A sharp drop in profits isn't keeping Bank of America from pursuing NASCAR fans as new customers.
The Charlotte-based bank on Tuesday announced it was more than doubling the number of drivers featured in race-themed accounts. The bank also will boost its NASCAR rewards program, providing more access to drivers and behind-the-scenes experiences.
"Imagine playing a round of golf with your favorite driver," said Mike Hargrave, Bank of America's motorsports platform executive, or "watching a race on top of a driver's pit box."
Bank of America launched the NASCAR-themed "affinity banking" accounts last spring as part of its push to win business from loyal race fans. The bank also sponsors the October Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, issues officially licensed NASCAR credit cards and, since 2006, has been the official bank of NASCAR.
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In its NASCAR banking program, Bank of America issues cards and checks printed with a driver's image or the NASCAR logo. Account holders get "RacePoints" that can be redeemed for merchandise, race tickets or -- for those with high point totals -- special honors, such as meeting a driver or waving the green flag at the Bank of America 500.
Hargrave declined to say how many Bank of America customers have signed up for the program, saying only that it was "tens of thousands." Although the NASCAR products are aimed at attracting new customers, some existing bank customers have the accounts, he said.
Bank of America on Tuesday reported a 95 percent drop in fourth-quarter profits. Despite that plunge, Hargrave said expanding the NASCAR banking program made sense because early returns have been good.
"We have to focus on businesses that are performing well," he said.
Along with the NASCAR logo, Bank of America offers accounts with several current and past drivers' images:
Juan Pablo Montoya
Martin Truex Jr.