Consumers seeking online financial services increasingly are flocking to multichannel banks — institutions that offer both physical branches and online services — forcing Internet-only banks to rethink strategies for customer acquisition and retention.
According to a report released yesterday by Jupiter Media Metrix, the number of unique visitors to multichannel banks rose 110.5 percent to 13.4 million in July from 6.4 million a year ago. During that period, traffic to online-only banks fell 8.1 percent to 1.1 million unique visitors from 1.2 million.
“Online banking has moved from being a competitive edge to a commodity,” said James Van Dyke, a research director at Jupiter Media Metrix. “General-purpose online-only banks, competing without branches and universally accessible customer service, are losing their lead to aggressive traditional depository institutions.”
The Jupiter Media Metrix study noted that Chase was the most-visited multichannel bank in July 2001 and posted the largest year-over-year gain with a 281.1 percent rise in unique visitors – from 957,000 in July 2000 to 3.6 million this year. Rounding out the top three were Wells Fargo and Citibank, each with about 3.5 million unique visitors.