toward becoming a consolidator of financial services from many providers.
The redesign created a more consistent look and feel throughout the site's 2,200 pages, as well as improved navigation and ways for customers to manage information. Chase's aim is "to be an aggregator" by letting customers build personalized Web pages using content provided by the bank, said James Springer, senior vice president for channel management.
He said Chase is following the model of "open finance," a term promulgated by Forrester Re-search Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., to describe a Web site's ability to combine account information and access to products of multiple providers, along with comprehensive advice.
Chase customers could gain access to their accounts and do transactions with partners of Chase that use the Interactive Financial Exchange, or IFX, protocol for secure communication, Mr. Springer said. Examples of the portal sites are Microsoft Corp.'s MoneyCentral, Intuit Inc.'s Quicken.com, and Yahoo Inc.'s Yahoo Finance.
The Chase site, which serves 550,000 Internet banking customers, eventually would expand "beyond banking as we know it today," Mr. Springer said. It would include all possible extensions of finance.
While Chase's new Chase.com division focuses on such applications as electronic procurement, bill presentment, and secure electronic identification, consumer banking efforts, which are not housed within Chase.com, are focused on "Web-enabling" Chase's retail business, Mr. Springer said.
The Internet does not present a "one-to-one tradeoff" opportunity with physical branches, which will continue to exist, he said. Chase, in fact, plans to integrate all its delivery channels and is currently evaluating front-end software to help it do that, he said.
For its 350,000 corporate customers, a Chase unit has launched a pilot of eWebuilder, a program to help small businesses build and run Internet operations. Chase Merchant Services, owned in equal parts by Chase and First Data Corp.'s merchant services unit, is offering real-time credit card processing, other features to attract Web traffic, and reports to track a site's performance.
The services is being tested by 100 customers and is scheduled for a full launch next month, said Robert W. Spessard, Jr., senior vice president of electronic commerce at Chase. The bank plans to add to eWebuilder personalization, customer service features, and technology to predict consumer behavior. An international rollout is planned for next year, he said.
The on-line merchants will be marketed to Chase's 20 million consumer cardholders. Chase Merchant Services, which is the largest merchant-acquirer, with 2.2 billion payments in 1998, plans to focus next year on the business-to-business market, Mr. Spessard said.