Why does adding deposits decrease the return of the opportunity?

In the current low-rate environment, deposits are often given a target return of zero.  This is because it’s very difficult to make money on deposits, especially if they are interest-bearing and overhead expenses necessary to service the account are factored in. However, there are other reasons that deposits may be desirable, not all of them economic. Aside from providing a source of funding, deposits may create customer loyalty or serve as an introduction to other, more-profitable bank products and services. So why does adding deposits to an opportunity result in a lower overall return for the opportunity?


In the example below, a $1,000,000 loan with a return of 21.15% results in a lower opportunity return of 17.95% once an interest-bearing deposit is added to the opportunity. This is because deposits often have a target profitability return of zero, indicating deposits are not expected to add to the Net Income of the Opportunity, which is the numerator of the return calculation. However deposits typically require capital reserves, which increases the denominator, decreasing the return.



If management has chosen to incentivize deposits, the opportunity owner shouldn't worry about deposit profitability or its overall impact on an opportunity since:

  1. The owner of the opportunity may not have control over the pricing of deposits;
  2. Management may have non-economic reasons behind their goal of increasing deposits.

Best practice suggests any incentive program should use deposit volume as the determinant of whether management goals for deposit acquisition are being met rather than the profitability of opportunities that include deposits. Owners, however, should also be cognizant that the existence of deposits alone is not sufficient to reward a customer with a reduction in loan rates.