Monday, February 1, 2010

Alt-Banking Q.C. style

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 5:44 PM

There's a new bank in town, thumbing its nose at their old-school competition while climbing the success ladder. And, I bet you already know who they are. Well, I bet you are familiar with their commercials at least. ("Would you like a pony?")

Uptown Charlotte’s newest bank is raising its profile with the same bravado that made the Queen City a financial hub.

Online bank Ally is turning heads — and drawing fire — with a new checking account that competes with national lenders, a growing center city presence and a memorable ad campaign.

The bank, a subsidiary of GMAC Financial Services, isn’t wheeling and dealing its way to the top like Bank of America Corp. under Hugh McColl Jr.. But Charlotte’s bold banking influence is evident as Ally bills itself as a consumer-friendly alternative to traditional banking.

Ally recently unveiled its first checking product with an interest-earning account that offers customers no fees, no minimum balances, free online bill-pay and free use of any ATM nationwide. The new account also puts a fresh spin on overdraft fees, with a $9 daily charge for insufficient funds instead of a per-transaction charge as high as $35 at competitors.

“We’ve really done our research and listened to customers to develop a product that puts the customer first,” says Ally Chief Marketing Officer Sanjay Gupta, a former marketing executive at Charlotte-based BofA. “Our interest checking account is another significant step as we evolve a new business model that we hope encourages customers to expect more from their bank,” he says. “We’re developing our products with the philosophy that we are a financial partner with our customers, and we’re making money with them — not off them.”

Read more about what the bank's up to from The Charlotte Business Journal in an article by Adam O'Daniel.

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