Direct mail volume from banks on the rise

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Direct mail offers sent by banks to current customers rose 42% in the third quarter when compared to the second quarter, according to new research from Mintel Comperemedia.

The sharp increase in retention direct mail can be attributed to banks' efforts to communicate with and reassure their customers on the heels of the worst financial crisis in years.

"As global financial markets shook, we saw many banks increase their direct marketing spend in an effort to hold on to the clients they had," said Diana Sheehan, director of research for Mintel Comperemedia, in a statement. "Banks view direct mail as an effective channel for customer communication. So, as the market settles and financial institutions work to rebuild trust and profitability, we expect they'll continue with heightened direct marketing efforts to current clients, at least into early 2009."

Banks sent approximately 53 million offers to their customers during the third quarter, almost twice the 29 million seen in the third quarter of 2007.

The increase in direct mail volume to current customers came from both major national banks like Bank of America and Citibank as well as smaller, regional players such as Parish National Bank and Webster Bank.

The most notable rise was in the savings category, with banks sending nearly 300 times more savings direct mail communications to current customers in the third quarter of 2008 than they did in the second quarter. Checking direct mail volume saw a 90% rise during the same period.

Mintel also found that banks increased their acquisition direct mail offers by 8% in the third quarter compared to the second quarter.

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