Got $50,000? If you have it in a Citigroup (NYSE:C) Citigold account as of Nov. 1, you won’t have to pay monthly fees anymore. Yipee. Smaller banks would be falling all over themselves to land clients who keep $50K in their bank accounts, but Citigroup thought it would be a great idea to charge high-net worth individuals to get an exclusive banking account that promises “invitation-only movie premieres, closed door pre-sales events, members-only clubs, and many of the top-tier restaurants in every time zone.”
It’s not a good sign for one of the top five biggest banks in the US. It’s an admission, in fact, that Citigroup needs to do something to stop the blood-letting. They’ve slipped to fourth place in bank deposits among the country’s biggest banks after they lost out on their bid for Wachovia Corp. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) landed Wachovia instead, and they quickly jumped up on the list of big banks.
Still, will cutting the fees for big fish be enough to lure back customers? A lot of analysts say probably not. If Citigroup’s plans in China come to fruition, though, it probably won’t matter. Who needs American clients when you can get Chinese?