Magazine article American Banker

Emigrant a Newcomer to Web Banking

Magazine article American Banker

Emigrant a Newcomer to Web Banking

Article excerpt

Though Internet banking has been a standard offering at most large banks for several years, some smaller institutions are just getting started online.

One is Emigrant Savings Bank, a 150-year-old New York thrift that introduced its EmigrantOnline service last month.

Emigrant, which has $8.5 billion of assets and 36 branches in the New York area, said it had to introduce EmigrantOnline to keep customers from straying to competitors.

"We have felt for some time we need to have an online banking capability," said Ted Morehouse, who is the chief marketing officer and a senior vice president of the Emigrant Bancorp Inc. subsidiary. "You need it for defensive reasons and for offensive reasons. We want to make certain any customers who want to use it as the primary means of banking can get it from us, so they don't feel the need to go somewhere else."

Online banking is also necessary to "compete with everyone else for new customers," he Mr. Morehouse said.

EmigrantOnline, which is free for the thrift's customers, enables them to look at real-time account balances and statements, transfer funds between accounts, make loan payments, and communicate with the thrift through e-mail. Customers can also use it to pay some of their bills online and to set up personalized Web pages for their information.

About 20 customers a day are signing up for EmigrantOnline, which has accumulated between 600 and 700 customers since it was launched, Mr. Morehouse said early last week.

Emigrant has been marketing only through pamphlets in its branches and a link at its Web site, www.emigrant.com. A print and radio marketing campaign will begin soon, Mr. Morehouse said.

InteliData Technologies Corp. of Reston, Va., is supplying the technology for the service. Tim Ruhe, its vice president of sales and marketing, said online banking is "certainly a requirement at this point" for institutions to retain customers or attract new ones. …

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