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Bank of America’s Secret Weapon

Amanda Alix
November 7, 2012

Apparently, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) is much more than its customer service faux pas.

The bank felt some heat over its aborted $5 monthly debit card fee and its recent untenable requirements -- since reversed -- for customers in Sandy's path to receive fee waivers. However, in a recent report issued by research and consulting firm Celent, the bank has received top scores for new customer assistance at branch locations, as well as for being well-versed in the nuances of mobile banking.

In fact, B of A did so well it earned the firm's XCelent Service Award – not bad, considering that 11 other banks were involved in the study. Could this be part of the grand plan to boost Bank of America's bottom line?

Bank of America bests other big and regional banks
The research firm sent undercover employees into the branch locations of several big banks to open bank accounts, much as a new customer would, and gauged the bank's handling of new accounts. The researchers found that B of A has the most extensive new-customer orientation, reviewing items such as savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and investment products. These reviews were not cursory, either. Celent found that the bank's personnel went into detail about each of these services, even demonstrating how to use debit cards at one of the bank's ATM machines.

B of A got high marks for promoting mobile banking at its branches, as well. This is not surprising, since the bank has long been a frontrunner in this respect. This past summer, the bank released spanking-new mobile banking apps for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. This last bit is noteworthy, since many banks don't include tablets in their mobile applications -- and this type of banking is becoming