October 09, 2012|By Spencer Soper, Of The Morning Call
Beverly Cruche has assorted accounts at Embassy Bank, area she enjoys the affable annual and the low fees that she says differentiates it from added banks. The Allentown citizen said she refers accompany and ancestors there, and she’s been a chump for 10 years.
“They’re personable,” Cruche said in the antechamber of an Allentown annex on Tilghman Street. “They apperceive me.”
She’s not the alone one blessed with Embassy. The small, association coffer saw deposits arise about 25 percent over the accomplished year, a time back the all-embracing Lehigh Valley cyberbanking bazaar was flat, according to new abstracts appear by the Federal Drop Insurance Corp.
Rising fees at abounding banks accept encouraged barter to boutique around. Embassy Bank’s action of “Free Blockage for Life” with no minimum antithesis claim is bringing in new business and the baby association coffer continues to ascend the ranks of the Valley’s top banking institutions.
With deposits accretion $535.9 actor in Lehigh and Northampton counties as of June 30, up added than $100 actor from the aforementioned date a year earlier, Embassy Coffer is now the seventh-largest coffer in the Lehigh Valley. It was No. 8 aftermost year.
“A lot of bodies are arcade about for banks because of the fees, some of which are substantial,” said Dave Lobach, CEO of Embassy Bank, which has address in Hanover Township, Northampton County, and seven branches in the Valley.
Monthly blockage annual fees averaged $12.08 nationally in the average of this year, up from $11.28 at the end of 2011, according to a analysis by MoneyRates.com, which advance coffer fees and rates. Baby banks and acclaim unions had lower fees than ample banks with deposits of added than $25 billion, according to the survey.
Many banks accept angry to fees to atone for blah accommodation advance and low absorption rates. But the convenance can backfire, as abstruse by Coffer of America. The aggregation aftermost year appear it would appoint a $5 account fee for barter application debit cards, but backed off the move afterward a customer backlash.
Aside from Embassy Bank’s accelerated growth, the Lehigh Valley coffer bazaar was almost flat.
Overall deposits at 26 banks in the Valley totaled $11.4 billion as of June 30, bottomward a atom of a percent from the antecedent year. It was the additional beeline year coffer deposits in the Valley dropped, an adumbration bodies accept beneath to save or accept confused their money to added investments such as the banal market.
Wells Fargo charcoal by far the Valley’s ascendant bank, with deposits of $3.1 billion apery 27.3 percent of the market. KNBT ancestor National Penn Bancshares is a abroad No. 2 with $1.6 billion in deposits apery 13.8 percent of the market. Lafayette Ambassador, which is endemic by Fulton Banking in Lancaster, remained the No. 3 coffer with $1.1 billion in bounded deposits, which represent 9.4 percent of the market.
The better also-ran in the Lehigh Valley coffer bazaar was First Niagara Bank. The Buffalo, N.Y., aggregation entered the Valley bazaar with its 2010 accretion of East Penn Coffer ancestor Harleysville National Corp., and has been accident arena locally since. The bank’s bounded deposits in 2012 were $390.4 million, bottomward 12.7 percent from a year earlier. It slid two positions to the No. 9 bank, abaft TD Bank, allotment of a Canadian coffer aggregation that avant-garde a atom to No. 8.
Embassy Bank’s customer-centric business archetypal is on abounding affectation at its seven Valley branches. There are no counters. Coffer barter sit at a board with a teller for alike the best accepted transactions. Cable account plays on a flat-screen TV on the wall. Beneath it is a pot of hot coffee and a tray of cookies.
Christine Pierce, who manages Embassy’s Allentown annex on Tilghman Street, said 26 new barter opened accounts aftermost ages at her branch. Abounding of them were referred by added customers, she said, and they were attractive to abstain coffer fees answerable by competitors.
“New barter allocution a lot about fees,” she said.
Since abounding bodies accept absolute drop and automated bill advantageous accustomed with their blockage accounts, switching accounts can be a hassle. But Embassy offers abetment with the alteration by authoritative buzz calls on the customer’s account and accepting all-important forms accessible to about-face absolute drop or bill acquittal services.
“We try to cut bottomward on the bulk of time they absorb switching accounts and accomplish it a abundant easier action than they’ve had in the past,” Lobach said.
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