September 26, 2012
Earlier this week, an article from Atlantic Wire decried the fact that "free" checking accounts are getting harder to come by. What jumped out at me though, was this:
It's not like people aren't upset either, as Bankrate notes that 72 percent of people surveyed would change lenders if their fees were upped ... until they realize how annoying it is to changing [sic] your direct deposit, automatic bill payments, ordering new checks, or getting a hold of an actual living person working at a bank.
As I read that, I couldn't help but think of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) and its designs on broadening and deepening its relationships with customers. Here's what CEO Brian Moynihan told The Boston Globe at the end of last year:
We need [retail customers] to consolidate their relationship with us. If they have part of their relationship with us and part of their relationship somewhere else, that's the difficult thing. Our job is to get the whole relationship.
The B of A circa 2007 to 2009 did a lot of stupid things. With Brian Moynihan at the helm, it appears that the tide may be reversing and that the bank could be headed toward becoming a better, healthier institution -- perhaps something that resembles the bank that it was before the disastrous Countrywide acquisition.
The idea that B of A is focusing in on retail customer relationships and trying to make them broader and stickier may seem like a small matter, but it's a big deal when we think about it as indicative of strategic priorities. In the years leading up to and during the financial crisis, the priority was clearly on simply becoming a bigger bank. Today, however, management appears to have its sights set on becoming a better bank.
Does this make Bank of America a great stock to buy? Not by itself. But there are other reasons to consider B of A for your portfolio. To get the full picture, be sure to check out The Fool's special report focused on B of A. Click here to learn more.