Bank of America today announced that it will nearly double the number of Financial Solutions Advisors (FSAs) to more than 1,000 by the end of 2011 as part of its overall commitment to enhance the solutions and guidance it offers to Preferred customers. These FSAs will provide the financial solutions and guidance customers need to help them manage their banking and investment needs and stay in better control of their finances.
Preferred customers – those with investable assets of $50,000 to $250,000 – are among the fastest-growing segments in the financial services industry. Bank of America does business with more than 8 million Preferred customers and has unrivaled insight into their financial needs. According to the Merrill Edge Report, some of the top priorities for Preferred customers include wanting a better retirement than their parents (85 percent), having access to both banking and investing solutions (73 percent) and maintaining the ability to track and manage their money (72 percent).
“Preferred customers have a complex set of needs and concerns that go beyond what the standard retail bank can offer, but they don’t typically require a full-service financial advisor or a private banker,” said Dean Athanasia, Preferred and Small Business Banking executive at Bank of America. “Adding these skilled professionals lets us actively pursue this growth opportunity and positions us to offer what I believe are best-in-class banking and investment solutions, unmatched access and convenience and the availability of specialists when and where our customers prefer.”
Merrill Edge FSAs will be located in select banking centers nationwide, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Charlotte and Washington, D.C. They will also be available to offer phone-based guidance through the Merrill Edge Advisory Center.
“Our banking centers are a critical part of how Bank of America builds and deepens relationships, illustrated by the fact that they are where customers make two-thirds of their purchase decisions,” said Cary Grace, Preferred Sales executive at Bank of America. “By placing more Merrill Edge FSAs in banking centers throughout the country, we are better equipped to serve our Preferred customers. They have the benefit of personal attention from a specialist who can recommend solutions tailored to meet their specific financial needs.”
In support of its new Preferred service strategy, Bank of America is also working to enhance customer experience and satisfaction by:
- Introducing specialty stores that provide in-person access to investment, small business and mortgage specialists and use the latest technologies, such as video conferencing.
- Continuing to improve the Merrill Edge offering, including the introduction of a mobile application for iPad, iPhone and BlackBerry earlier this year, and the addition of 481 new no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds.
- Piloting Platinum Privileges, which rewards customers who maintain $50,000 or more in deposit balances with Bank of America or investment balances with Merrill Edge with higher levels of service and comprehensive benefits across their banking and investing needs.
- Hiring 1,000 small business bankers in local communities to provide small business customers with local specialists to address their complex financial needs. Together with the 1,000 FSAs, this will create a 2,000-plus person team dedicated to the more complex needs of Preferred and Small Business customers.
“We are rewarding our Preferred customers for their relationships with us,” added Athanasia. “For customers who bring us more of their business, we want to give them the full extent of what Bank of America and Merrill Lynch can offer, across pricing, products and service.”
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 58 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,800 retail banking offices and approximately 18,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Merrill Edge is the marketing name for two businesses: Merrill Edge Advisory Center, which offers team-based advice and guidance brokerage services; and a self-directed online investing platform. Both are made available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S).
MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation.
Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.
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Don Vecchiarello, Bank of America, 1.980.387.4899