Small business owners have had their say, and now Wachovia Corp. is responding to their suggestions.
After hearing what its customers wanted and did not like about its current product mix, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based bank has introduced a new account targeting companies with less than $10 million of annual sales.
Called Business Choice, the account is a package of products and services for small companies. Account holders can choose from a basic package of products and services and add others for additional charges.
Mike Ryan, a senior vice president and manager of Wachovia's business banking unit, said the account was developed after it became clear customers felt the bank did not reward loyalty.
"Our customers didn't feel they got any value for doing all their business with the bank," Mr. Ryan said.
Similar in structure to a flexible benefits plan, the account gives customers a certain number of points, which they then use to "purchase" products and services.
For example, Mr. Ryan said the basic package gives the customer at least two checking accounts with a maximum of 250 transactions a month. The package also includes an automated line of credit, a foreign exchange service, and an account information service which allows customers to get account balances by fax or phone. Customers can also choose a merchant MasterCard and will receive a monthly newsletter.
Other basic services include night deposits, account reconciliation, and personal computer-based direct deposit of paychecks. Finally, account holders can also choose to open a Wachovia Financial Management Account.
Customers may purchase additional products and services by paying fees or by retaining higher balances.
"It's basically an umbrella package that includes a basic bundle and gives price breaks on other services," Mr. Ryan said. "We've just rolled it out, but our initial response has been very good."