Magazine article American Banker

Personal Service on the Net? Yes, Say Banking Customers

Magazine article American Banker

Personal Service on the Net? Yes, Say Banking Customers

Article excerpt

Some pioneering customers of Internet banks say personalized, efficient customer service is one benefit.

"People think because it is an Internet bank, it is impersonal," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, a customer of Security First Network Bank for two and a half years.

As a resident of San Francisco, he has never set foot in Atlanta-based Security First. Nonetheless, he said, "I have a more personalized relationship" than at the "impersonal and bureaucratic chain" where he previously banked.

In one of two instances when Security First Network went above and beyond the call, he said, it sent a new ATM card via Federal Express when his wallet was stolen. Another time Security First Network called his credit card company to ensure that a required payment would be received by 9 a.m. the next day.

Robert C. Apperson of New Port Richey, Fla., said he thought service was better at Arlington, Va.-based Telebank, where he has banked for more than a year, than at regular banks.

The Telebank representatives "were so nice and helpful, I opened a savings and two interest checking accounts," he said.

"They work at it. All I have to do is dial an 800-number or deposit money by mail with a postage-paid envelope the bank sends."

Mr. Apperson, who works part-time on an Internet site that sells a wide variety of merchandise, said he also likes the convenience of having his checking account detail on the computer screen.

"It's like you are inside the bank," he said.

Mark Bell, a customer at First Internet Bank of Indiana since February, said, "They made me feel welcome."

Mr. Bell, a technical trainer, said being able to immediately transfer funds at any hour has been useful in planning his wedding. "I can transfer money into my account on a Saturday and go shopping and the money is already there," he said. …

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