Back to the future

When Neil Cotiaux shopped around for a business checking account, he was hard-pressed to find a bank that didn’t ding him one way or another — until he stumbled across “Three for Free” at Morgan Bank N.A. in Hudson.
“This is the cleanest account I’ve ever seen,” says Cotiaux, owner of Cotiaux Communications in North Canton. “Each service unto itself is not unusual, but the combination of free services is. And not being nickled and dimed is paramount.”
Targeted specifically to individuals, sole proprietors and nonprofits in Summit, Portage, Cuyahoga and Medina counties, the account offers an eye-opening array of free services. No monthly fees. No minimum balance requirement. Free unlimited check writing and check safekeeping. No per-item charges. Free Mastercard checkcard with unlimited transactions. Free notary service and free cashier’s and traveler’s checks. Free Internet banking. And 3 percent annual percentage yield on the balance, compounded daily and monthly.
Consumers can apply for the account at the bank’s West Streetsboro Street location in Hudson or online at
“This is the best account for sole proprietors of small businesses that I’ve ever seen,” says Cotiaux, “and it would save many sole proprietors a couple of hundred bucks a year.”
Indeed it does, says William “Wink” Dougherty, Morgan Bank’s president and CEO. More notably, in the past year, the account, in combination with other personal and business offerings, has skyrocketed deposits to the tune of about $15 million as of February 2002.
When Dougherty came on board in February 1998, Morgan Bank had only $800,000 in business and personal checking accounts, and the bulk of deposits were in CDs. Since then, the community bank has experienced a phenomenal growth rate of 51 percent in assets, with total assets now exceeding $71 million.
“For a single-bank location, that’s not half bad,” Dougherty says.
Still, considering current interest rates, one wonders how Morgan Bank can afford to offer such free services.
“We can do it because our loan volume is very high,” Dougherty says, “and that’s because we’ve gone back to the way banking was done 30 years ago — we give our customers a fair return for the money they deposit, and we try to make a fair spread over our cost of funds.”
While interest rates have sheared the bank’s margin a bit, Dougherty assures that as long as he’s in charge, “we’re committed to our 3 percent checking, so we’ll ride out the storm.”
How to reach: Morgan Bank N.A (888) 656-3267

Morgan Bank