Big Banks Could Lose $185 Billion in 2012

Big banks could lose up to $185 billion in the next 12 months as outrage over new charges and fees lead many customers to close their accounts. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Chase (NYSE:JPM), Citibank (NYSE:C), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) could together make up nearly three-quarters of that loss.

Hot Feature: Will the FHA Need a Taxpayer Bailout?

The $185 billion figure represents about 9% of all retail bank deposits in the country. Together, the top 10 largest banks in the U.S. hold more than $2 trillion in deposits.

That leaves banks with dissatisfied customers vulnerable to a revolt in the form of a mass exodus. Though banks have been dropping debit-card fees, they have been making up revenue lost because of stricter industry regulations with everything from fees on replacement cards, to getting cash wired into an account, making a mobile deposit, or getting an extra paper statement.

According to a new report by boutique management consulting group cg42, customers are also frustrated with not being offered competitive rates, being hit with overdraft changes, and banks making promises that they don’t keep. “These frustrations are driving vulnerability,” said Stephen Beck, the founder of cg42.

Don’t Miss: Warren Buffett Hid Billions from Public with SEC’s Help

Credit unions are becoming viable alternatives to big banks. Credit unions have gained nearly $5 billion in new deposits over the last six weeks, and that number can be expected to grow if Wells Fargo doesn’t stop trying to sell customers on products they don’t want or need, or if CapitalOne (NYSE:COF) doesn’t improve customer service issues, two of the most common complaints discovered by the cg42 survey.