BankZIP.com Boosts Community Banks' Online Presence

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BankZIP.com, an Internet banking alliance for community banks, is offering smaller institutions the chance to establish a presence online complete with full-fledged integrated marketing campaigns.


For an initial start-up fee plus a cut of the bank's online transactions, BankZIP.com not only will set up banking services allowing customers to open accounts and apply for loans but also will make online and offline marketing buys to support alliance members.


Late last month, the Web site began its first marketing push for an alliance member, kicking off outbound telemarketing for IGA Federal Savings Bank. The site plans to follow with a direct marketing campaign.


This month, the site will drop 40,000 pieces, mailing out roughly 10,000 to 15,000 pieces per week, with a $50 sign-up incentive for consumers and plans to test other incentive levels. A parallel campaign will run online as BankZIP.com sends e-mail offers to another 40,000 consumers. The lists were derived from an unspecified source.


IGA Federal Savings' main office is located in Feasterville, PA. Both mailings will be distributed according to the ZIP codes of towns that are close to IGA banks in the southeastern Pennsylvania region.


In addition to these efforts, the site will offer IGA point-of-sale materials for alliance members' branches as well as kiosks where consumers can access their accounts. The site is also looking into billboard, television and radio advertising for its members.


"BankZIP.com is a marketing aggregator among other things," said Richard Elko, president of BankZIP.com, Pottstown, PA. "We are helping community banks to market in ways they are not able to or can't afford to do on their own."


Online, the site wants to establish partnerships with portals and Internet communities. At press time, the site was finalizing agreements with a community site specializing in marriage. Under the agreement, the site would offer BankZIP.com as its financial service provider of choice.


The site also is looking into banner buys as well as purchasing buttons placed on keyboards that bring consumers directly to the BankZip.com site through agreements with manufacturers such as Rocketboard and eMachines.


BankZIP.com manages its own customer service center, which gives consumers complete access to their financial information 24 hours a day. Additionally, the site offers a surcharge-free ATM network and a bill-paying system that has no monthly service charges or transaction fees.


At press time, Madison Bank, First Penn Bank, IGA Federal Savings Bank, Patriot Bank and three others had signed on with the site. Four others had verbal agreements. The site plans to support more than 300 banks with as many as 4,000 branches and 5,000 ATMs across the United States by 2005.
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