Portals and the potential for financial institutions to become more like them dominated discussion at Faulkner & Gray's BankNet/InvestNet conference in Las Vegas this month.
Ameritrade Holding Corp., a provider of on-line brokering, plans to explore its portal potential with the launching of OnMoney, an Internet service for aggregating financial information, said Joseph Konen, chief executive officer.
OnMoney, which will be available in about two months, is to have proprietary education and planning tools and offer customers the ability to monitor their progress in achieving financial goals.
Using the Open Financial Exchange protocol, OnMoney is meant to consolidate monthly information from various financial statements and compare them with customers' financial plans.
"It can give intelligent advice to help them reach their financial goals," Mr. Konen said.
Ameritrade plans eventually to make the wholly owned OnMoney subsidiary an independent company, he said.
Randy Kahn, executive vice president of Home Account Network, which recently merged with the direct banking unit of First Data Corp., said his company has trademarked the term "any source" to describe its view of a financial services portal.
Charles Schwab & Co.'s OneSource product, which offers a mutual fund supermarket, is the prototype for Internet banking accounts, he said. "Customers need choice."
Examples of good financial portals are America Online Inc., Yahoo! Inc., Quicken.com, Wells Fargo & Co., and Marquette Bank, said Eric T. Jacobsen, president of Home Financial Network, which recently merged with Intelidata Corp.
The four goals of financial portals, he said, are to acquire customers, deliver a quality experience, provide personalized content, and learn about customers.
"The most important content you offer is your own. Add outside content as appropriate," he said.
He cited a midwestern bank with $11 billion of assets that offered bank content but not bill payment on its Web site. Of its base of 270,000 direct deposit account customers, 40,000, or 15%, are now on-line.
"Five percent are new to the bank, and their portfolios are significant," Mr. Jacobsen said. The bank gets 3,000 log-ins a day and is generating 20 to 30 loan applications a day.
The challenge for financial services firms is "how to get in front of the customer to be the preferred destination," said Lewis Levin, chief executive officer of Transpoint, the bill presentment venture owned by Microsoft, First Data Corp., and Citigroup.
He spoke at FinNet, Microsoft's one-day conference the day before Faulkner & Gray's.
Consumers are drawn to Internet features such as e-mail, search engines, chat, and news, he said, and they look to banks to supply accurate personal financial data, security, and integrated financial services.
Mr. Levin said, "We're on the edge of a shift to a different model for interacting with customers."