Attracting Secondary Account Holders

By Mike Sells

Bank marketing professionals know primary account relationships are the key to long-term growth and profitability. Unless a customer considers your bank a primary bank, it is difficult to up-sell and cross-sell additional services that drive profitability. Furthermore, the single-service checking account customer is often regarded as a drag on profitability

But how often do those secondary account relationships become primary account relationships? In other words, can non-primary, or secondary accounts, be a viable avenue to gaining primary account market share? If so, what types of secondary accounts are most likely to lead to primary account relationships in the future?

To answer these questions, Bank Clarity, a division of the Sells Agency, surveyed more than 600 retail banking customers across the U.S. to see how prevalent secondary accounts are, what types of secondary accounts are most common and the influence those relationships have on primary bank selection.

Among the survey conclusions are:

  • Almost 2 out of 3 consumers (65%) have some type of account with a financial institution other than their primary financial institution—a s secondary account relationship.
  • 68% of those with a secondary account relationship have secondary accounts with more than one institution.
  • More than 1 in 4 bank customers (27%) had a secondary account relationship with their primary financial institution before it was their primary financial institution.
  • Almost 1 in 5 consumers (18%) have predecided they would switch to a bank where they have a secondary account.
  • Checking and savings are the most common types of secondary accounts and the most influential in determining a consumer’s next primary bank.
  • Credit card and consumer loan customers are more likely to become primary bank customers than home loan customers.


What does this mean?

This data shows the types of secondary accounts most likely to lead to a future primary account relationship are the types of accounts that might be considered, or mistaken for, primary relationship accounts. It also shows the inherent difficulty in converting home loans, credit cards and personal loans into primary account relationships.

Read the full report.

Mike Sells is the owner/CEO of the Sells Agency, Little Rock, Ark. The firm is a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations agency with an emphasis on bank and financial services marketing.