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September 01, 2009

Changes in Consumer Behavior Prompt Introduction of New Type of Checking Account

COLUMBIA, SC -  In response to changes in consumer behaviors, SCBT has developed Mad Money Checking, a new type of checking account which will be rolled out on September 1, that targets this new type of consumer. 

Over the past 10 years, banks have seen more and more customers move into online and electronic banking products.  In addition, as the economic conditions tighten, consumers look for ways to stretch every dollar and make wise choices with their money.  As a result, SCBT has launched a new type of checking account that rewards consumers for these types of behaviors.

Consumers today are more conscious of the cost and want to do their banking in the most convenient and efficient manner possible.  Paying their bills online to save postage.  Managing their account online to monitor their account in real time.  Using ATMs and the web to do their banking on their schedule.  Using a Visa Debit Card to save the cost of printed checks.  Having their payroll check deposited directly into their account to save a trip to the bank.

In the past, most of the premium checking products rewarded customers for maintaining a high balance in their account and doing a minimal number of transactions.  As consumer behaviors have changed, this type of account is fast becoming obsolete.  
In 2001, only 32.5% of families did their banking online.  In 2008, the number of households using the internet had grown to 75% and is projected to increase to 76% by the end of 2009. The Federal Reserve Board's recent Survey of Consumer Finances showed that 59.7% of all families use the internet for financial information or financial services.  When broken down by age group, the percentage was even higher.

Age of Head of Household Percentage of Family
Less than 35 71.9%
35-44 70.8
45-54 69.1
55-64 59.1
65-74 40.3
75 or more 16.5

This growing trend among consumers to do their banking electronically prompted SCBT to evaluate their checking products and determine ways to better meet the changing needs of their customers.

After evaluating the behaviors of their online banking customers, the bank learned that customers used or wanted the following:

  • High interest rate
  • Visa debit card
  • Electronic statements
  • Online bill payment services
  • Direct deposit

Based on this profile, SCBT set out to create an account to meet these needs.  The new account is for customers who use their Visa debit card at least 10 times per month, receive electronic statements, and have at least one third party automatic draft or direct deposit per month.  Customers with these characteristics will receive a high rate of interest on their checking account. 

"Basically, the account rewards customers for doing things they are already doing," said John Windley, president, SCBT.  "We tried to take the changing needs of the customer into consideration in planning for this new product.  The type of person who would benefit from this account is probably already doing their banking online, receiving e-statements and are high users of Visa debit cards.  This just gives them an incentive to do their banking with us."

The new Mad Money Checking account will be available at all SCBT branches starting September 1.  More information can be found on

SCBT Financial Corporation, Columbia, South Carolina is a registered bank holding company incorporated under the laws of South Carolina.  The Company consists of SCBT, N.A., the third largest bank headquartered in South Carolina and NCBT, a Division of SCBT, N.A.   Providing financial services for over 75 years, SCBT Financial Corporation operates 49 financial centers in 16 South Carolina counties and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.   Named in Forbes as one of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America, SCBT Financial Corporation has assets of approximately $2.8 billion and its stock is traded under the symbol SCBT in the NASDAQ Global Select Market.  More information can be found at

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