Huntington Bancshares is reaching out over the Internet to try to pull in the retirement dollars of baby boomers.
The $20 billion-asset banking company is offering retirement planning help on the World Wide Web, the multimedia portion of the Internet. The bank's on-line entry is part of a broader push to provide consumers with easier access to retirement products and services.
"With people living longer, we need to go out to people and tell them they shouldn't necessarily have everything in CDs," said Elizabeth C. Markwood, assistant vice president for product development at the bank, based in Columbus, Ohio.
In November, Huntington Bancshares added retirement planning information to its Internet site located at www.huntington.com.
Although the on-line information is primarily educational, the bank hopes to reap the investment business of newly enlightened consumers.
Computer users can calculate their retirement needs using an interactive work sheet. In addition, the work sheet allows users to experiment with hypothetical investment strategies to see how different asset allocations and varying rates of return affect long-term investment performance.
The consumer can also obtain general information about investment options, including mutual funds.
For further help, the consumer can then call or send electronic mail to a retirement specialist. That inquiry can lead to an appointment with a representative from the bank's broker-dealer.
The on-line portal to retirement information is part of a larger effort to market the bank's full line of retirement services. In September, the bank opened what it calls the Retirement Bank, a toll-free telephone line to answer questions and make referrals within the bank.
"It's difficult to find something to unify the whole bank," commented Richard "Skip" Blythe Jr., president of Huntington Investment Co., the bank broker-dealer. "This is a great opportunity to broaden what we're talking about with our customer base without talking about a specific product."