THE BLOG
03/22/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

First Wave of Checking Accounts Coming Online

A couple of weeks ago I "walked the talk" along with many other people about Moving My Money. I took a lunch hour to visit a couple of local community banks. I wanted to see how much trouble it would be to establish new accounts. At each bank took about 20 minutes to open a checking account. I left with a small introductory package and a deposit slip indicating a new account hold while they processed the paperwork.

Two weeks later and the infrastructure is arriving. Each bank has sent debit cards -- in this case VISA Debit Cards -- linked to the checking accounts. PIN numbers and online banking IDs and passwords are meandering in. The opening deposits have now cleared. Welcome letters greeting me as a new customer have appeared in my mailbox. Alas, no new toaster to brown my croissants. Well, you can't have everything.

What I was actually waiting to confirm was what I already knew. Most community banks contract with vendors that provide the consumer "convenience" services you'd expect from a bank. These services are part of a mature and stable support industry that does most of the under-the-hood stuff for the banking business. This means that -- in practical terms -- there's little, if any, loss in quality of service these days between a small and large bank. Everyone you meet is friendly -- or is supposed to be-- and that includes the consumer-facing personnel at the big banks.

Bottom line: They all know how important your "core deposits" are. What's even more important is that more of these "core deposits" have become mobile.