Magazine article American Banker

GE Capital Plans Key Additions to Its Web Site

Magazine article American Banker

GE Capital Plans Key Additions to Its Web Site

Article excerpt

GE Capital says it plans by yearend to give customers the ability to apply for commercial loans online and manage them through the Internet.

The plan, which was detailed in an interview Friday, is part of a bigger one laid out by Jack Welsh, chairman and chief executive officer of Stamford, Conn.-based General Electric Co., who decreed last year that all of GE's businesses had to be online by the end of 1999.

This year, in an attempt to realize that goal, General Electric has each of its businesses implementing new technology to expand their offerings.

"There is a strong enthusiasm for e-business at GE," said Terry Suppers, senior vice president of marketing of GE Commercial Finance's e-business division. "I think it is changing the way we do business. It is an amazing time."

The commercial lending division, which manages $14 billion of assets, wants to offer its business clients financing as quickly as possible and at the same time give them flexibility in their use of the World Wide Web, Mr. Suppers said.

"Our approach is to allow you to do as much as you want online," he said. "But to the extent that you want, we can bring in elements of the traditional environment and create a clicks-and-mortar experience."

GE Capital, which is also based in Stamford, plans to add instant messaging to its Web site. Customers already can communicate with GE loan officer by e-mail, but this feature would offer real-time interaction and help customers get their financing as quickly as possible.

Mr. Suppers said instant messaging is meant to help rather than eliminate loan officers.

"There will always be a need in our marketplace for the relationship," he said. "As a provider of working capital, our customers often want to look someone in the eye."

Late last year GE conducted nationwide focus groups. …

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