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TheStreet Open House

"Retail Banking Sucks," But Bank of America Could Jump 50%: Hedge Fund Guru

However, while Brown says he has "a lot of respect for Jonathan," he believes the Chrysler parallel doesn't quite work.

Chrysler, "came up with new cars that were quite popular, and that changed the reputation of the company more than anything else," Brown says. However, "the problem in the banking business today is the retail banking business sucks."

Expenses are high, but low interest rates and new legislation keep revenues down, Brown says.

"Bank of America as well as all banks want to change their retail banking model, but consumers feel that they've gotten banking services for free for years." As a result, its very difficult to raise prices "without taking a lot of grief."

The pricing problem is particularly acute for Bank of America, Brown says. He says that U.S. Bancorp (USB) charges customers 50 cents to take a photograph of a check in order to deposit it via smartphone.

"If B of A tried something like that, if they were the first, there'd be all sorts of nasty headlines," Brown says. "Part of it is they brought it on themselves and a smaller part is they happen to be the one that gets picked on the most."

Brown, who also owns Citigroup (C) shares, said he is pleased with recent cost-cutting moves by that institution. Still, while Citi has identified more than $1 billion in annual savings from its recent 11,000 layoffs, that pales in comparison with the $18 billion at Bank of America, he contends.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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