fedgazette

Ninth District bank Web sites increase services

Toby Madden - Regional Economist

Published September 1, 2001  |  September 2001 issue

Since last year's review of Ninth District banks on the Web, the number of bank Web sites has increased and more banks now offer online services to their customers. As of first quarter 2001, a sample of Ninth District banks found that 35 percent maintain a public Web site, which represents an increase of 21 percent from last year.

Of the 270 Web sites reviewed in 2001, 54 percent had sophisticated online transaction capability compared with only 28 percent of the Web sites reviewed last year.

Although Web site complexity increased from last year's review, a significant number of sites still do not offer online transaction capability. One bank, leery of the potential additional expense and risk, created an online customer survey to gauge the demand for expanded services.

A significant change from a year ago is a reduction in the percentage of banks that allowed Web users to contact individual bank staff directly via e-mail. Instead, more banks have turned to a standard Web information request form, requiring the sender's e-mail address and other personal data. While not as personal, the standard form may have gained popularity because more bank customer service staff have access to the site and can respond more quickly.

There were also notable differences between large banks (those with more than $500 million in assets) and community banks (those with under $500 million in assets). On average, large banks were more likely than community banks have transaction capabilities, post interest rates and offer online applications, insurance services and job postings. Community banks were more likely than large banks to offer staff e-mail addresses and loan calculators.

Most banks appear to have used in-house resources to design and develop their Web sites. About 39 percent of reviewed bank sites credited their Web design to an outside firm, suggesting that many of the remainder used in-house staff to develop their sites. Generally, banks that did not credit a commercial Web designer exhibited less complex home pages and offered fewer online banking features.

See table below for a comparison of large and community banks, click to see last year's review and a directory of Ninth District banks.

Ninth District Web Site Features

  Total 2001 Total 2000 Large 2001 Large 2000 Community 2001 Community 2000
E-mail
90%
96%
75%
93%
91%
97%
Privacy statement
76%
51%
81%
80%
75%
49%
Loan calculator
66%
46%
56%
60%
53%
26%
Transaction capabilities
55%
28%
88%
60%
53%
26%
Community links
54%
59%
56%
67%
54%
58%
Interest rates posted
50%
35%
36%
36%
50%
35%
Cookies on the home page
23%
17%
38%
27%
22%
17%
Loan and/or CD applications
22%
13%
56%
43%
19%
11%
Insurance services
21%
15%
56%
47%
19%
13%
Financial Information and/or Job postings
16%
23%
63%
80%
13%
19%
Credit card applications
14%
 9%
38%
29%
13%
 8%
On-line securities trading
 4%
 1%
13%
 7%
 4%
 1%
Real Estate Services
 4%
 6%
 6%
33%
 4%
 4%

Minneapolis Fed summer intern Adebayo Ajibewa contributed research to this article.

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