All it took was a massive recession and a plummeting Dow to turn Americans into savers again. According to the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the fourth-quarter 2008 savings rate rose to its highest level — 2.9 percent — since 2002. It was also above 1 percent for three consecutive quarters for the first time in five years.

Don't think that banks' marketing teams aren't noticing. Large and small banks alike are rolling out new ad campaigns that hawk attractive rates and investment stability to newly converted savers. While banks have always marketed their certificates of deposit and high-interest checking accounts, analysts and consultants say these past ancillary ad efforts at deposit growth are turning into the centerpiece of bank branding as increasing liquidity challenges and margin pressures squeeze banks.

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