Just over a year after opening, Ebank.com Inc. has a new chief executive officer and is reevaluating its strategy.
The Atlanta Internet bank, which started out as a provider of financial services for small businesses, expects to put more emphasis on retail customers.
"Some of our initiatives were not as successful as we had planned or thought they might have been," said James L. Box, who has succeeded Richard Parlontieri as chief executive officer and also is chief financial officer.
"We have not done as great a job of marketing to retail consumers as we have with the small businesses."
Mr. Parlontieri, who was also the chairman of Ebank.com, resigned in June. The company said he left "to pursue other interests." Gary Bremer, one of the founders, has been named chairman.
Ebank plans to begin cross-selling products and services to consumers who may also be small-business owners.
"We have not mined our database to the extent that we will," said Mr. Box, who became CEO on July 28. "We will continue our core strategy of business-to-business, however."
Ebank.com went live in June 1999, vowing to offer products and services that small businesses could not find elsewhere. Its menu boasts six cash management accounts: retirement planning, tax planning, private portfolio management, prime asset home loans, lines of credit, and an electronic sweep account that pools deposits and invests them overnight to earn interest.
To provide a physical presence, Ebank established a loan office in Charlotte, N.C., and a headquarters branch in Atlanta complete with tellers and loan specialists.
But it faced increasing competition from other Internet banks, as well as traditional ones. In May, for example, Wells Fargo & Co. introduced an online resource center for small-business owners, featuring core banking products and nonfinancial services such as human resources and back-office help. And both Bank of America Corp. and FleetBoston Financial Corp. have announced that they are working with Biztro Inc., a Santa Clara, Calif., provider of Internet services for small businesses, to round out their product offerings for that market.
Paul Jamieson, senior analyst for banking and payment services at Gomez Advisors in Lincoln, Mass., said of Ebank's retail plans: "I can see why they may want to look back at the consumer population and redouble their efforts in that area. They were up against very major heavy hitters, and they just do not have the resources, awareness, or trust to compete" with those players.
The 53-year-old Mr. Box has 31 years' experience in financial services, most recently with Ashford Investment Group, a consulting firm he founded in 1997. Before that he held senior-level positions at Georgia Federal Bank, First Union National Bank, and First Georgia Bank.
Mr. Box said he is examining how "cost-reduction measures will allow us to allocate resources in the areas with the greatest potential for achieving our objective."