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Back-On-Feet Bank Seeks Overdraft User for Fun, Fees, Maybe LTR

Adam Rust's picture

Posted July 29, 2010

Banks only have two more weeks to get their existing customers to opt-in for overdraft protection.

I couldn't believe it at first, but its true: banks are spending their time and money trying to understand the psychological makeup of the typical overdraft user.  One consultant says that it is all about helping the customer to make a "Good NSF Decision." I will let you guess how they define "good." The hunt is on. Now.

During the NSF-Hunt, a smart banker seeks first to understand. This is what the consultants are for, of course.  The rules don't prohibit overdrafts. They just make it a requirement that a consumer gives his or her consent for an overdraft service first.

Still, there's not a lot of time. If in two weeks, the banks have not found a way to get a consumer to opt-in, then that fee stream will be gone.

It is all about the right "relationship."You've heard that term. It is often the come on for a heavy package of wealth management services, or for private banking.

"The relationship banker is the person who is going to fulfill his or her professional mission by putting himself or herself at the disposal of a decision maker. You're not building your career on their back, they're building their industrial purpose on your back." (Fortune Magazine)

That's nice. But there are so many people out there, and so little time before August 15th. Moreover, the consumer that knowingly opts-in for overdraft is not typical.

She wanted a relationship with her bank. They said, "opt-in for overdraft." She said, "if that will make you happy."                                                      Now she wishes it had been different.

They're looking for a different type of person. They are seeking to find the co-dependent customer, ideally for a long-term relationship.

To help those bankers with on their NSF hunting, they are seeking help.

The Wall Street Journal has a feature on one of those consultants - David Peterson. Peterson wants the bankers to understand things.

What does a person feel when they get an overdraft? According to Peterson, it is a


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