The new IRAs created by recent tax law changes provide a major opportunity for banks, but many seem to be ignoring it. There is a lot of emphasis on creating a sales culture in the branch, and encouraging tellers and platform personnel to sell the obvious. The obvious is now the IRA.

The Individual Retirement Account is one of the most convenience-driven bank products: About 80% of all IRA sales occur between March 15 and April 15. Though it is lumped into the investment product category and considered a product where portfolio considerations or rate might dominate choice, it sells much more like a noninterest checking account. Because the IRA is an eleventh-hour purchase, convenience, not financial terms, drives its sale.

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