With three profitable quarters behind it, Net.Bank Inc. is beginning to market itself aggressively in the mainstream media.

The Internet-based bank recorded net income for 1998 of $4.5 million, or 70 cents a share, compared with a loss of $5.6 million, or $1.66 a share, the year before.

Net income for the last three months of the year improved to $733,000, or 11 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $839,000, or 14 cents.

Deposits last year grew fivefold, to $283.6 million, and assets quadrupled, to $388.4 million. Customer accounts rose 266%, to 17,408.

As for 1999, "we'd like to end the year with 35,000 to 40,000 accounts and 31,000 customers," said D.R. Grimes, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Net.Bank.

To achieve this, Net.Bank has embarked on a $3.6 million marketing campaign, six times what it spent on advertising last year.

"That's a tremendous amount," Mr. Grimes said, for "a bank our size anywhere."

Of this, $1.5 million is to go toward Internet marketing on shopping, business news, and auction sites, as well as financial sites like Bank Rate Monitor and Microsoft Investor. Net.Bank is advertising on seven times more Web sites in the first quarter of 1999 than in the fourth quarter of 1998.

From $500,000 to $750,000 is to be spent on advertising in national newspapers and magazines, Mr. Grimes said, and $500,000 on highly targeted direct mail. The slogan for the campaign asks, "So, why aren't you NetBanking?"

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