Customers Come First at Huntington Bank
With the mega-banks throwing their free checking customers under the bus, and several other banks joining in, it’s always refreshing to discover a large bank that refuses to place fee income ahead of the needs of its customers.
Needless to say, I was excited upon learning that senior management at Huntington Bank recently made the very wise decision to not only keep its free checking account but also to simplify its checking product menu.
Prior to the change on April 17, the bank offered customers a choice of seven different checking accounts – one of which was Huntington Free Checking. The bank’s new, simplified checking menu consists of two checking accounts:
- Asterisk-Free Checking
- Huntington Plus Checking
Good news for existing checking customers is that they’ll get to keep their current checking account should they wish to do so. The new, simplified checking menu applies to new checking customers only.
Having been in bank marketing for well over 30 years, I’ve always been a proponent of a simplified checking account menu like the one offered by Huntington Bank. The problem with too many checking choices is that most of them have significant overlap – making it tough to determine which account is actually best for any given customer.
Another issue with too many choices is that at some point in the decision-making process, the customer worries more about the consequences of making the wrong choice rather than the right choice. This is one of the paradoxes of choice described in the book by Professor Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.
Training branch employees is much easier when you have only two checking accounts and it makes their jobs easier when explaining checking account options to prospective customers.
By visiting the Huntington Bank website checking account comparison page here, you’ll quickly discover what I mean. You either want a free checking account – which is the majority of consumers – or you want to earn interest on your balances and have sufficient balances to avoid the monthly service fee. End of story. All the assorted bells and whistles banks and credit unions attach to checking accounts is merely a distraction during the sales process.
Huntington Bank serves as a beacon of light in the darkness of checking account proliferation. Management should be proud of the courageous stand taken by retaining, and improving, free checking while simplifying the bank’s checking product menu.
By the way, those of you unfamiliar with Ohio-based Huntington Bank, it began offering banking products and services over 140 years ago and currently has more than 600 branches in six states.