Bank and credit union investment programs are not capitalizing on one of their biggest potential benefits: the stream of banking customers who walk through the door every day.

Banks and credit unions have not done a good job in cross-selling those customers on investment products, according to a study announced today by Kehrer Saltzman & Associates. The consulting firm referred questions to Principal Ken Kehrer, who was not available. It said that more research would be coming out in the near future on this subject. But according to the abbreviated version released today, 12.7% of US households reported that they had purchased an investment or insurance product at their bank or credit union. Kehrer Saltzman noted that since the "typical financial institution offering investment services has been doing so for 14 or 15 years, this cross-sell ratio suggests that banks and credit unions have been penetrating less than one percent of their customer base per year."

Moreover, just 5.7% of US households have purchased more than one investment or insurance product from their bank and might be considered to have establish an advisory relationship with their bank, according to Kehrer Saltzman. All told, banks have developed an investment or insurance relationship with fewer than 1-in-18 of their client households that view them as their primary bank, the study says.

The study concludes that banks need to improve two areas of cross selling: broadening the penetration rates of their banking customer base, and then increasing their relationship with each investment client.