The folks at BAI, using research by Raddon Financial, ran the numbers on new checking account sales per branch and found that Bank of America is opening 31 new checking accounts per branch per month, or just about one per day (article here). WaMu did better with 39 per month or 1.3/day. The article said community banks typically get only about one-fifth that, just 2 new checking accounts per week per branch.
I'm not sure exactly what those numbers mean, but someday in a meeting when you are trying to make a case for new investment in your website, you can counter the, "but customers love the branches" with, "sure they do, but even BofA, who spends more than $200 million/year advertising, only manages to sell one checking account per day per branch" (see top 2005 advertisers here). It still might not mean anything, but it makes it sound like you've done your homework.
The problem with comparing branch-account openings to online-account openings is they are not separate ecosystems. Would the account have been opened online without a nearby branch? Or did that account, opened at the branch, come as a result of research conducted online by the customer? In the U.S., you need both channels for the foreseeable future, unless you sell a financial product that doesn't need physical support, like a savings account (see note 1).
Another wild card: How do you gauge the impact of increasingly prominent website offers like this one currently running on the checking account page at <bankofamerica.com> (see note 2)? Naturally, to get the $50 you have to open the account online.
1. For more information on the future of the online channel vs. branch, see our report, The Demise of the Branch, published spring 2006 in Online Banking Report (OBR 128).
2. The offer was presented to a non-customer browsing the main Bank of America site from a Seattle IP address and indicating their state of residence was Nevada.