I read an article in Crain’s today about Chase Bank’s decision to stop counting coins for existing customers. As you might expect there were many comments about the death of customer service. Others talked about how only big money matters. Neither viewpoint is really on the mark.
Big banks do actually care about small accounts. Remember when they were toying with monthly debit card fees? There was a huge backlash. It was followed by a big about face and I haven’t heard about it since. Somewhere there is a high level retail manager who thinks he can get away with removing coin counting machines. He may be right or he may get thrashed. Time will tell.
Branch traffic is way down at every Chicago bank I know of. I’m not defending Chase. But so many things you used to go in for can be taken care of remotely now. I think there’s going to be continued downsizing of branches, both in square footage and available services.
If all the existing players push it too far without turning back some guy in the industry will probably see opportunity. He’ll open up his own bank and say, “bring your accounts over here! I’ll give you service!” Maybe this lasts fifteen years until he gets fat and happy. Then he’ll start neglecting his customers, or he’ll sell out to a company that will. Then someone else will see opportunity.
It sounds kind of silly. But that’s human nature, and in my experience it is rare to see someone rise above it.
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