Magazine article American Banker

1st Chicago Sets Premium Fees for Transactions Using Tellers

Magazine article American Banker

1st Chicago Sets Premium Fees for Transactions Using Tellers

Article excerpt

First National Bank of Chicago is introducing a checking service that goes to unusual extremes in steering customers away from branches.

Beginning next month, the First Chicago Corp. subsidiary will offer products with lower prices on automated teller machine and telephone transactions than on traditional teller visits. The bank hopes to free its human tellers for transactions that require special attention.

"The key to this whole thing is choice and control," said W. G. "Jerry" Jurgensen, executive vice president and head of the community banking group. "This is not an either-or proposition - branches or alternative delivery channels. The key is to be able to utilize each for their best intended purpose."

The new accounts come in four variations. All allow unlimited, free use of First Chicago ATMs. They also permit four to six free visits to branch tellers per month.

Beyond the teller minimums and six to eight "foreign" ATM transactions, customers will pay fees ranging from $1.50 at non-First Chicago ATMs to $3 for a teller transaction.

In further incentives to customers with at least $15,000 in total balances and $2,500 in checking, First Chicago will pay higher interest rates and waive fees for teller visits and ATM use anywhere in the world.

Les Dinkin, managing principal of NBW Consulting Group, Westport, Conn., said First Chicago wants customers to "stop using antiquated, expensive branches (and) give tellers more time to sell the bank's products."

Such price differentials have been tried elsewhere. …

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