Magazine article American Banker

Price Waterhouse Plans Electronic Banking Consultancy

Magazine article American Banker

Price Waterhouse Plans Electronic Banking Consultancy

Article excerpt

Price Waterhouse is making a bid for leadership in the electronic banking industry by forming a specialized consulting group.

The unit is being organized around Price Waterhouse principal Jay Norman and Gary Meshell, who joined the audit firm's consulting arm in September after serving as chief architect of Chase Manhattan Bank's remote banking systems.

Mr. Meshell said the electronic financial services consulting group will focus on alternative delivery systems such as automated tellers, telephones, personal computers, and the Internet.

As part of Price Waterhouse's financial services industry practice, the group hopes to set itself apart from more limited "boutique" firms by providing a wide range of market research, strategic, and implementation support, Mr. Meshell said.

Clients will be offered technical assistance in designing and launching Web sites on the Internet as well as more strategic advice on which services to deliver on-line.

"This is a brand-new initiative which is really focused on the top 25 to 30 financial institutions that are committed to building a direct bank operation," Mr. Meshell said.

"We are approaching this from a full-life-cycle perspective, saying that customer segmentation is the first piece of this," he asserted. "What I see most of our competitors doing is taking more of a boutique approach, specializing in Web server design or in payment systems."

While Price Waterhouse is moving aggressively into what Mr. Meshell calls electronic banking "thought leadership," it is not alone. At McKinsey & Co., electronic commerce and bank technology expertise "have grown out of our business," said Stuart Flack, a company spokesman.

"We feel it's something that all of our consultants serving these clients on any level should be familiar with," Mr. Flack said.

Andersen Consulting has tackled the technology issue in a different way: Last month it opened the Financial Ideas Exchange, a center in midtown Manhattan for financial institution clients. …

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