A Hidden Savior for Small Banks
Future Banker (09/00) Vol. 5, No. 9 p.12s; Reinbach, Andrew

From 1996 to 1999, the banking sector lost 12 percent of its deposit base, with banks that have $1 billion to $10 million in assets losing a disproportionate 53 percent of their deposit base. In 1996, Wells Fargo began offering its customers electronic bill presentment and payment (EBP&P) options. Since then the attrition rate for customers who use EBP&P has been 54 percent lower than the bank's overall rate, 5.4 percent compared to 11 percent. While EBP&P could help small banks hold onto their deposit base, they are less likely to offer it and their customers are less likely to use it. According to a study by Cyber Dialogue, only 58 percent of online customers among smaller and regional banks pay their bills online, compared to 85 percent of online customers of large national banks. As much as 22 percent of smaller bank's online customers pay their bills using a third-party online service, compared to just 8 percent of larger banks. If a small bank decides to implement EBP&P it should view it as a competitive tool and not a profit center until consumer adoption increases. Small banks should also be aware that paying online does not mean payment when a customer pays but when the paying institution sends the payment, which has been known to lead to dissatisfaction among customers who receive late fees for payments they thought were on time.

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