John B. McCoy said Thursday that he thought Wingspanbank.com would have benefited by having a network of branches where customers could open accounts, and that he had considered opening such branches during the waning days of his helm at Bank One Corp., Wingspan's parent company.
"I always felt that there would be a time when we would try to open branches in areas where we didn't have a business, like San Francisco, and that they would be different than a standard branch," he said.
Mr. McCoy disclosed his thoughts at the tail-end of a six-month vacation that followed his resignation from Chicago-based Bank One, where as former chairman and chief executive officer he had spearheaded the groundbreaking effort to build the Internet-only Wingspan.
He emphasized, however, that since he had not been involved in the banking industry for the past six months, he could not say whether this strategy would make sense for Wingspan today.
Having a branch network would have helped Wingspan collect new accounts, Mr. McCoy said. He said he had envisioned a strategy similar to that of Charles Schwab & Co., where consumers would take advantage of branches to open accounts, and then would go online to conduct transactions.
"The branches would give it believability and strength, like with Schwab," he said.
His days of setting strategy for Bank One, however, are behind him. Mr. McCoy, 57, is moving on to new things.
Corillian Corp. of Beaverton, Ore., announced Thursday it had appointed Mr. McCoy as its non-executive chairman of its board of directors, effective immediately. In his new role, Mr. McCoy will help the company build relationships with financial institutions domestically and abroad.
"During the past six months I have spoken to a lot of start-up companies, and I realized that I really enjoy building things," Mr. McCoy said. "I spent more time than most CEOs on the operating side of the business, so I have more knowledge than most on this type of business."
Mr. McCoy said he is in talks with other technology companies, and expects to take on a similar role in one or two of them.
Bank One is a new customer of Corillian. The banking company recently replaced online banking software from the now-defunct Integrion Financial Network with Corillian's Internet banking package. However, Mr. McCoy said that he had no part in that decision process.
Whether Bank One's new CEO, James Dimon, will build branches for Wingspan or get rid of the Internet bank entirely is anyone's guess, including Mr. McCoy's. Initially Mr. Dimon indicated that he may want to hold on to Wingspan. Later he said that he is looking at "all options," including selling it.
Mr. McCoy said he "had no idea" what Mr. Dimon would do, but that he is confident that whatever Mr. Dimon decides would be the best for the company.
"He is a spectacular choice for the bank," Mr. McCoy said. "He is a very talented person who has done a lot already, for a young guy. They got someone who can take this company forward for the next 20 years."
Mr. McCoy's name came up this week at the Visa/MasterCard antitrust trial. Stephen B. McCurdy, a vice president in charge of signing up bank partners in the United States for American Express Co., testified Monday that Mr. McCoy telephoned Harvey Golub, chairman and CEO of American Express, in 1998 to say that Bank One's First USA credit card subsidiary would be "very interested" in issuing American Express cards.
Mr. McCoy, who was surprised to learn that his name had been mentioned at the trial, said that during his time at Bank One, he was "always a believer that at some point Visa and MasterCard were going to change their rules about co-issuing." Since his departure, he said, he has not been involved with the issue.
These days Mr. McCoy practices his golf game three times a week, and he plans to continue to improve his skills. Though he has a handicap of eight and in January finished fifth in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament in California, Mr. McCoy is modest about his game.
"I should be much better than I am," he said.
Mr. McCoy resigned from Bank One under pressure in December, after the company had suffered from a string of profit warnings that came as a result of customer service problems and rising costs in its First USA Inc. credit card operation in Wilmington, Del..
When asked if he had any regrets about his time at Bank One, Mr. McCoy said he did not.
"That's over and done. I am into new things now."