Local banks capitalize on consumer outrage
Bank of America and other large national banks recently dropped their plans to add a debit-card usage surcharge to most checking accounts.
But based on the flood of new customers to local lending institutions, the damage is already done. In fact, these smaller players wish such missteps by their larger brethren would happen more often.
“This has been interesting to watch because we’ve seen significant increases not only in calls asking us about our fees, and if they’re going to change, but also in new account openings,” says Joanne Jackson, executive vice president and manager of client services at Pinnacle Financial Partners, which opened in downtown Nashville in October 2000. It has now has more than $4.83 billion in assets, as well as 31 Middle Tennessee offices and three Knoxville branches.
“We have seen a drastic uptick in everything since the major regional banks began talking about their fee-structure changes,” she adds.
Specifically, Pinnacle had a 73 percent jump in new accounts from August to September, or more than 1,000 new checking account customers, Jackson says. Much of that new market share was cemented by Pinnacle’s promise not to reel in new customers, and then hit them with similar fees, Jackson says.