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Gomez scores e-banking performances

Although Internet banking is not yet four years old, it has a semiofficial scorekeeper with enough credibility to confer bragging rights on top performers. Every quarter, Gomez Advisors publishes at its Web site, http://www.gomez.com, an Internet Banker Scorecard, which rates banks according to a complex scoring system with five performance categories and more than 15 objective criteria. The categories are then rolled into a composite score (see p.33).

Banks that offer e-banking services are quick to advertise a good showing on a Gomez scorecard, especially a number one rating in the coveted "Overall" category, but also if they come out on top in any of several performance categories. The accompanying table, Rating the top e-banking services, is a box score of winners in the Spring 1999 competition. The one-year CD rate was added to give a snapshot of each bank's competitiveness in that crucial customer attractor.

Chris Musto, director of financial services at Gomez, explains that the set of scoring criteria are based on the firms judgment of what services can and should be available from a bank that wants to play in the e-banking big leagues. Every one of the 55 banks currently being scored offers at least one of those services.

Gomez doesn't score on the curve; every bank is measured independently against weighted objective criteria which balance an offered function against a related consideration such as the minimum deposit level required.

Ten is the best possible score in each category. The Gomez criteria aren't fixed. They get tougher each quarter as the art evolves. Example: bill presentment is not a criterion, though some banks are beginning to offer it. Gomez will add that product when, in its judgment, customers can reasonably expect a leading-edge e-bank to offer it, Musto says. Gomez doesn't score brokerage services, though they are rapidly becoming part of basic e-banking.

Almost all of the banks rated offer e-banking in addition to financial services from physical locations. The few Internet-only banks, except for Telebank, are all high scorers. …

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