Over at Dealbook today, you will find a story about how banks like JP Morgan and BofA are "devising low-fee banking especially for customers with troubled finances," in spite of the fact that such products are "not expected to make the bank[s] any profit." And while many argue that the sole motivation is to garner some good PR after doing things like foreclosing on someone who wasn't in default and stealing her parrot, to boot, it's nevertheless a nice thing to do. Not having much familiarity with how the other other other half lives, it took some time to figure out how to best serve the needs of these new clients, who Bank America started a sociology department to study.
Bank of America, for example, which faces a multibillion-dollar penalty for its crisis-era mortgage practices and is trying to shake a reputation for dubious home foreclosures, has introduced a banking account intended to prevent troubled customers from running up fees for overdrawing their balances. As part of those efforts, Bank of America executives shadowed low-income families in four cities and asked them to create collages that showed how they felt about money.