CIT Group's digital bank adds checking

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CIT Group has added a checking account to its digital bank in a bid to attract and retain more customers.

Its eChecking product went live on the CIT website and mobile apps Friday, a spokeswoman for the New York company said. CIT declined to say how much it spent to develop the new product.

Previously, the $51 billion-asset CIT's digital bank had only offered savings accounts and certificates of deposit. By adding checking, the company is meeting the needs of consumers who had told them they want more online services, said Ravi Kumar, head of CIT’s digital bank.

“The launch of eChecking allows us to evolve from being a primarily savings-focused institution to a full-service digital bank,” Kumar said in an emailed statement.

EChecking customers will not be charged monthly fees and will be reimbursed up to $15 in ATM fees each month, according to CIT. The account is interest-bearing, too. As of Friday, it paid 0.25% on balances of at least $25,000 and 0.1% on balances below $25,000.

The product rollout is unrelated to CIT’s pending acquisition of the $8.5 billion-asset Mutual of Omaha Bank, Kumar said. Mutual of Omaha is primarily an online bank, although it has about two dozen branches. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Bigger banks have been opening digital platforms in recent years.

Wells Fargo operates a separately branded digital bank called Greenhouse. MUFG Union Bank has an online bank called PurePoint Financial, and Citizens Financial Group operates Citizens Access.

Not all of the experiments have gone smoothly. JPMorgan Chase shut down its stand-alone mobile bank, branded Finn, in June, less than a year after it launched. JPMorgan transitioned Finn customers to its namesake digital bank.

CIT also faces competition from online-only players, including Ally Financial, Chime and the German bank N26, which entered the U.S. in July.

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