By failing to make suitable sales pitches to consumers visiting banking Web sites, banks are fumbling away marketing opportunities-or so says Atlanta-based Speer & Associates, which assessed the sites of 25 financial institutions.

"If you want to find leading-edge Web sites in terms of marketing, you have to look outside of financial services, with a few exceptions," says Catherine Corby, senior vice president of Speer & Associates. Among financial institutions, American Express Co.'s online marketing prowess was rated the most advanced. "The Amex site is without question the most highly developed in the survey group," Speer says.

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