T.H.E. Financial Group, a third-party marketer of retail investment programs for community banks, will soon offer a way for its clients to provide stock trading and term life, health, and disability insurance online.
Links on their Web sites will enable a client bank T.H.E. serves 24 banks, in Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Florida to set up as a one-stop financial marketplace, said Anthony Tarantino, president of the Mechanicsburg, Pa., company.
T.H.E. runs bank-branded investment sales departments and offers sales rep training, but has never before provided Internet features.
The stock service, set to begin in January, will let the banks online customers trade for $19.95 to $29.95 a month, depending on what the bank wants to charge. There will be no minimum-balance requirement and no per-transaction charges.
The term life insurance product, also to become available in January, will provide quotes through the Web and a toll-free phone number. Agents will help customers determine their insurance needs on the phone, or a local insurance specialist can be brought into the branches to give advice.
The health and disability program is slated to start up in the second quarter and will include Medicare supplement insurance.
As a third-party marketer, T.H.E. can spread out the costs of providing these services, which many small banks cannot afford to offer on their own, Mr. Tarantino said. T.H.E. clients have assets of $90 million to $635 million; the average is $300 million.
Dale Cake, T.H.E.s marketing director, said the program will also help users compete against other financial services Web sites and will discourage customers from defecting to those sites.
Mr. Tarantino said T.H.E. is forming a property-casualty insurance agency 99% of whose equity will be owned by the client banks. All of these banks have looked at buying agencies, and the numbers never work, he said.
A formal announcement will be made in January, Mr. Tarantino said.