Jupiter Media Metrix Debuts Financial Services Index based on Consumer Behavior

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Jupiter Media Metrix yesterday unveiled the Composite Rating of Online Effectiveness Index, or CORE, for the financial services industry, which it said is the first index based entirely on online consumer behavior and performance metrics.


The CORE index, which covers banks and brokerages, will be published quarterly. Jupiter said the index is designed to help financial services institutions "assess their competitive strengths and areas of exposure online." It is made up of individual scores covering unique visitors, usage intensity, usage frequency and customer loyalty or transition.


Jupiter said financial institutions that achieve the highest combination of consumer attention, unique visitor traffic and online transition of their total customer base will perform the highest in the CORE ranking system. Financial services firms are ranked individually in the different categories and receive an overall CORE Rank. The index covers 23 banks and 20 brokerages.


Topping the bank list is BankofAmerica.com, which achieved an overall score of 100. WellsFargo.com came in second with an Index score of 99. Keybank.com was third, scoring 88, Bankone.com was fourth with an overall score of 81 and Chase.com came in fifth with a score of 73.


However, perhaps more important than a bank's overall score are its Frequency and Loyalty scores. Frequency measures the number of secure visits a customer makes to a given Web site in a month and shows "how effective financial institutions are at getting customers to treat visits to the site as indispensable," Jupiter said. Loyalty measures how often customers to a given site also visit at least one other financial institution's site and reflects customer loyalty and a Web site's functionality.


"Beyond looking at ranking, financial institutions in the CORE can now better identify their strengths and vulnerabilities as they continue to migrate their customers online," said James Van Dyke, a senior analyst and research director at Jupiter.


Despite ranking third overall, Keybank.com achieved the highest Loyalty ranking of zero. PNCBank.com and Amsouth.com tied for second place with a Loyalty Index score of -24. HSBC.com came in third with a score of -- 29. The Loyalty section is the only one that has negative scores. Toping the Frequency category was Washington Mutual, scoring the highest with 100. HSBC.com was second in Frequency with a score of 95 and WellsFargo.com was third with a score of 91.


Among brokerages, E*Trade Financial had an overall CORE ranking of 1. TDWaterhouse.com was second, followed by TDWaterhouse.com


Topping the Loyalty list among brokerages was Merrill Lynch's ML.com, scoring a zero. Second in the Loyalty category was Sharebuilder.com was a score of -16. Placing third in Loyalty was CFSBDirect.com wit a score of -20. Leading in Frequency was E*Trade Financial Network with a score of 100, followed by BuyandHold.com with 67 and TDWaterhouse.com with 64.


Van Dyke said that until now, financial services firms have not been able to accurately measure loyalty. All they could measure was unique visitors.


"Firms were not able to go very deep in measuring their visitors online," he said.


Jupiter said the Index was designed as an interactive tool that financial institutions could use for internal planning and that it encourages them to modify the standard rankings based on the categories that are more important to the institution.


Jupiter also said it is considering developing similar indices for the insurance, online payment and lending industries.


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