Web Sites
Financial Service Online (08/00) Vol. 5, No. 8 p.36; Giesen, Laurie

Most bank Web sites offer links to check a balance, transfer funds, and apply for a loan or credit card, and some give instructions for trading securities, but compared to other industries, online banking is lacking. Many banks are developing new strategies to increase the number of people who use their Web site and to attract new customers. One is to make the bank a center for commerce by providing financial planning and investment tools and a starting point for shopping, travel planning, and getting news. While some banks feel that they could draw users away from portals like Yahoo and MSN, others think that such portal users are too entrenched. A good idea before developing a Web site is to survey customers to find what they are most interested in from an online banking page, and then implementing the desired features. Such attention to customers will often attract more clients than simply replicating what big portals are already doing. Banks are also interested in attracting commercial customers. Some bank sites even charge businesses to offer links and advertisements of products on their sites. Another advantage to the portal approach is that most vendors link their banks to online shopping malls and national financial services with which the vendors have contracts, and then offer the services to the banks at a discount. But the breadth of services offered is just as important as the level with which these services are integrated and the ease with which consumers can use them. Many sites offer customization options so that the consumer can design the site to show just the services in which he or she is interested. Looking forward, most financial institutions are concerned with making sites more functional and figuring out how account aggregation ties into the portal strategy.

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