Ally Bank rolls out new tools to help customers boost savings

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Ally Financial has rolled out a number of new tools aimed at encouraging customers to become better savers.

One feature lets account holders set up recurring transfers a checking to a savings account. Another, called “surprise savings," analyzes the spending patterns and upcoming bill payments from a linked checking account and will automatically transfer to savings amounts under $100 that is determined to be safe to save. A third, called "buckets," is designed to help customers to save for a specific thing, such as a vacation or an engagement ring.

The $180.6 billion-asset, online-only bank debuted the new services after spending the past 18 months polling existing and potential customers about how the bank could help them reach savings goals faster and with less effort.

"We've all seen the statistics about how many Americans, if hit with a crisis, couldn't come up with $400," Diane Morais, president of consumer and commercial banking products at Ally Bank, said in a news release. "People know they need to save but they need real help.”

Anand Talwar, Ally’s executive of deposits and consumer strategy, said that automatic transfers are crucial to helping checking account customers to set aside more money for savings.

"Early testing with real Ally customers shows that using just one of the boosters can accelerate savings by more than five times than interest rate alone," Talwar said in the release. "The ease of saving helps cement a new habit, and the feeling of success and momentum that comes from watching your money grow creates a snowball effect that keeps people going."

The new features should also help Ally accelerate deposit growth. The Detroit-based bank reported total deposits of $103.7 billion at Dec. 31, up 16.7% from a year earlier.

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