As banking companies broaden their financial services menus, many are grappling with the best way to present consolidated customer statements.
The problem is not exclusive to large institutions. Small and midsize banks that have expanded into brokerage and asset management are fielding customers' requests for monthly statements that show their savings, checking, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and brokerage accounts.
"Bundled information is becoming the way to go for more and more financial institutions," said Steven Turowski, senior vice president of PFPC, the asset servicing arm of PNC Bank Corp.
Those with the capabilities include FleetBoston Financial Corp., which links deposit statements with its Quick & Reilly discount brokerage firm.
From the brokerage side, the statements include customers' holdings in securities such as mutual funds, purchases and sales during the month, and the value of the portfolio. From the banking side, the statement includes checking, savings, certificates of deposit, and some loan products.
FleetBoston offers on-line banking customers consolidated statements, a spokesman said.
Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. also offer on-line consolidated statements, with their sites featuring savings account information and a rundown of investment product holdings, according to spokeswomen at both companies.
First Union Corp. offers its asset management account customers, or CAP account holders, a statement that combines banking and brokerage, a bank spokeswoman said.
First Union's consolidated statement goes beyond a simple report of account activity to include pie charts showing the allocation of assets in different fund accounts and bar charts that track month-to-month changes. To offer a more customized service, investors can receive the information in detail on a statement that runs several pages or as a one-page summary. The CAP account also offers a rundown of more mainstream banking services and products, such as deposit account balances.
"Those companies offering specialized reports see it as giving them a leg up on their competition," said Louis Harvey, president of Dalbar Inc. in Boston.
The initial motivation behind consolidated statements was to cut reporting costs for banking companies. The aim was to reduce printing and postage while offering customers a comprehensive report of their banking activity, Mr. Harvey said.
Banks are following in the footsteps of the large brokerages that set the pace a couple of years ago.
Merrill Lynch & Co. launched the CMA Account, which lets customers know what they have outstanding on their credit card, as well as what investments they have and how they are performing, a spokesman said.
Some large banks are still in the development stage of offering consolidated statements. The group includes institutions that have bought brokerages and are still meshing systems.
U.S. Bancorp, which bought Piper Jaffray Inc. about 18 months ago, was working late last year on linking banking statements with brokerage accounts.
For the most part, smaller banks are not offering linked statements, but executives say this is a route they want to go.
"We certainly would like to offer it," said Peter R. Bauer, chief executive of the brokerage arm of Compass Bancshares of Birmingham, Ala. "It will sharpen our presentation to customers."
Compass is talking with its clearing firm about developing consolidated reports, Mr. Bauer said. "We know that down the road we need to be doing this kind of thing for competitive reasons."
Some banks are already looking to the next generation of statements, with even more information available to customers. Analysts say the time is not far off when the performance of retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, will be noted in consolidated statements.
"People are looking in that direction but are not there yet," Mr. Harvey said.