Citicorp and Chase Manhattan Corp. have begun to market accounts aimed at upscale retail customers that compete directly with the investment management accounts offered by brokerage firms.
Citibank N.A. is doing a nationwide rollout this month and next of its product, CitiGold. Marketed in New York since the spring, it is designed for customers with at least $100,000 in Citi accounts.
"This is a very dynamic account, aimed at financially active people," said Deborah H. Peniston, a Citibank vice president.
Chase weighed in last week with a similar product, called Chase Premier Account, a banking and investment account requiring at least $25,000 in Chase relationships.
"The account is a vehicle for customers to use the investment services," said Chase vice president Betsy Werley. "It packages banking and investment services together neatly."
Citi and Chase are the first big commercial banks to offer such an account in New York. Ms. Werley estimated that 98% of the targeted market currently does its business with a brokerage firm.
Market Void of Banks
"This is a market that is under-served by banks," said Los Dinkins, a banking consultant with NBW Consulting Group, Westport, Conn.
Citi has outfitted two New York branches with CitiGold centers, featuring private offices and plush upholstery.
Customers can talk with their "relationship manager" in person or on the telephone about buying and selling securities, taking out a loan or a mortgage, and investing in an IRA.
Citi began advertising CitiGold in national publications late last month, and plans to set up CitiGold centers inside some 60 branches nationwide.
Ms. Peniston declined to say how many CitiGold account holders the bank has, but said the goal is for 5% to 10% of all Citibank retail customers in the region to be CitiGold accountholders within three to five years.
Customers of both banks get their own account manager, but Chase assigns a manager for banking services, and a separate manager for investment services.