Online Visits To FI Sites Surge

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Visits to bank and credit union websites during March 2003 were up almost 30% from the same period one year earlier.

According to analysis by Neilsen/NetRatings, 25-million people logged onto bank and credit union sites during the month, up from 19.2 million people in March 2002. However, as impressive as those figures are, it still represents just one-in-five of the active online population who visited their financial institution's website.

Those who did visit spent an average of 52 minutes during the month on financial institution websites, significantly more time than some better known web destinations, such as CNN.com (33 minutes) Google (26 minutes permonth), or Amazon.com, 16 minutes a month.

The most visited financial institution website was Bank of America's site, which saw 6.1-million unique visitors who spent more than one hour at the BofA website.

Among the other findings:

* Men and women were attracted almost equally to sites in the banking and credit card category, with men accounting for for 51% of the audience and women, 49%. Nearly 70% of the surfers were ages 18 to 49.

Those most likely to visit a bank or credit union website fell into the middle-income category, with those earning between $50,000 and $74,999 annually representing 30% of surfers logging on to such sites. Those in the high-upper-income category ($150,000- plus) were just 7% of the visitors.

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