Bank of America and E*Trade ahead for online service, says Jupiter

Bank of America and E*Trade ahead for online service, says Jupiter

Bank of America and E*Trade have topped an online customer response index of banks and brokerages in the US, compiled by Jupiter Media Metrix.

The quarterly Jupiter Core (Composite Rating of Online Effectiveness) Index - designed to help financial services firms assess their competitive strengths and areas of exposure online - is made up of individual scores relating to unique visitors, usage intensity (time), usage frequency (number of visits per month), customer loyalty or transition (the ability to migrate off-line customers online) of financial institution Web sites.

Banks and brokerages that achieve the highest combination of consumer attention, unique visitor traffic and online transition of their total customer base will perform the highest in overall rankings.

BankofAmerica.com, WellsFargo.com and KeyBank.com lead the Jupiter banking Core, while E*Trade Financial Network, TDWaterhouse.com and Sharebuilder.com top the Jupiter brokerage Core.

James Van Dyke, Jupiter research director and senior analyst, comments: "For the first time, financial services companies will be able to expand benchmarks outside their own firm in order to keep pace with a dynamic industry."

The intensity index reflects the number of minutes per day that secure visitors spend on a specific site, based on Media Metrix data. The Jupiter banking Core reveals that KeyBank.com, BankOne.com and Fleet.com have the most intense online visitors. The brokerage Core indicates that customers of TDWaterhouse.com, PutnamInvestments.com and AmericanCentury.com are the most intense online users.

Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Chase dominate the unique visitor index of the Banking Core.

The loyalty index measures how often secure visitor to a given Web site also visit at least one other site inthe same industry category. Banks with the most loyal online users include KeyBank.com, PNCBank.com and AmSouth.com, while online brokerages include Merrill Lynch, ShareBuilder.com, and CSFBDirect.com.

"Having loyal customers will become increasingly critical to financial institutions' survival as players converge their offerings and there is less differentiation in the marketplace," says Van Dyke.

Jupiter is currently evaluating the potential release of future versions of the Core Index for insurance, online payments and lending.

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