E*Trade's steady transmogrification into a clicks-and-mortar institution continues with the opening of a financial services super-store on Madison Avenue. The company's move into real estate follows the launch of a similar hi-tech, hi-touch facility by CSFBDirect in Manhattan just last month.
The online financial services group says the new facility marks the next phase of its bricks-and-mortar strategy, which includes its E*Trade Zones concept intended to be rolled out in 20 new locations in the coming year and its network of over 10,000 ATMs.
"E*Trade centre is a milestone in our blended approach to financial services, which combines an emphasis on electronic delivery with a physical presence to provide customers with a high level of personalised service," says Christos Cotsakos, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, E*Trade. "In the changing market environment, it's important for investors to know they have both electronic and physical access to information, products and services to meet their individual investment needs."
The company has contracted with Compaq for the supply about $2 million worth of computers, wireless technology and handheld devices for its new branch. Covering over 30,000 square feet, the centre is equipped with four levels of interactive technology including over 200 Presario 1400, Armada M300 and iPAQ desk top computers provided by Compaq all with 20" LCD flat screen monitors.
The basement features a professional trading services area for active investors. On the mezzanine, high net worth customer can receive personal advice from E*Trade agents. Educational seminars will be offered on the top level, adjacent to an instore E*Trade gift shop, financial bookstore and cafe.