Wells Fargo & Co.'s chief executive officer said the company has no plan to follow Bank One Corp.'s lead in setting up an Internet-only bank.
Our competitive advantage is that customers have access to all of the channels they want to use, Wells president Richard M. Kovacevich said last week.
Most of Wells' Internet customers use more than one banking channel, and as long as customers say that is what they want, we have no intention of going to an Internet-only offering, he said.
Speaking last week in a media conference call, Mr. Kovacevich said his $201 billion-asset company would keep an eye on Bank One's WingspanBank.com venture and other Internet-only operations while assessing customer preferences.
We could quickly and easily move in that direction if necessary, he said.
Mr. Kovacevich credited the multichannel approach for helping Wells add more than 100,000 Internet customers a month and surpass the million-customer mark for its Internet banking service. Wells officials now claim to have the largest Internet bank in the world.
But Wells still trails Bank of America Corp. in total on-line enrollees, which includes those who use personal financial management software like Intuit Inc.'s Quicken.
Bank of America said it has 1.5 million on-line customers. That would be comparable to Wells' 1.2 million total, including 200,000 customers who use a dial-up service from their personal computers.
A Bank of America spokesman said, A given customer will sometimes use the Web and sometimes use their personal financial management software.