Komen, BoA Partnership at Risk?

Many are wondering whether today’s announcement that Arvest Bank received regulatory approval to buy 29 Bank of America branches would affect an important partnership between Bank of America and the nation’s most respected breast cancer program, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. From the information we’ve gathered throughout the day, the commitment remains as solid now as ever.

New Partnership

Last year, Bank of America announced it had to partnered with the Susan G. Komen organization with a shared goal of ending breast cancer once and for all. It was the Presenting Sponsor and would extend into 2015. Bank of America, at that time, guaranteed a minimum $1 million contribution as part of its Pink Ribbon Banking product offering. Then we learned it had already contributed close to $4.2 million since 2009. It was clear this long term relationship a solid foundation with two of the most recognized names in the country.

Citing a dedication for many of its BofA employees, who “are a part of our family”, this was a way for the bank to acknowledge the direct impact to its family as well as bring awareness and much needed funding for this deadly disease.

At Bank of America, we salute our employees’ passion for making a difference,

said David Briggs, Senior Vice President of the Group Banking department. It was at that time the Pink Ribbon Banking products were introduced.

As part of its commitment, Bank of America unveiled a few new products. The Pink Ribbon banking account was the first. With each new account, the bank makes a contribution to the Susan G. Komen foundation. The contributions are used for research, quality care and any other avenues that will lead to a cure. As part of the banking account, consumers also are issued a debit card linked with their checking account with an optional pink ribbon theme. They also receive checks and bank statements with the Susan G. Komen logo printed on them.

Credit Cards

For every new Susan G. Komen for the Cure branded credit card account opened and activated, the foundation will receive a minimum of $3 and 0.20% of all net retail purchases made with the credit card. Also, Komen also receives $1 for each annual renewal of the card.

Checking Accounts, Debit Cards

For each new checking account and/or debit card opened, Komen receives $10, followed with an additional $2 on each annual anniversary of the account opening.

The Pink Ribbon credit card allows 1% cash back on every purchase and a $100 cash back bonus once you meet a threshold within the first three months. Card members also earn 2% back on their groceries and 3% cash back on their gas – up to $1,500 combined each quarter. This means you’ll earn either 2% or 3% on groceries or gas, respectively, up to $6,000 a year. The best part, though, is that every purchase made with the Pink Ribbon card, Bank of America makes a contribution.

David Briggs, during the unveiling,

Bank of America’s long standing partnership with Komen has helped spread awareness and raise vitally needed funds for cutting-edge research and 2,000 programs that help women in our communities.

Where the Money Goes

Bank of America is dedicated to transparency in this program and as such, it’s provided insight as to how the funds are dispersed from the foundation. The following is a breakdown of how Komen distributes its funds and you can find more on the Bank of America website:

  • 34% Education
  • 24% Research
  • 15% Screening
  • 12% Administration
  • 8% Fundraising
  • 7% Treatment

Arvest Approval

The announcement that Arvest would be buying the Bank of America bank branches in four states, including 15 in Missouri, still leaves a lot of questions unanswered, however. For instance, in the announcement, it was learned a date in March for re-branding the branches had been set. The Fayetteville, Ark. based bank announced in December that it had entered into an agreement to buy out some deposit accounts, loans and the 29 branches from Bank of America, which is based in Charlotte, N.C. Along with the fifteen branches in Missouri, the other states include Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. This acquisition represents about $750 million in deposits and will affect more than 65,000 customer households.

During Monday’s announcement, Arvest that it anticipates a late March sale closing with tentative plans to re branch and reopen the affected branches within a couple of days, most likely March 25. Marketing Director Jason Kincy said,

They will all be branded as Arvest Bank locations.

The presser continued with a statement that Arvest’s certainty that the new branches and consumer relationships with in its “existing footprint” is indicative of the bank’s commitment to the communities it will serve. Further, along with the different programs, including the Komen partnership, it expects many Bank of America employees to transition to the company as well. That said, there haven’t been any definitive announcements on how things will transition moving forward. In fact, many were surprised by the announcement. With the exception of the announcement made in December there hadn’t been much publicity on the acquisition, the reasons for or the justification for the specific branches. Today’s announcement didn’t provide answers, either.

Previous Merger

The bank’s 2008 acquisition of Merrill Lynch made Bank of America the world’s largest wealth management corporation and a major player in the investment banking market. Currently, Bank of America is considered one of the nation’s top five biggest banks and in 2010, it was the second largest bank holding company, by assets, in the U.S. and is the fifth largest company in the country by revenue figures. That same year, Bank of America was listed by Forbes as the third biggest company in the world. A year later, BoA was listed as the most used bank for money laundering in the United States, which certainly did not bode well for for its image.

Do you think today’s announcement will be good for customers or will be just another blip on the American banking radar? We’d like to hear from you, especially if you are currently or have been in the past a Bank of America customer. Share your thoughts and join the conversation on Facebook.

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