Too many banks act like puppets when it comes to pricing strategies, and too often a competitor is the puppet master.

For example, when a competitor raises its certificate of deposit rate or has a loan sale, most banks in that market feel compelled to do likewise. I have received many complaints from bank presidents who monitor the bank advertisements and agonize when competitors outdiscount them by a quarter- or even an eighth-of a percentage point. By matching a competitor's offer we allow ourselves to parrot the competitor's marketing strategy rather than chart our own course by giving our customers a different choice.

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