Telebanc Financial Corp., a pioneer of telephone-based banking, raised $60 million in a 4.5 million-share offering July 23.
The share price closed at $22.375 that first day, $8 above the offering price set by underwriters BancAmerica Robertson Stephens, CIBC Oppenheimer, and Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc.
Last Friday it ended at $20.75.
Proceeds of the secondary offering, which raised the shares outstanding to 11.4 million and put the Arlington, Va., banking company on the national Nasdaq market for the first time, will be used for a national marketing campaign.
"We determined this was the year we were going to spend money on brand- building and solidifying our first-mover image," said Aileen Lopez Pugh, chief financial officer of Telebanc.
The $1 billion-asset bank's 1998 marketing budget of $3.5 million could rise as high as $6 million next year, said Pawan Malhotra, an analyst at Legg Mason.
The Telebanc offering and recent good press for other virtual or branchless ventures, such as Net.Bank Inc. and Security First Network Bank, indicate that the "market for on-line banking and highly secure forms of electronic commerce is starting to come through," said Gary Craft, analyst at BancAmerica Robertson Stephens.
Telebanc's first-quarter revenues grew 41%, to $18.1 million. Because of an increase in marketing expenses, net income decreased 50%, to $436,000.
Given its reliance on the telephone, Telebanc has a head start over ventures that began life on the Internet. Net.Bank's interest income in the second quarter was $4.2 million and net income was $240,000. Security First's fourth-quarter revenue, the most recently reported, was $3.4 million, and net loss $9.2 million.
Telebanc added an Internet option in March. Of 1,044 new customers last month, slightly more than half signed up over the Net. Scott Smith, analyst at Current Analysis, Sterling, Va., said combining telephone- and Internet- based banking "will probably strengthen its prospects."
The absence of a branch network saves Telebanc money, which "we pass along to the customers" through highly competitive pricing, Ms. Lopez Pugh said. The bank gives rebates to customers who are surcharged at foreign ATM machines.
The overhead structure kept general, administrative, and sales costs to $9 million in 1997, or 82 basis points on total yearend assets. A typical bank's overhead is between 200 and 400 basis points.
At the end of March, Telebanc had 22,000 customer accounts and $560 million in retail deposits. The bank does not originate loans. It makes referrals to E-Loan Corp., an Internet-based mortgage broker, for a fee.
The company is expected to close this summer a $21.4 million all-cash acquisition of Direct Financial Corp., a Gibbsboro, N.J.-based branchless bank that has $273.9 million of deposits and 15,000 customer accounts.
Telebanc issued its first securities in 1993, raising $17.25 million in debt and $5 million in equity. Shares of its stock had been traded over the counter.