NetBank Inc. has hired a consulting firm to report on its performance from the customer perspective.

The $1.7 billion-asset Internet bank will work with the firm, Barry Leeds & Associates Inc. of New York, at least through this year to get independent reaction to its Web site.

Each month the agency will perform a number of tests that duplicate routine customer contacts with the bank, such as opening an account, researching a deposit, or transferring funds from one account to another, and give the bank feedback on how it is doing.

“We’ve asked the Barry Leeds people to look at our overall customer processes on the Internet, including the phone, and to not only talk to our customers but to call up and pretend to be a customer,” said D.R. Grimes, chief executive officer of NetBank. “We call it the mystery-shopper performance.”

NetBank, which is based in Alpharetta, Ga., near Atlanta, has worked with other Internet consulting companies. It hired Marchfirst Inc. of Chicago to test the usability of its Web site last spring and summer. The bank also worked with Voltage Factory, an Atlanta design company, over two to three months to redesign its Web site and ensure that it could handle the volume from its 160,000 accounts.

The redesigned Web site, just introduced, offers more prominent displays of deposit account rates, a streamlined navigation system, and easier access to account terms and conditions. The transactional site where customers bank online is scheduled for redesign this year.

Last year NetBank made a number of enhancements, such as wireless account access and an upgraded bill payment and presentment platform. It also introduced 24-hour, seven-day customer support; online chat; instant account funding; and access to the 18,000 automated teller machines of the MAC network.

On Thursday, NetBank began offering mortgage loans that can be approved in as little as 10 minutes through a relationship it made in November with Homeside Lending Inc.

The Internet bank has expanded its marketing to advertise on Ameritrade Holding Corp.’s site, and through an agreement with Intuit Inc. that gives new users of Quicken 2001 a $50 coupon toward opening a NetBank checking account.

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