The growing adoption of 401(k) retirement plans is a hot market for banks. Union Bank of California, not one to linger, has leaped ahead with a Web site that gives customers Internet access to retirement planning tools.

The 401(k) Resource Site includes an investment tutorial, a quarterly retirement newsletter and interactive tools for retirement planning, tax savings calculation and investment risk evaluation. A visitor to the site can model his own 401(k) scenario by plugging in numbers, compiling results and making adjustments. The site also is an effective marketing device for the bank; it is aimed at all consumers, not just bank customers. "As the focus in the defined contribution retirement plan market shifts to participant-directed accounts, employees are clamoring for more investment information," says Jeff Boyle, svp and director of business trust sales and marketing for Union Bank, the West Coast's largest provider of in-house 401(k) services. "We invested heavily in providing them with workbooks, videos and CDs. The next logical step was the Internet."

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