Juniper Bank, People's Bank, Fidelity, PaineWebber, and J P Morgan are the most recent additions to an elite group of market leaders in the delivery of Internet-based services to customers, according to a study of financial services Web sites conducted by consultancy Speer & Associates.
The five institutions join a group of companies including Citigroup, American Express, Charles Schwab and Comerica that have distinguished themselves as industry leaders over the past year of S&A Internet site studies.
The latest S&A survey was conducted in December 2000 using 172 financial services company Web sites in North and South America. The Top 25 sites include 19 US firms, five from Latin America and one from Canada. Progress among the companies surveyed is reflected in rapid ratings advances for a number of sites, says the consultancy, with 31 firms moving up 50 or more positions since the last evaluation in September.
S&A CEO Richard Speer comments: "Banking organisations have found the deployment of new platforms and expanded transactional capabilities to be far easier than the development and integration of sophisticated CRM marketing tools."
Trends in S&A's survey indicate enhanced feature and functionality practices are gradually being utilised by financial institutions to differentiate their sites, as well as to market to potential and existing customers. Yet despite the hoopla, up-and-coming technologies such as account aggregation, bill presentment and wireless access remain the province of a limited number of institutions.
Speer comments: "Major Diversified institutions have emerged as the premier providers of transactional capabilities on the Web, and generally perform at the top of the pack with respect to business development sophistication."
The evaluation indicates that Latin American and mid-sized regional institutions continue to increase transactional capabilities on their sites, but still lag in features and functionality compared to other segments in the research.
"Regardless of the marketing sophistication that the lower ranked transactional sites employ," says Speer, "transactional capabilities must be expanded to cover broader product lines and be well executed to retain online customers."