Magazine article American Banker

B of A Amasses Accounts with Mass-Affluent Push

Magazine article American Banker

B of A Amasses Accounts with Mass-Affluent Push

Article excerpt

Bank of America Corp. says it has gathered a wealth of assets by assembling teams of bankers and investment advisers to target the mass affluent.

Pat Phillips, the president of Bank of America's premier banking and investments division, said that working in teams has enabled the group to develop relationships with customers that have $100,000 to $3 million of investable assets, increase the assets these people invest with the bank, and help improve cross-selling to them.

"Typically these clients fall just below the radar of our private banking group," he said. "Frequently, their transactional service needs were being handled, but their more sophisticated needs were not, and we were vulnerable to losing these customers to other providers."

Since the Charlotte banking company increased its focus on this group, balances in the division's accounts -- including deposits, loans, and brokerage assets -- have grown from $98 billion, in 2002, to more than $250 billion as of this March 31.

"Investment growth has been phenomenally better," Mr. Phillips said, since the teams began to be formed in January 2004 to focus on the mass affluent. "We are demonstrating that we are meeting their needs, and they are giving us business that otherwise they wouldn't have given us," he said.

From Aug. 31 through Feb. 8, Bank of America has expanded its force of bankers and advisers for the mass affluent by 10%, to 4,000. It has five geographical divisions covering its national footprint. The company will continue to hire as it builds the business, he said.

"We will continue to grow significantly," he said. "We have hired externally and promoted internally, and we will continue to do that to grow this business."

Analysts said most private banks are so focused on ultra-wealthy customers -- those with more than $5 million of investable assets -- that clients with $1 million to $3 million to invest can be lost in the shuffle. …

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