Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Cultivates Relationships with Bundled Projects

Magazine article American Banker

Fleet Cultivates Relationships with Bundled Projects

Article excerpt

Fleet Financial Group is trying to sell its small-business customers on the idea that good things come in packages.

With an eye toward securing customer relationships, Fleet is offering bundled products to its business clients and will expand its line this year.

"We can deepen our relationship with existing customers, have a better opportunity to retain those customers, and gain more profit opportunity from them," said Filomena Soyster, director of small-business banking at Fleet. "We have examples of customers opening six to 10 services at an account opening."

Fleet also is hoping that selling the bundle up-front will save the small-business owner precious time - and possibly aggravation, Ms. Soyster said. "You don't want the customer to come back four or five different times for products," she said.

The industry still has a way to go in offering bundled business accounts, according to a Payment Services Inc. survey Ms. Soyster cited in a speech to the Consumer Bankers Association's small-business banking conference last month. Only 28% of the 300 largest banks offered packages for small business in 1993, the survey found.

At banks that offer the service, only 16% of the business customers were buying, according to the survey.

Fleet began offering bundled products for small businesses a little over a year ago, Ms. Soyster said. Since then, about 15% of its 300,000 small-business customers - those with less than $5 million of sales - have acquired such accounts.

"We're still at the beginning," she said. …

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