USAccess Bank of Louisville, Ky., has joined the select ranks of banks that are promoting themselves as Internet-based.
A division of Central Bank USA Inc., USAccess is part of the holding company structure of $450 million-asset Porter Bancorp of Shepherdsville, Ky.
USAccess Bank is emphasizing its ability to grant same-day loan approvals over the Internet to differentiate itself from its competitors of the new on-line breed, such as Telebanc Financial Corp. of Arlington, Va., Net.Bank of Atlanta, and CompuBank of Houston.
"Most other Internet banks have outside partnerships to broker loans," said Amy Hamburg, senior vice president of marketing at USAccess Bank. "I suspect they aren't doing lending because of the risks involved. It is still a new market."
She added, "Right now we don't think the risks negate the opportunities of lending on-line."
USAccess Bank is offering secured and unsecured loans to individuals, small businesses, and corporations, as well as lines of credit.
Personal lines of up to $10,000 are available with no collateral. Personal secured loans can range from $5,000 to $50,000, and personal unsecured loans from $5,000 to $15,000.
For mortgages, the bank has a partnership with First Mortgage Network, a mortgage technology company. Discount brokerage services are provided by UVEST Investment Services.
More established Internet banks also offer loans on-line.
Net.Bank has originated $100 million of mortgages via the Internet since May, said D.R. Grimes, vice chairman and chief executive officer. Net.Bank plans to introduce automobile and consumer lending in the next 90 days, Mr. Grimes said.
Its other on-line offerings include credit cards, home loans, small- business leasing, refinancing, asset management, and on-line trading.
The first true Internet-based bank, Security First Network Bank-now owned by Royal Bank of Canada-offers electronic bill payment, credit cards, and images of checks over the Internet. It does not offer direct lending over the Internet, but expects to do so in the next 90 days. It offers lending through offices in Atlanta and Clearwater, Fla.
Telebanc offers mortgage loans in addition to free, unlimited bill payment, free checks and an ATM card, certificates of deposit, money market and smart saver accounts.
"There is room for more Internet banks and certainly room for banks that are already banks getting out on the Internet," Mr. Grimes said.
But he believes it to be "a lot tougher to run the Internet banking division of a large bank than to run an Internet bank." Mr. Grimes said his bank's policy of no fees combined with its "two-year head start" give it an advantage against the competition.
USAccess Bank's money market account yields a 5.30% rate and its one- year certificate of deposit yields 5.40%. The bank also offers free bill payment services with the checking account.
There are no monthly fees for accounts if the minimum daily balances are maintained. In the interest-bearing checking account, if the average daily balance falls below $500, there is a $6 monthly fee.
On the money market account, a $9 monthly fee is imposed if the minimum daily balance goes under $1,000. On the small-business checking account, the average daily balance of $1,000 must be maintained to avoid a $6 monthly fee.