Does Fee Income Hedge Banks And Credit Unions From Spread Swings?

by Jeff Marsico

The drum is starting to beat again for fee income in the minds of banking executives and in financial institution strategy sessions. This week I heard “hedge” against interest rate fluctuations, a comment more common in the late 1990’s to mid 2000’s. So I ran some numbers, and the answer to the post title is: it depends.
Fee income comes in many sources. And for most community banks, which I define as banks with less than $10 billion in assets, fee income comprises 10%-20% of total revenue, on average. See the table for a break down of fee income sources by Call Report category for community banks.
With all the talk about fee income lines of business, much if not most of our fee income comes as additional revenue from traditional spread products, such as deposits or residential mortgages. This makes sense. It is our primary business, and fees improve the profitability of bread and butter banking.
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