More Banks Offer Real-Time Account Info
American Banker (09/08/00) Vol. 2, No. 4 p.16A; Quinn, Lawrence Richter

KeyCorp, Central Carolina Bank, and Frost Bank are among the banks that have allowed customers to access real-time account information online. Howard Brooks, senior vice president of Internet banking at Central Carolina, feels that banks with real-time services will gain a competitive advantage. While many banks can do some real-time transactions, few have it available through the Internet, says KeyCorp senior vice president and manager of online services Paul Ayres. Banks' move toward allowing customers to access real-time data through the Internet is partly driven by the need to keep pace with the services offered by brokers. Karen Durward, director of product marketing at CrossAccess, asserts that banks will have to offer account data aggregately through all channels and provide data on stocks, futures, and other trading prices from outside vendors in order to keep customers from turning to brokers. Merrill Lynch already allows customers to access data aggregately and through multiple channels, in addition to letting customers glean data about and register for initial public offerings. CNA is one of a growing number of insurance companies that are enabling customers to use the Internet to make real-time claims and to access payment information. Such services result in quicker customer response time, enhanced customer satisfaction, and the need for fewer employees to provide the services, says CNA systems consultant Mark Porto. The fact that mainframes were not designed to make data accessible to multiple users is one of the biggest obstacles to banks', insurers', and brokers' ability to allow customers to access data aggregately and across channels. The problem is being addressed by companies such as CrossAccess, Neon, Information Builders, and IBM. Banks can only readily provide 17 percent of customer data through the Internet and telephone centers, reveals a Park City Marketing Institute poll. While the airline and long-distance telephone industry must also overcome the problem of making data available immediately to multiple users, a majority of banking executives feel that the problem will be most quickly and effectively solved by the financial services industry.

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