BankZip.com, a unit of Patriot Bank Corp. in Pottstown, Pa., today is announcing its third partnership in the last couple of weeks with a major financial services provider.
Nationwide Insurance Inc. is the newest partner of nine-month-old BankZip.com, which offers Internet banking to community banks. The announcement quickly follows deals with MortgageSelect.com and DLJdirect.
Nationwide will start marketing property and casualty insurance on BankZip.com as early as Tuesday, said Bob Yost, a spokesman for the Columbus, Ohio, insurance giant.
BankZip.com customers with insurance inquiries will be directed through a link at the site to Nationwide agents.
"Nationwide saw this as a good way to support its local agents," Mr. Yost said.
Last Thursday, MortgageSelect.com, a subsidiary of American Home Mortgage Holdings of New York, announced that it would provide mortgage origination and pre-approval services through BankZip.com. A week earlier, DLJdirect, the online arm of New York-based Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., said it had agreed to offer brokerage services through BankZip.
"From the bank's perspective," such partnerships "help make it more money. They generate revenue that the bank probably could not get anywhere else," said Joseph Major, president and chief executive officer of Patriot Bank Corp.
Mr. Major is also CEO of his banking subsidiary Patriot Bank, a BankZip client.
Patriot founded BankZip.com last October, and though the bank has since sold its controlling interest, Mr. Major is still its chairman.
In addition to the services its vendors offer, BankZip.com provides such basics as bill-paying and loan applications. Banks pay a "minimal" up-front cost and a portion of fee income generated by the Web site, said Richard A. Elko, BankZip.com's president.
BankZip.com has five banking clients, including $180 million-asset Harbor Bank of Maryland, which joined Tuesday. Mr. Elko said announcements of several new clients and vendors are upcoming.
Mr. Major said, "We want to broaden our product offering in a way that benefits both our banks and our customers."
Some partners still to join might "stretch the limits of what is considered logical" for a banking Web site, but "we do not want to get too far afield," he said. "We do not want to be selling Pepsi."