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MADISON, Wis. – Many small business owners count free checking as a “very important” incentive for establishing a relationship with a financial institution. A survey from Keynote Systems, a San Mateo, Calif.-based e-business performance management services firm, found that 68% said free checking is the most important draw followed by fee and services charges at 67%, The Point, a CUNA & Affiliates, Inc. research publication, reported. Fifty-six percent felt having online banking was important and 45% chose bank branch locations. It’s only been in the last five to seven years that banks have started offering free business checking, David Furnace, managing director of Sheshunoff Management Service’s Revenue Enhancement Division, told the publication. The average business client generates more than $200 in fee income per account per year and $50 to $80 worth of spread income. Furnace said the back office costs on a checking account ranges between $50 and $60 and acquisition costs are between $30 and $80.

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