The turbulent stock market is breathing new life into two of banking's most mundane products-the money market mutual fund and the certificate of deposit.
These two banking mainstays are soaking up some of the cash that until recently was flowing into sexier stock mutual funds. And experts say they are likely to gain even more assets if the stock market's drop hits the 10% mark.
"If the market is down 10% and we are approaching one year and it's still fiddling around, I might put one-third of my portfolios into money market funds," said Tom Grzymala, a financial planner in Alexandria, Va. Indeed, assets in money market mutual funds are poised to hit $1 trillion sometime next month. That's good news for banks, which are among the largest managers of the funds.
Some banks have already seen new inflows into their money market funds. Investors at Mellon Bank Corp.'s Dreyfus unit began shifting assets out of stock funds and into money market funds last week, said a company spokeswoman. Bank of Boston Corp. has also witnessed a boost in money market fund sales, said Allen W. Croessman, director of retail marketing and investments.
The bank's customers view the funds as a place to park their cash while they wait out the stock market storm, he said.
Money invested through a pension plan or 401(k) retirement plan is just as likely to move into money market funds as other investments, another financial planner said.
"People will look at their statements, and say,'That's our whole future, we've been saving for years, we have to stop this, we have to get out.' Just because it's in a retirement plan doesn't mean they can't change it," said Harold Evensky, a financial planner in Coral Gables, Fla.
Sales of federally insured CDs are also up, bankers report. At BankAmerica Corp., San Francisco, 10,000 platform salespeople have started to push deposit products to worried investors, a spokesman said. One option the sales force is touting is a one year CD with a 5.44% yield.