to Financial Shop Solutions' Project Coordinator, Larisa Klein, financial institutions are finding it more difficult to get accurate insights about competitors on their own using only these account guides, making it more difficult to better serve their customers. That's why Financial Shop Solutions has expanded its consumer fee and deposit reports to provide all relevant product information, as well detailing non-fee-related mystery shopping findings in order to deliver a more complete portrait of the consumer's buying experience.
About Financial Shop Solutions
Financial Shop Solutions provides competitive market research company to the financial services industry. The company conducts market studies and applies extensive industry knowledge to provide trend analyses and competitive research on deposit products, mortgage products, payroll services, cash management services, wealth management, and other financial products. We work closely with our clients to deliver the most timely and accurate market data customized to meet their informational needs. Our research and mystery shopping methodology ensure unbiased, current, and accurate competitive pricing and analysis.
For more information, visit http://www.financialshopsolutions.com or call (877) 578-7467.
Financial Shop Solutions
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